What a perfect phrase for The Happy Library! Many of us will use January to think about how our personal lives and our libraries can be better in the new year and I am no different. I have a lot of major changes happening in my life in 2018 and it took a conversation with a dear friend to remind me that those things may be amplifying my need to simplify, cut back, and pare down on some things.
I'm not one for making (or sticking with) New Year's Resolutions, so I decided to do what Tina Bietler does....the One Little Word. If you aren't familiar with the One Little Word, you can find more HERE, and I also encourage you to follow Tina on her YouTube channel HERE. Basically, in Tina's recent vlog, she shared her word for 2018 and it really made me think about doing this for myself. Then, I thought....I need to do this for the library program too! If I had one word for the library, then I would have a sort-of compass for each thing I chose to add, take away, or implement. Perfect, right?!
So, what word did I come up with? WONDER. I know this word has been all over the library world in recent months due to the popularity of the novel by the same name and the movie release, but that had absolutely nothing to do with the choice. I have noticed that the students in my Title I school simply do not use much imagination. They have a very hard time thinking beyond the concrete. I want students to stretch their imaginative thinking! What better way to practice "wonder" than in the library?
Step 1. Scour Pinterest
I'm always on Pinterest. It is a great source of inspiration and ideas, but sometimes it can make me feel a little "less than" in the creativity department. I have to be careful not to let myself start comparing my work to that of others. Anyone else end up on this slippery slope sometimes? Anyway, I found a TON of cute ideas for "wonder" in the library. One idea that I fell in love with was a "wall of wonder" and there are so many ways it can be implemented. Here are a few of the ideas I found.
Step 2. Wall of Wonder
I ordered a dry erase board for about $50 and had it mounted by our district's maintenance department. They were very quick to get it up! Then, I printed lettering from a TpT purchase (same as I shared in THIS post) onto bright card stock that I have used throughout the library all year. I did add the hot pink because I just wanted to bring in more color. You can read more about my library color scheme HERE. The final step was to print some question marks and thought/speech bubbles to add a little pop. Very easy.
If my wonder begins to wane during the year, I can always use the space to promote books! I found this cute idea somewhere...I cannot locate the source, but it is awesome....
Step 3. Plan
There are actually TWO things I did to plan for more wonder in the library this school year. The first was to plan how to use the Wall of Wonder. I think I'm going to start with an introduction for the students and I will post a question on the board. Then, students who are exhibiting good library behaviors will be allowed to get an Expo marker and answer/respond/doodle about the question. We will see how this goes.
The second step in my planning process is the bigger picture. As I worked on a few lesson plans over the break, I decided to break my monthly library schedule down by weekly topics. I may need to write about this in a different post (to give the details), but basically each week of the month has a focus that will enable me to cut through the chaos of being a first-time elementary school librarian. I found last semester that I was sort-of "all over the place" with my lessons. They were sometimes a big hit (like the Creepy Pair of Underwear lesson HERE) and sometimes they were total flops with no focus or impact. So, to simplify...I feel like I'm rambling at this point.....week one of every month will be a library skills week, week two of every month we will focus on building a community (think diversity), and so on. I created a little lesson planning sheet to help me map this out a bit. Still tweaking though.
And that's it. That is how I plan to start implementing a little more wonder into The Happy Library this semester! Here's to hoping your library has a little wonder, too!
After being on the road for two weeks, I'm finally home. And I've taken a day or two to reflect on what has transpired over the last two weeks. The first week of June, I was traveling with my family for some rest and relaxation in a delightful place called Santa Rosa Beach. For anyone familiar with 30-A, you might know that it is off the beaten path and the most delightful stretch of beach! We rented a beautiful two-story beach house with my parents and the trip was amazing. We even had a secret garden by which to access our little piece of sand. It was heavenly.
Fast-forward to the end of the beach vacation and my hubby dropped me off at my folks house to spent one night before I headed down to Peachtree City to participate in the professional development highlight of the year for all Georgia librarians......Summer Institute. If you've never been, I wonder why? It is low-key and jammed full of sessions taught by and for school library media specialists. The keynote was delivered by Audrey Church, President of the American Association of School Librarians and our closing keynote was the phenomenal storytelling of author Carmen Agra Deedy...the Library Dragon did make an appearance.
After three days of Summer Institute, I took a one-day break (again at my parent's home) and then drove to Grantville to participate in Summer Camp for Media Specialists with Andy Plemmons of Expect the Miraculous fame. If you have never met Andy, heard Andy, or read Andy's blog....get to it! He is such an inspiration for media specialists!
I cannot summarize the wealth of information I learned or the inspiration I received over the last week of professional development, but I can share a few take-aways that I think are going to end up driving my work over the course of the next school year.
Advocacy was the focus of Audrey Church's keynote at Summer Institute. Advocacy is at the heart of Carmen Agra Deedy's love of libraries, books, and the heart of stories. Andy shared a quote that bears repeating.
"If your work isn't online, then it doesn't exist!" --Austin Kleon
And he is right. I want to be sure that I am advocating for my library, my school, and my students. And I can't wait for someone else to do it. Thus...the blog. It will be a big part of the coming year. Not just as a diary or reflection piece, but as a voice. My voice. And I want to be sure that someone hears it.
Support the Reader.
There were so many wonderful sessions I attended at Summer Institute. I wish I could re-cap all of them here, but I can't. If you ever get the chance to meet or hear from the following people, do it. They were the best of the best, in my opinion, at Summer Institute.
The final take-away is really the biggest and most challenging one. Andy is a genius at this. He works tirelessly to give students a voice in the library. He shared with us the famous Barrow Peace Prize project that empowers students to speak and share their work with the world. He shared the story of his student budget committee that gets a portion of his library budget each year to make book selections, survey other students, sift through data, and eventually spend $1500+ on books for the media center. I'm not sure if I will do the same projects that Andy shared, but I will strive to give my students a voice in our library. I want them to be members, not just visitors. I even have a little "theme" in the works that I will share in a later post. The key is.....give students a voice.
I know this was long, but I just had to share my thoughts. It can be overwhelming to get SO much information and SO much inspiration all at once. I have enough ideas to keep me going for another three years, at least! But I hope that in summarizing and reflecting, I will find just what I need for The Happy Library. Until next time...
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