Welcome back to a new school year!
The school year is a little over a two weeks underway and we are just starting our 2nd week of library classes. I spend the first and last week of school with the library closed in order to get things taken care of that I do not have time for once I start seeing students. The library schedule is jam-packed; this year at both schools I have 6 classes a day with only 5 minutes between each. The library is a busy and exciting place! I was able to get some of our new books on the shelves as well as plan some fun activities for the year during that week.
I seem to have mostly found my groove, finally in my third year, and our procedures and routines seem to be working as smoothly as they possibly can. As such I won’t be changing much this time around.
Just a few reminders about policies and procedures:
- I am on the rotating Specials schedule so that I see each class every 4 days. Books are checked out for a week at a time, but are able to be renewed if they are not finished.
- I go over in great detail at the beginning of the year what kind of care should be given to our library books as they are shared a resource for the entire school. It is my intention to cut down on damaged and destroyed materials. It is a bummer for me to ask for replacements or payments for lost or damaged book. I know as parents we have enough to pay for and worry about. I prefer instead to teach and encourage the children to take care and responsibility for themselves. Students are asked to:
- Keep food, drink, and art supplies away from books.
- Keep books indoors and away from weather.
- Keep books in a safe place at home away from pets and younger siblings (I encourage them to put them right back in their bag when they are no longer reading them).
- Use a bookmark to mark their place rather than bend corners or place them open upside down on a surface (this weakens the binding and will cause the pages to loosen). I have a large supply of bookmarks in the library as well as materials to make their own.
- Bring any damaged books to me rather than try to tape, glue or otherwise repair them themselves. I have book repair supplies specifically made for repairing books so that the repair lasts longer and doesn’t cause any further damage. They need not hesitate to let me know when a book needs repair.
- Have clean hands when handling a library book to avoid dirt and food smudges, but more importantly to halt the spread of germs.
- If a book is lost during the year, slips will go home from time to time as a reminder to look for it. The first place students are encouraged to check are bookshelves at home and in their classrooms. Desks and cubbies sometimes “eat” books also. Depending on the number of books your child’s grade level is allowed to check out, students may or may not still be allowed to check out a book. For example, 5th graders are allowed to check out 3 books. If they return 2, they can check out 2 more, but cannot check out 3 again until they have returned them all. However, if a book is seemingly lost forever, I will ask at the end of the year for communication and a plan to replace the lost book. We can work together to find a solution that will work. I am more concerned about students having a positive relationship with reading and the library than I am with a child being a child and misplacing a book. So PLEASE don’t hesitate to communicate with me on this.
- What books may your child check out? This is a sticky question. On the one hand, I want students to have books that they can read at or slightly above their abilities. Teachers also usually want students to take home library books that allow them to practice their reading skills. ON THE OTHER HAND, as I said, I am most concerned with children having the best possible experience around books and reading and the library. I am trying to foster lovers of reading! While I want them to read, I know that being read to is also an important part of developing their skills (and their love of reading). I do not like to cause tears and disappointment over a book, it sets a bad precedent. I am, of course, mindful of more mature themes and appropriateness, but beyond that I tend to allow students to take home at least one book that is “free choice” regardless of reading level. Besides K and Pre-K, all grades are allowed at least 2 books checked out a time. I have decided to split this down the middle and allow one free choice book while requiring another book that they can practice reading with.
- If you find your child is bringing home books that you do not approve of, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Please also talk with your child and perhaps their teacher about what your expectation is around their library choices. The way that our library operates and the short time that they are in my room doesn’t always allow for me to confirm and approve each and every child’s book (students use the computer to scan their own books out, freeing me up to help others search for books and complete activities). If you let your child know what you expect and also give me a heads up to keep a closer eye on him/her at check out time we can work together to guide them to choices that meet your expectations. A great strategy for those that struggle repeatedly to find the right fit, is to use the library catalog together at home (here) to search for books before they come to class. Send a note with them to school or to my e-mail with a list of books you think will work and I will be happy to help them grab them off of the shelves. As much as I wish I had the time to help each child find the perfect book selections every time (after all that’s what librarians are for), our schedule in school just simply does not allow it.
- Check out my facebook page for news and updates as well as schedule reminders!
I think that’s just about enough information for now! If you have any other questions please let me know.