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School Librarians starting the year with a locked box...

Updated: Nov 6, 2018

Number 2 in my series of blog post will look at how school librarians are starting the year with a bang. Sharing ideas that I have worked and some that didn't.

September is always manic for SLS Guernsey librarians. Not only do we update all the students across all our schools but we also run inductions for all yr 3 and yr 7's too. We also continue to teach information literacy and research skill alongside those teachers who were forward thinking enough to book us in early. The students may go back tomorrow but we are already looking at how we are going to manage our full diaries.

Now I did not mean for this to be a blog post about how much we do or a moan about how busy we are but I have to say that I am delighted that we have started off with such a bang. Over the last couple of years we have been trying to find a way to engage teachers and students to use the school library. If we don't have teacher engagement then we are on a hiding to nothing. We began to realise that we had to start the year well by demonstrating to the teachers that the school library was a fun and engaging place to be.

We began looking at Breakout boxes. Now rather than me writing how this all works it is better for you to read a post written by slsguernsey explaining the idea. The teachers loved it and we found that they began to engage with us more because of these sessions as it allowed us to start a conversation. I know that breakout also do an online version which we have yet to try but this is on my radar for the coming year.

Another library induction that we have tried is a treasure hunt. Instead of standing in front of the class telling them how many books they are allowed and how long they can keep them for we send them around the library looking for the answers themselves. If you have time and technology we have also done this by using QR codes. The idea is that they know the questions they have to answer and each QR code gives them an answer and they just have to match up the correct ones.

We did try to give Aurasma a go one year using it to give the students the answers to our library induction questions but the connectivity in the school library was very poor and it did not work very well. We had to work with plan B and just put posters up with the answers. Definitely not quite so cool as using Aurasma. I do like this idea so we will just have to wait till we are sure the wifi is working.

Sometimes though it is the simple ideas that work the best. With our yr 3's we do a quick reminder of how the library works and where everything is. We then put them into teams of three or four and give them each a card. The cards have things like:-

  • Find a book by Michael Morpurgo

  • What information will you find in books with the Dewey number 567.91?

  • If you wanted information about cats what Dewey number would you use?

  • What is the book called that will help you find the Dewey number?

The children have to run around the library looking for the answers. We have about 50 different cards so when they have answered one question we just give them another one. It keeps them busy and learning for a while and the winning team is the one with the most correct answers when we choose to stop. It is a very loud busy game but they are having fun and engaging with the library so everyone is happy.

Take the opportunity to talk to the teachers when the children are busy could be the only opportunity you get to so ask them what topic they are teaching next and offer an introduction to your online resources or your library catalogue. The hook of a great induction could be the conversation starter you are looking for.

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