Having A Classroom Library is Not Enough

image from icanread

If I had squinted my eyes, I am sure I could have seen the dust.  Looking at my classroom library, I knew something had to be done; those books were not making it into the hands of students and I think I knew what was missing; me.

I had expected that if I stocked the library with a lot of books that students would flock to it, eager to browse all of the titles.  I thought if I labeled everything in meticulous bins that the labels would grab their interest.  I thought if I turned a few books out the students would snag them up.  I was wrong.

Having a lot of books meant exactly that;  I had a lot of books.  Having bins meant students put books back into them, however most of the time it was not the right bin.  Turning books out meant students did the same rather than put books back where they belonged.

And there was no love in my library, there was no excitement, just books in baskets hoping someone would read them.  I didn’t introduce the library, I didn’t sell it, I didn’t visit it.  It was just a corner of our room.

Not anymore.  Now the library is busy.  Books are flipped through.  Bins are pulled out on the floor.  Books are taken when they are turned out.  What changed?  Me.  I made it a point to talk about the library.  I made it a point to pull bins out and show students stacks of books they might love.  I made a big deal of placing new books into the library, showing book trailers, sharing my review, asking for guest reviewers.  The library is now something we cherish and uphold.  Students from other rooms borrow books from it as well, they know they can probably find something.

Gone is the dust, gone are the broken bins and broken spines.  Instead books and lots of love; for reading, for sharing, and for exploring.

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