BRAVO FOR TEACHER-LIBRARIANS!
I am the teacher-librarian at Inza R. Wood Middle School in Wilsonville, Oregon.
I love that I get to work with all of the students in the school, plus all of the staff. It’s a great feeling to connect someone with just the exact resource that they need – especially when they didn’t even realize that what they needed existed! Libraries can be amazing places. I also love reading young adult literature. There are some incredible authors out there, and the books nowadays are so much better than the ones that were written back when I was in middle school. I love the fact that buying books is part of my job.
A Mighty Roar!
Libraries are the great levelers in our democratic society. In a library, everyone is truly equal in a library. Regardless of how many books people have at home, everyone has access to all of the books within the library catalog. For free! It’s truly an amazing concept that I think people take for granted. And, not only do they have access to the “stuff” for free, but they have access to people who can help them get the “stuff”, explain the “stuff”, and train them how to use the “stuff”, all for free. Libraries are not just repositories of information; they are the keys that unlock the doors for all of our citizens.
I always find it amusing when students ask if they can “rent” a book. I ask them how much they are willing to pay, and this puzzled look appears on their face. I tell them that they can rent from Redbox, but our materials they get to borrow for free.
There are tons of great non-fiction for students to just read. It’s amazing to me that students completely overlook some really interesting non-fiction books that I buy – except, of course, for the sports, biographies, and Ripley’s books. When I purposefully give some of those books to students, they eat them up. But, when they are on their own, they typically don’t pull books from those sections.
I want to plug the importance of having teacher-librarians in schools. Our numbers have dwindled over the years. There are about half the number of teacher-librarians in Oregon from about 20 years ago, and the number of schools, and students, have increased. Some people, outside of the system, think that all you need is someone to check in and check out books. But, anyone who has actually been in a school with teacher-librarians knows that we do a heck of a lot more. We actually are teachers, and we understand students. We understand instruction, curriculum, and assessment. We work with all of the people involved in the community to create a place where everyone feels safe and supported, and we provide the resources that allow everyone – everyone – to succeed in what they need to do. School libraries are magical places, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“Libraries are the awesomest place on earth. Even though you are supposed to be quiet, you can have lots of fun.” Abigail, 8th grade.
“They are a place full of wonder and thought.” Willow, 8th grade
“It’s a place where you can escape reality.” Emily, 8th grade
Divergentseries by Veronica Roth: very hot! I think it’s because it’s an Oregon Reader’s Choice Award, plus the movie is coming out (and, it’s a very engaging book).
Maze Runnerby Dashner continues to be very popular in our school. The author visited about 3 years ago, and, ever since, it’s stayed as one of our top checkouts.
The best author visits I have had are the ones when the author truly connects with the students. Sometimes that is done by simply talking about when they were young, or even from reading from one of their books. But, it’s the simple act of talking “with” the students instead of “to” the students. I have also have had some authors who are willing to not only speak to the large student body but also to do writing sessions with smaller groups of interested students. That has been very powerful for that group.