Sunday, April 18, 2010

National Library Week - A little about my library

So today is the last day I'm featuring libraries and librarians as the week is almost over!

I'm going to talk a little bit about what I do and how my library is set up.

I work at an elementary school library in a town that is 80% Hispanic and probably 85% living in poverty. We have over 800 students in our K-5 building and I have to buy books for all levels of reading. Our library and teachers rely heavily on the Accelerated Reader Program - after a student reads a book, they can hop on a computer and take a short test on the book to see if they understood it well enough. They have to get a 60% or higher to pass the test. Depending on how well they do, they get some of the points the books are worth.

One of the cool things were implementing in the library this year is called the AR Store. Next month, we're inviting all the students that have met their goal (2nd grade is 40 points, 3rd is 60, 4th is 80 and 5th is 100) to shop at the AR Store. I've been scouring public library and and other cheap places to buy books to stock our Store with. I'm really excited and it's getting our students motivated to keep doing well on their tests and making their goals.

Now, our students don't just pick out AR books in their level. Most of the 4th and 5th graders are allowed a free choice book as well - most of our kids check out Diary of a Wimpy Kid, joke books, or just a really cool looking book they want to read. I'm really excited to see what goes out in my next set of new books I put out for next week - I love to see which ones really thrive and the others that are only so-so with my students.

I've also taken a decent part of my budget and started a Graphic Novels section. We started off the year with maybe 20 graphic novels and now we have over 100 titles! I have a huge list to look at for next year and my students are really loving them. The great thing about my students is they don't care if a book is "girly" if they're a boy or too "boyish" if they're a girl - they'll check it out anyways. I'm sure that changes once they hit Middle School but it's great to see my 4th grade boys checking out Babymouse books and Mallory books.

So, this year I still have some projects I'm working on - like shifting a bunch of stuff around so I don't have to buy new shelving for next year! I'd rather spend my money on books if I can! I'm glad to have been rehired for this coming year and can't wait to develop the library further and run some new programs.

Thanks again guys for commenting this week and I'll be drawing random commentors names later tonight for the giveaway!


  1. That Accelerated Reading Program sounds pretty cool. It is good for reading comprehension tests that they have to take later on in school.


  2. I love the AR store idea and the Accelerated Reading Program! It's so cool that you're implementing these great ideas to help encourage such fresh young minds into the world of literature. And it's so nice to hear that no matter their gender, both boys and girls at that age are picking up all books, no matter whether they've been branded gender specific or not.

    Congratulations on being rehired for another year - I know you'll continue to make an amazing influence in young readers lives! :)

  3. I love the idea of the AR store. Maybe you could solicit some donations through your blog? I'd love to pass on a couple of books to your store! Also, kudos for working to create a great selection of graphic novels. I love using GN in my classroom and have seen a ton of students develop a love of reading with GN as a foundation. Keep up the great work and let us know if you'd like donations! Also, have you tried Donors Choose? I've received almost $2000 worth of books for my classroom since October from this site. Check it out if you haven't already!

  4. It's so nice to hear about your library as we end National Library Week! It sounds like you have a really good thing going and it's exciting that you are expanding your graphic novel section. GNs are such gateway books to "regular" book reading as well

  5. Now that library week is over I want to thank you for all of the great posts you had this week. I am a teen librarian at two public libraries and you have given me some really great ideas to try and implement. Thank you soooo much.

  6. That is great that you started a graphic novels section! Props to you :)
    The Accelerated Reading Program sounds like a great program. I can imagine that the kids get excited to do better, so they can get books of their own.

  7. An accelerated Reading Program sounds like a great idea, it actually sounds pretty cool, can i join? aha lol. Its also great that you've introduced more graphic novels, they're colourful yet still have a story behind them! Im glad you've been re-hired because i can see you've already made a difference to these kids reading comprehension. Thanks for posting about your library, its been a fun week!
    Bianca- :)

  8. Accelerated Reader is a pretty cool program,but it's pretty expensive. We have it at one school that I work at. The children can go on at anytime and take the tests. At the other school that I work at one teacher controls it, and only lets the kids test twice a year, which seems to kind of fall short of the point. Unless she has a slightly different version? I don't know much about it, except it's expensive.

    You must have a decent budget for your library. It's cool that you get to develop the library. I'm a library Tech. We get paid for 7 hours a week, and are expected to conduct library sessions for all the classes in the school, AND shelve the books. We end up working with out pay sometimes. And in my case, I don't even know about things like Library Week, unless I read it on a blog. I realize that I'm not getting special information about things like oh, Dr. Seuss' birthday or suggestions from the head librarian about things to do for the kids. But then the head librarian is usually a high school librarian, in charge of supervising up to five elementary schools, as well as their own high school library. Seems a little unbalanced to me, and I don't even know what kinds of questions I should be asking. I kind of just get through the week, check in and out books and reading to the younger grades.

    I like the sound of your library (a little jealous too) Maybe I should take some classes.


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