This blog post was contributed by: Jill DeFarno, elementary school librarian
One of the challenges I have in my school library is talking to all students about books and getting them excited about reading. Due to my flexible schedule I don’t see all students on a regular basis. Although I do lessons with all classes throughout the year, it is based on topics they are working on and so it may be awhile between lessons. If I have a lesson that I do with all grade levels it’s on one topic such as the book fair. In addition, it seems as if fewer students are coming to the LMC to check out books. The times where students have come in the past is now used in the makerspace area or online with a variety of personalized reading websites. And although I see the value of both the makerspace time and personalized instruction I don’t want books to be forgotten. I also value the teacher’s time and know that sometimes it’s hard to find time to schedule a library lesson or book checkout time into their schedule.
Last winter I started to think about how to make students and staff aware and interested of the different books we have in the library. What would be the best way to reach them? After thinking about it, I decided that video was the way to address this challenge. I would record myself talking about books, post them on YouTube, and send the link out to the staff and families. This way my message can reach all students and teachers can play it at their convenience. My first book talk was to promote new makerspace books I’d purchased with a grant. Incorporating a green screen (actually green bulletin board paper) and WeVideo I created my book talk and uploaded it to Google Drive. By the end of the year I made seven more. I invited other teachers to join me to talk about a variety of topics. After each book talk I put the books mentioned in a prominent spot in the library.
It’s been great to see the students stop by to check them out. I’ve gotten positive feedback from students and staff about the talks and suggestions on what to do next and staff who want to be included. On a board in my office I have a list of potential topics. So far this year I’ve done three talks. My newest topic was You Choose Books. Click this link to watch it https://youtu.be/UtVJLbSD904. You can also see my previous videos on my YouTube channel. If you are having the same challenge that I am, I encourage you to give this a try. If you’re not comfortable talking in front of the camera just record your voice holding up a book. If you don’t have time or want to incorporate a green screen just do it from a favorite reading spot in your library or at home. I’ve found it’s a great way to share my love of books with the stakeholders in my school.