THE GREAT GUYBRARIAN!
Welcome to Library Lions interviews Raising a Roar for libraries and the outstanding librarians serving youth in schools and public libraries across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest, the great guybrarian, Paul Warner!
My name is Paul Warner and I am the teacher-librarian for over 1,100 6th – 8th graders at Shahala Middle School in Vancouver, WA (right across the Columbia River from Portlandia!). The students call me JEDI WARNER the GUYBRARIAN because of my love of Star Wars and all things sci-fi fantasy.
If you walk into our library you are likely to see books displayed with posters and life-size standees of sci-fi fantasy characters, kids learning with Mr. Warner using various film clips connected to sci-fi fantasy books, patrons listening to sci-fi fantasy instrumental music while they work and read, and you’re likely to be greeted by an enthusiastic Guybrarian dressed as a Jedi, a wizard, or some other fun sci-fi fantasy character.
What I love most about my work is connecting reading with fun activities. For example, every month we hi-light a different genre and promote books in that genre by making fun library videos for the whole school to see. We also make fun videos to promote new books available. Many students and staff love to be in these productions, and after the videos are shown those books start flying off the shelves! I have included Youtube links to a few of our videos below.
To promote new books we received through purchases and donations, we made this video for the school: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IX6I6KkJD0
Video to promote our sci-fi family night & book fair event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaG-Ky96bCQ
We have the most fun of the year at our annual Sci-Fi Fantasy Family Night & Book Fair.
Trivia games, Origami Yoda, collectibles, projects connecting sci-fi and real science technology, and much more!
This year Mr. Warner dressed as a Jedi Knight, Assistant Librarian Mrs. Royster became Princess Leia, and one of our teachers was Doctor Who! Plus we have special guests stop by from the 501stLegion, an international organization of costumed Star Wars characters that have a local chapter nearby. Last year they brought a clone trooper and Darth Vader, and this year they brought Imperial stormtroopers and a real, life-size, working R2D2 robot that interacted with library visitors!
We’ve had a couple of really funny days in the library this year. One was on “Talk Like A Pirate Day” when I became a pirate and any kids who entered the library and talked like a pirate to me while checking out a book got some candy (“pirate booty”).
Then later this year we collaborated with our amazing ASB program to have an all-school “Dress Like a Book Character” Day!
We gave prizes to kids who checked out any book featuring the character they were dressed up as. All day long the library was filled with laughs and smiles as Katniss, Batman, Laura Ingalls, Chewbacca, Ponyboy, Hogwarts students, pointy-eared elves, manga characters, various Avengers, Percy and friends from Camp Half-Blood, and some very entertaining Spongebobs checked out books about themselves!
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be Vader or Harry, so I combined them in one costume, held up books about both characters, and greeted kids with a deep voice stating: “Luke…I am your new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher!”
I really want visitors to know more about all the on-line tech tools and assistance we provide for our students and staff. For research work and non-fiction reading we can help kids learn how to use databases such as Worldbook and eLibrary instead of just randomly searching the web, and help link kids up to ebooks and to professional, trusted web sources on any topic they need. For presentations, I offer help for kids and teachers to create podcasts about books or topics of study, digital video book trailers, and presentations on any topic with the use of web tools such as Prezi, Glogster, Picmonkey, Pixton, Storybird, Tagxedo, Animoto, and Educreations.
After reading Ender’s Game, The Eagle Book Club made this book trailer video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w49-8-osTk
“Reading is awesome because it allows me to journey to Middle Earth, Camp Half-Blood, and other worlds, all without leaving my own land.” – Max (7th grade)
“I love reading because it takes me to a place and time I can’t go in real life.” – Hibbah (8th grade)
“Reading helps me imagine things.” – Damian (6thgrade)
“Reading is like a movie in my head.” – Caledonia (8thgrade)
“I can’t remember the last time I went to a library book fair, but I got so excited to go to the Sci-Fi Night that Jedi Warner planned! After that I started reading some sci-fi!” – (6th grade boy)
“I want to thank you for the Sci-Fi Family Night you hosted for the community. I brought my son and we had a fantastic experience meeting some of his STARWARS favorites. We loved visiting with other families, picking out books, and dressing up for the costume contest. Even days later, my son is still talking about how wonderful the night was. You made his month!” – Anna
“It was quite remarkable to see so many people at the Sci-Fi event that were energized about science fiction and reading! Great to see such a diversity of community members there with a wide range of interests participating in a common event around a shared love of science fiction books, movies, and games! – Mr. P. (8th grade math teacher & parent)
This is only my third year in the library so I haven’t had very many author visits yet, but I really want to because during my 16 years as a language arts and social studies teacher I attended some great author visits and saw the positive affect they have on the kids. I think the perfect visit involves the author reading some from her work, sharing about her own life, using a visual presentation, teaching about the craft of writing, and having a Q & A session about her books and reading & writing in general. If time allows, I think it is great to have the kids actually do a little writing of their own while with the author. I saw a writer do this once with a class of kids by getting them to brainstorm ideas to get down on paper and encouraging them to start keeping journals of ideas that could later develop into writing pieces; it was very inspiring to the kids and adults in the room who did actually start keeping writing journals after that visit.
(2) When Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashesand Teacher Man, came to the high school where I taught and shared with the students about the importance of always asking questions in reading and in life;
I want to roar loudly for all those school librarians & guybrarians out there who take the time to work with and teach lessons to the students. Every week I am teaching whole classes and 1-to-1 with students about reading skills, research skills, writing skills, technology skills, presentation skills, and the important critical thinking skills needed so much in the information overload world we live in today. Too often I run across folks who think all a school librarian does is sit at a front counter and check out books all day; therefore, they incorrectly and unfortunately view such a position as unimportant and expendable. So I also want to roar for the Library Lions website and all the authors, teachers, principals, and students out there trying to spread the word in this country that our librarians are not expendable and are so much more than just book-checker-outers, but are actually professionally trained educators collaborating with classroom teachers and working with students on so many crucial skills today, in addition to the important job of helping them find books to read.
Blog: I would like people to know about my blog for sharing and learning about how today’s technology tools can be used in education. It’s a Google blog called Educational Tech in the 21st Century. I would LOVE for people to go there and join up with my blog so we can share tech tools and ideas! Here is the URL: http://21stcenturylearnerandteacher.blogspot.com/
Twitter: I have also started using Twitter to connect with educators, authors, and librarians and would love to connect with more folks! On Twitter I am: @jediguybrarian