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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Library Club Update

How do you cope when you are too successful at conveying enthusiasm? I received a copy of Croft Middle School librarian Julie Gangone’s Library Crew application. After pondering, I modified her form to fit on one page (which you can see in pdf format here) and added a few of my own touches. I have received over 140 applications from excited students. 

The first day of meeting I had 100 students in the library during advisory all avidly waiting for "library club." Okay, let’s see I had 100+ of 900 students and I was by myself with no other teacher help. The rest of the students had to attend other club meetings at the same time but wanted me to know they are still passionate about being part of the library club. 

I asked the students to help me sort them into 4 separate groups so I will be meeting before school on Thursday mornings opposite the student government meetings, during advisory on Wednesday, during lunch with girls only on Tuesday, and during lunch with boys only on Thursday. Okay, that’s 4 different meeting times for me to meet. Lots of people want girls lunch or advisory. These are teenagers so most don’t want before school. I still have way too many students signed up for one period – especially since I only seat 84 students. 

When I met with individual students during the past week, many pleaded with me to be selected and chosen. They desperately want to be part of the library club. I told SLJ Leadership Summit participants about this and blogged here about some of their reasons.

Student responses show they:

• Want to help make decisions 
• Want to choose new books 
• Want to help others 
• Want to review new items before others 
• Want to be in our space 
• Want to be included and a part of something 
• Want to be cared about 
• Want to be in control of their privacy & what they share 
• Want to be contributing

How do you tell any of the students that they cannot come?
How do you determine if they can participate?
Aren’t you just choosing your favorites?
What about the students who need you and need the library program the most? 
What about the students who are so unmotivated and challenged in the classroom, but who feel needed, useful, and energized in the library? 
What if your goal is to help improve dispositions (of the AASL standards)?

I stood before the mob and told them that their actions would be the way they were removed from the club. If they missed 3 meetings without discussing this with me, they’d be out. If they ran and played, they’d be out. If they didn’t participate, they’d be out. 

Still, I am feeling like a failure because I am not able nor willing to cut students from the club. Other teachers seem to find the process so simple. I want students to have ownership of the library. I want them to be aware of their dispositions and to assess their participation & actions. 

It seems that I need to find a way or make a way. Any maps for this journey that you’d like to share?