Guest Blogger Susan Norwood writes today about being a “Librarian Wanna-Be.” I am so fortunate to work with Susan.
It’s 4:20; the bell has rung and the kids are on the bus. I trudge back to my classroom. What a mess! Books are everywhere! What is the problem with me? Why is my room a wreck?
Back up. The room may not look so bad at first glance, but if you look carefully, you will see that my books are not where they belong. There is manga in with the fiction. There is fiction wedged in with the Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Magazines are scattered everywhere. I sigh, and go about straightening up my room. The only time my room is neat is when I don’t let the kids use my classroom library—which is hardly ever.
Why do I bother with this extra work? I peek into other teachers’ rooms and they’re nice and tidy. They’re nice and tidy because they don’t have classroom libraries. They may have one 4-5 shelf bookcase, but that’s it. I look at the books on the bookcase and am unimpressed. They’re “old.” No zombies or vampires. No LeBron James. Nothing on drugs, pregnancy, child abuse. . . You get the picture.
Why do I bother? I love young adult literature, and I love to get kids reading. I live for the day when a student tells me “I didn’t think I liked to read, but now I actually like reading.” This past week, a mother told me about how much her son was reading. This 8th grade boy is my student. He is an athlete and was voted the team captain of our school’s football team. In nine weeks, this boy has read all of the Wimpy Kid series, Smile by Raina Telgemeir, A Child Called It, and most recently, Tupac and D Foster. He has just started Life in Prison, by Stanley “Tookie” Williams. (Yesterday, he asked me the meaning of the word “rectum. I told him that it was an important word to know, and helped him look it up in the dictionary. He hates dictionaries.) He is getting other kids interested in books. Life just doesn’t get any better than this!
I consider myself to be a Librarian Wanna-Be. I have at least 6 bookcases of books. That doesn’t count the books lined up under the white boards, on the window sills, on my desk, behind my desk, and any other flat surface I can find.
Why do I bother? I believe that if you like to read, you will never be bored. I believe that books change lives. I believe that books help us find the answers to the big questions in life.
You can email Susan at susan dot norwood at mnps dot org