Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A GREAT library (part 2)

What makes a GREAT school library?  I gave 5 thoughts on the topic yesterday and find myself thinking about this so much still today that I decided to continue the conversation.

One of the commenters listed actually having a librarian as something needed to make the library GREAT. Of course, I agree!  Sadly it isn't the case in many areas, but let's assume for my posts that you actually have a librarian in the library.  Then what?

1. Let my people READ.  Let then read far and wide.  Let them read regardless of points or levels. Let them be in charge of their reading.  Let them experience getting lost in a book they love. Fiction is reading. Non-fiction is reading. Graphic novels are reading. Magazines are reading. No more using the term "real reading"---it is ALL real.  I understand the pressures of increasing reading scores, but I find that allowing kids to experience the MAGIC of reading---it's GREATNESS if you will, does the job far more effectively than limiting their reading experiences via level, etc. could ever hope to do.

2. The STUDENTS have a voice. Last night's #txlchat Twitter chat was all about student voice in the library.  A GREAT librarian listens to the students and incorporates their ideas on space, on reading materials, on events. It isn't about ME it is about US. I'm not talking about throwing them a bone to have them vote on something that has already been decided just to make them feel heard, I'm talking about actually HEARING them.

3. Mix & Mingle.  You can't very well HEAR them if you aren't OUT amongst them, and they won't talk if they don't think you care.  Build relationships. Learn names.  Be sincere in CARING. Students know the difference and can smell a fake a mile away.

4. Know the literature. Once upon a time--not too long ago, actually-- I had a fellow librarian tell me it was "cute that I read the books the students read."  I find it far cuter that I can talk with kids about the books we are both reading AND booktalk to those I know would enjoy a particular read. Cute?  Please.

5. Don't be afraid to fail. Be it small or in grand scale, if we are moving outside the box (or inside for that matter) we will all experience failure. Learn from it and move FORWARD.  Don't think--oh, I'm never trying X again because I felt like such an idiot.  Instead, think--wow. that stunk it up royally, but if I tweak Y & Z it just might work better next time.

5 more of my thoughts on what makes a library GREAT.  I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts, too!

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