August 31, 2014

Classroom Libraries

In an effort to help once again...I've created another board on the school's Pinterest page.
Wendell Phillips Academy Classroom Libraries Pinterest Board

The Classroom Libraries Pinterest board provides teachers with a virtual guide for setting up a marvelous library in their classroom.  Teachers can see creative physical spaces, gain decorating ideas, download helpful signage/labels and read more about how the classroom library feeds into the central library within the school.

Now I know those of you who are teacher-librarians really take a hands off attitude about assisting with the classroom libraries.  Like you, my library budget has been cut in several schools so that the classroom libraries can receive the financial support....ouch right?   Years ago, Chicago Public Schools librarians were instructed to provide a teacher overview of how to set up classroom libraries.  After the presentation, the classroom teachers received a set of books across the genres for their libraries.  Librarians did not receive books but did receive a heartfelt thank you.  That really stung.  Okay, I'm being a little snarky here but that really angered many of us.   In addition, I refuse to re-org my library by genre, lexile or whatever new reinvention of the wheel that they come up with.  When libraries are re-orged, it hurts the students because there's no transfer of knowledge when they visit libraries that are organized by Dewey.  Let me stop my rant now.
Teacher-Librarians Are Leaders!

Returning to the 'positive', there are some benefit I see in supporting my fellow teachers in providing advisement on setting up classroom libraries .  Also, if you have any additional benefits, please share them with me!:

1.  Classroom teachers are often 'lost' when it comes to setting up their libraries.  They request my support because I am the trusted and reliable reading/book/literacy expert in the building. 

Book display in the  Library Media Center 
2.  I read the books (really I do!!) and can connect them directly to the curriculum.  Teachers use me as their 'go to' person in the building.

3.  I share with classroom teachers which books kids will actually read (not just enjoy) and those they will put down.  When shopping at those half-off and discounted stores, teachers will be a little more selective in their purchasing decisions.

4.  Books in the classroom libraries can provide just a taste for reading, but the school library will satisfy a hunger for reading.

5.  Because the classroom library is an 'unbalanced collection' and does not represent all interests, beliefs and cultures students will use the school library as a greater and expanded resource of information.

6.  Students will see that the classroom library and school library do compliment each other and both encourage the love of reading. 

One of my fav book displays I pulled off of Pinterest
All roads lead to the school library right?  The main key to making this work is school libraries must receive financial support to purchase books from the school budget.  They shouldn't have to rely on grants, donations or other means to maintain a healthy collection that serves the entire student population.  No program should be deemed more important than the other.   Face it, no classroom collection can duplicate the depth of a great school library collection....not one. 

The Ultimate Classroom Library:  Your School Media Center
by Buffy Hamilton  

Meme - The Four Roles of the Teacher-Librarian 

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