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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Small steps to celebrating libraries this month

What will you be doing for National Library Week? Are you celebrating School Library Month every day? Neil Gaiman Web buttonThere are many resources available on the ALA website including PSA’s. 

30 days of activities flyer. Check out the flyer from the AASL page. My 8th grade library club students who are bookfair managers have been pouring over this list to add events this month. Their favorite idea is: 

#22  Have your local animal shelter bring in pets for a reading event. 2.0 IDEA: Don’t forget to share photos and video from this PAW-fect event on Flickr!

They did NOT want to do #1 and have a sock hop because we had an earlier sock drive for the elderly and they felt students didn’t participate enough. Since our school is consumed with preparing for the TCAP test (including my teaching a regular class during the extra 30 minutes a day), April is a busy month. The managers have decided (note: they have decided) to extend our activities through May so everyone keeps learning after the test.

PSA’s by Laurie Halse Anderson and Neil Gaiman. I’ve downloaded some for the office to start showing on the two large screen tv’s in the hallways for parents to view.

Invite Legislators. Have you invited anyone to visit your school? We were fortunate that Congressman Jim Cooper could visit before school with students from the Student Government Association and the Library Club Tuesday morning. There are so many things we want to share with legislators and I wanted to get my message (elevator speech) right so I called the ALA Washington Office for advice. I was able to talk with him about the importance of school libraries being included in any and all educational legislation – particularly any reauthorization of ESEA. 

Representative Cooper brought with him pocket sized books of the Constitution for each student. I pulled my copy of the Library Bill of Rights from the wall by my desk and shared with students how important it was in my daily professional life.  Rep. Cooper was very interested in this, saying he’d never realized librarians have a Bill of Rights and Code of Ethics. He studied this intently before talking to students about being a legislator and the difficulty of making everyone happy all the time. 

As the students flooded into the school and the library, Rep. Cooper commented that we were really busy and had many exciting things occurring. I shared how important it is for me that all students have access to libraries with librarians. Unfortunately he did make the comment that "some librarians seem to be just going through the motions." I reassured him that there are many fabulous librarians out there working with students. Still, that comment haunts me.

Build connections between your school library and the public library. We took a field trip April 1st with 68 enthusiastic library club members to the Main branch of the Nashville Public Library and to the local Southeast Branch.  Some of the students have begun to blog about their trip. We will take another trip with a different group April 30th. Students have begun to bring their permission slips already because they’ve heard how exciting the first trip was. We were able to visit the amazing children’s room with their puppets, see the amazing Teen Room and gather ideas for redecorating our library, tour the Civil Rights exhibit and sit at the famous counter while learning about Nashville’s sit-in protests, then eat in the courtyard. All extra lunches were left at the guard’s desk to distribute to the homeless and needy. By the time we boarded the bus, the students couldn’t wait to ask the local branch librarians how they could get a public library card and when the teen programs occur. Many students wanted to spend all day in the library reading and exploring. It was far more than just a trip OUT of school.

Create special reading events. Thanks to Kay Goss for sharing the link to the Freeze-n-Read site. I’ve downloaded some bookmarks and flyers to encourage everyone to stop everything they are doing next Saturday (freeze) and read at 4 p.m. 

Counting down to April 30th El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day)

What else can we do? Well, the theme of National Library Week is "Communities thrive @ your library."  We’ll be having a Career Fair at the school, cooperative Communities thrive @ your librarylessons with the computer teacher and all subject levels, plus planning for the school book fair May 3-7th. The students want to invite a Senator to visit.  They’d also love to schedule a drop in by President Obama. Isn’t life wonderful when you are an invincible teenager (or tween) and believe that all things are possible? 

One of my library friends described different blogs years ago and had a tirade about blogs that tell you "how they did things great." On this blog I sometimes share things we are doing, not because I think that anything we do is unusual, but simply because sharing little things we do might help you take steps to share what you are doing. We would all be so much better if you’d share what you are doing. If not on this blog and in the comments, then how about on ALA connect? You don’t even have to be an ALA member to use connect. Share. Tell us what you’re doing.