Friday, October 30, 2015

Creating a Culture for Reading

Here's another simple collaborative program implemented  to help create a culture for reading in our school.  Each month I have the honor to not only share awesome books with our school community but I am given the time to entice readers with multiple programs such as Give Thanks For Reading

As usual it all began with a simple shared Google document with all our middle school librarians in the district.  Within a few hours we had compiled an extraordinary list of middle school historical fiction along with book trailers to share with our students.

The  shared information was used in designing a the Give Thanks For Reading presentation.  Each librarian  designed a unique lesson highlighting historical fiction by using the book trailers to promote this genre.  I offered each student the opportunity to fill out die-cut pumpkins in reflecting on things they were thankful for.  With World War II trailers and Veteran's Day it was easy to model and state many things in our lives of thanks.  As always, my students amazed me  with statements of thanks about friends, family, school, and more.

Creating a culture for reading is an ongoing process during the school year.  Take opportunities to provide  book talks, book trailers, and more to help not only to create but continue this culture far beyond the school day and year.

Creating a Culture for Reading

 There are so many ideas shared in the educational community on how to create a reading culture within the schools.  The ideas are unlimited but we need to take into consideration what is best for our patrons.  As a middle school librarian I feel we have established a positive pathway for life-long readers and here are a few of our techniques.
  • Our library has a high interest hardback and eBook collections
  • Students are invited to participate in a school-wide reading incentive program
  • Faculty members display logs of what they have read outside their classroom or office
  • Students regularly visit the library with their ELA classes
  • The library is open before school, during lunch, and after school to students
  • The school sponsors a virtual summer reading reading program
  • Frequent book talks and book trailers are presented to classes
  • Librarian collaboration with district programming
  • District book competition
  • School-wide DEAR time
  • Literacy and book commercials on the student video news program
  • The use of social media (school Facebook and Twitter accounts)
  • Posting reading pictures to the library Instagram account
  • Student driven book clubs 
  • Student driven library program
  • Collaboration with the PTA
Sometimes the small incentives can surprise you the most.  On the way to work one day I decided to purchase candy as a surprise to anyone who checked out a hardback or eBook the week leading up to Halloween.  This small act was overwhelming with almost everyone checking out books during this festive week.  Some may interpret this as a bribe but in the long run if 1 piece of candy motivated a  student to read than I am convinced we do what it takes to accomplish our goals. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dare to Read!

I love to share paranormal, supernatural, and horror books with my students and faculty this time of year. I also found the audio of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark on youtube. I designed a new Dare to Read thinglink for 7th and 8th graders but I can use last year's Dare to Read with 6th graders. It was extremely easy to modify the original graphic in canva to produce a new presentation this year. What a time saver! Here's to the Dare to Read campaign at our middle school this week.

Last year's presentation was easy to tweak for some new titles.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Can You Say eBook Success?

It was during the awesome #TXLChat on eBooks that I was inspired to reflect on our community's eBook successes.  I've been able to attribute our thriving usage to 4 basic reasons.

#1 - Librarian "BUY IN!" Get excited about your eBooks!!!
  •  You must be excited in order to generate an enthusiastic environment for eBook usage.  I hear many say I prefer books rather than eBooks.  DO NOT say this in front of your students and faculty.  You are condemning your eBooks usage before you begin.
  • Model by using your eBooks.  Start a conversation by saying, "I just read an awesome eBook that I think you would love."
#2 - Look at your eBook collection.  Are the titles INVITING?
  • An eBook collection is much like a hardback book collection.   If it's old and musty no one will read them.  If you don't have cool high interest eBooks no one will access them.
  •  Take time and input with your eBook selection and collection development.  
  • Take advantage of programs such as implementing a district collection to give your patrons a much larger choice.  We have an option with Follett that allows our school's to share eContent taking our school's collection from 100 eBooks to almost 1,400 eBooks in just 3 years.  
#3 - It's all about MARKETING.
  • I mention eBooks in every part of the library program. 
  • Have signs placed around the library and school with eBook access directions.
  • Design an eBook information bookmark.
  • Make visuals that can be used on social media, the website, or teacher moodle pages with eBook information.
  • Demonstrate!
  • Host an eBook book talk day such as I did with this thinglink. 
  • Send out eBook access directions via email before any reading event such as DEAR Day.  
#4 - Follow through with your statistics.  Give eBook "SHOUT OUTS!
  • Include eBook data in annual reports, parent newsletters, when sending out information to the faculty, and more.
  • Share your successes in PLCs, faculty meetings, Twitter chats, or any venue.
In my opinion our eContent is here to stay with yet another changing role as a librarian.  I have embraced the usage of eBooks enthusiastically and will continue to promote and market their usage to give our community a choice.  It allows usage of our collection beyond the library walls and beyond our school hours.  The success of eBooks in your community is at your finger tips.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Teen Read Week 2015

As one of my favorite celebrations, Teen Read Week is always at the top of the list in promoting literacy with both faculty and students. The American Library Association and yalsa has done an excellent job as far as providing ready-made ideas and promotional items.

This year we will again participate in the Book Cover Selfies and Kahoot Day.  My student aides will provide a cart of books that may be used for the selfie campaign and the pictures will be added to our library Instagram account. A Google document was started and shared for Kahoot questions.  Students will market and facilitate Kahoot Day during lunch.

I challenge everyone to participate in Teen Read Week activities and share your programs and successes!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fall Into Library Marketing

Marketing is the key to any successful library program so why not encourage your students to take a role in the process?  It has taken me a few years to learn to step back but and let the crucial student voice be heard.  I no longer refer to them as student aides to the rest of the school but I now introduce them as library staff members.  It's interesting how terminology can change one's frame of mind.  We have set our four goals as a district but my staff (me and the student library aides) and I try to integrate them into our school library programming.  Here are some cool collaborative marketing tools and displays designed for our Fall campaign via student voice.

In order to promote literacy in a variety of formats we will try and incorporate the promotion of our eContent whenever possible.  This was done in canva, printed out as a jpeg, framed, and placed on numerous counter tops.  My plans are to show students canva so they may make their own designs for their ePortfolios or blogs.

We took this project one step further and uploaded the jpeg into thinglink and added book trailers.  When classes came into the library to check out books we promoted our eBook via book trailers for this project.  It turned out to be a very successful James Dasher day with every item written by this author checked out!

The easiest type of display is to group some books, design a title, and give it some recognition. This was perfect for the American Chillers and Darren Shan books for this time of year.

We also have most of Darren Shan's books in eBooks so not only were we promoting this collection but also eContent use.

We bought these frames from Ikea and use them for almost every occasion. We save the wording so that they may be used for another year.  This makes it easier to concentrate on designing new flyers instead of redesigning the entire library for every season.
Of course the outside displays are very important. Is it welcoming?  Does it say, "Come in!"Although ours is very small, we try to be creative with colors, book promotion, and appealing design.

We can't forget the awesome posters that can be purchased.  We use large plexiglass poster holders to display since we are limited with wall and bulletin board space.

When I stepped away from the book display and leftover October items this is what my students designed.  They are creative with the few resources but they also take ownership of restocking the books and making sure the pumpkin is illuminated each day.

I would have to conclude that fall is one of my favorite time of year and I try and use display items that will take us through to Thanksgiving.  Scarecrows, colorful leaves, and catchy slogans help.  I take out the Halloween pumpkins and insert turkeys and Thanksgiving posters for November.  The same is done in December with snowflakes, snowmen, and penguins.  With some modifications much of it can stay up for January.
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