I love going to the library. I don’t care if that statement makes me sound like a nerd, it is unabashedly true. Even as a child, nothing brought me more pleasure than spending a lazy afternoon strolling through the aisle of my local library. It was the place where I was first introduced to Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins. Sometimes it acted as a time machine which could transport me back to 1773 simply by cracking the cover of Johnny Tremain. And as I got older, it proved an invaluable location for study and research.
Part of our job as educators is inspiring students to embrace their curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking skills. Libraries are a priceless tool in this regard, but lately, they’ve been eclipsed by smartphones and Wikipedia. Seeing as April 4th – 10th is National Library Week, it might be worthwhile to remind our students what an exceptional place the library can be. So, lets take a moment to show our young learners the countless resources they have at their disposal. We can even have a little fun in the process!
Here are just a few ways you and your students can celebrate your school and local libraries:
- Donate a Book: Libraries help their community by accepting book donations. This not only provides its patrons with new literature, but it also reduces waste and promotes local engagement. Encourage your students to give back to their community by donating a book to their school or local library. Collect the books together and present them to your library with your thanks!
- Share a Movie: Libraries aren’t just a home for books; they also contain plenty of movies as well. Take this opportunity to introduce your students to some classic cinema. Rent a copy of My Fair Lady or 12 Angry Men and watch it together as a class. Then, discuss the characters and themes once you’ve finished. What lessons do these classic films have to share?
- Thank a Librarian: This week is the perfect time to thank your school librarian. Have your students write them a nice letter telling them how much they value and appreciate the work they do. You could also set up a Zoom interview with your school librarian and give students a chance to ask questions like, “What is your favorite book?”, “How do you become a librarian?”, or “What are some tools you would recommend?”.
- Perform a Read Aloud: Honor your school or local library by having students perform their very own read aloud. First, have your class select one of their favorite picture books. Then, have them create a video where they each take turns reading from the story. Finally, share the video with a younger class or upload it to YouTube for everyone to watch!
- Check Out a Book: Finally, encourage students to check out one of their favorite books from your school or local library. Have them share a little about the book and why it is their favorite, then allow everyone to enjoy a period of unstructured reading. After all, nothing encourages literacy in students like giving them the opportunity to read!
Sure, the internet is here to stay, but there will always be a place in learning for the local library. By showing students how these buildings can help them both in and out of class, we are connecting them with a resource they’ll use throughout their lifetime. Not only that, but we’re also encouraging them to learn and grow on their own. Education and discovery don’t stop once we leave the classroom. There’s always something new to learn, so long as we’re willing to take it off the shelf and begin a new chapter!
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*Image by Ralf Roletschek vis Wikimedia Commons