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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

The End of the Year Blues

If you haven’t set foot in a school building at the end of the year lately, you’ve forgotten the feeling in the air. Textbooks get turned in and students feel liberated long before the last bell rings. Teachers are trying to control chaos and interest students in keeping busy. Award assemblies are held. Parents visit. Celebrations for "anything" occur. Paperwork piles up. Deadlines drop onto teachers daily. 

For librarians we balance trying to extract books from students hands (after we’ve spent all year focusing on getting them into their hands) with last minute creative activities and instruction to relieve frantic faculty members. As we put thousands of books away, students wander in to gaze longingly at crowded shelves and beg to simply sit and read.  Every year I hear students say, "I didn’t know we owned that! When did you buy those?I" Then they bargain for the opportunity to borrow a book just for an evening. 

Computer inventories, textbook inventories, student overdue lists, end of year reports. All of these demand our time. In fact, I stayed til 7:30 tonight flagging student records with overdue books. Why do that after school? Tomorrow I will participate in Game day with another teacher. I am trying to keep the students my most important concern because I truly believe a caring adult in their lives makes all the difference at this age. Our students will be heading off for summer vacations and some to simply sitting in homes. Will they have an adult there to listen daily? Will their parents have the energy to work all day, then take them to the public library for books? Will they have any opportunities to gather together with friends to talk about what they are reading and what their interests are? 

I cannot solve all their problems. I’ve been too exhausted to even write lately. But tomorrow, the last full day, I’ll take my sets of MahJong to school and interest group after group in the noisy game of Chattering Sparrows. The students will not remember any worksheets they complete at the end of the year. They are running out of time to read just one more book. Hopefully they will remember socializing with their friends and learning an international game. 
Five Charactor  Red Dragon   Eight Bamboo   Two Dot
I promise you’ll have the rest of the countdown and all those reviews beginning next week as SLJ transitions to a new blog format. In the meantime, why don’t you share some of your stories of the end of the year activities in a library?


  1. Just today I had a class of kindergarteners come in crying. Seriously, about 5 were sobbing. They had just had an end-of-the-year realization talk in their classroom and one boy wanted to keep his teacher “until college.” I had planned my fun end-of-the-year lesson using Robert Munsch’s “Purple Green and Yellow” so we launched into it -bibliotherapy0style. Afterward, the students get to color an outline shape of themselves “like mixed up rainbows.” Fun and structure are the key to the game in library these days.

  2. elizabeth Dulemba says:

    I’ve had some librarians ask to use my “Book Returns” coloring page image for exactly the issue you discuss (getting those books turned in before summer break). It can be found at under “free” – in the first section of reading-related coloring pages.
    Elizabeth O. Dulemba

  3. Susan Dickey says:

    On the following wiki, I found this hilarious document called “Places to Look for Lost Library Books”

  4. Yvonne Doyle says:

    I am interested in studying why students start acting out in the last months of school. I wonder if it is because they want to detach themselves emotionally from a teacher who has been a constant support and a positive role model to them all year. I have found that boys, in particular, who have developed a good learning relationship with a teacher, or who come from a home that offers little support emotionally or educationally, will act out and become disruptive in the final weeks/months of school. I would like to know more about why they do this. Any comments or insights are greatly appreciated, as this is the focus of my professional project this year.