As a school librarian you might be stretched for resources – you have many different things to do, but one person can only achieve so much. But where can you find more helping hands? This is where your students come in! It is hard to imagine better helpers than the members of your community who are passionate about your library.

In this week’s Princh Library Blog post, guest writer Linda Kennedy shares her experience on collaborating with her students to promote books and her library services in her school.

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We wear many different hats as part of our job as Teacher Librarians, everything from being Library Managers to Marketing Directors. One of the most important roles that Teacher Librarians are responsible for is being Literacy Promoters. According to the California School Library Association website, “Teacher Librarians actively promote reading and library use through such activities as storytelling, book talks, displays, publications, reading programs, and special events.” As a Middle School Teacher Librarian, planning book displays and library events is my favorite part of my job! What makes it even more rewarding is that I get help promoting and supporting my library programs from my amazing Library Advisory Club Members.

I am the Advisor of the Albiani Middle School Library Advisory Club. Students who love reading and want to help promote books and the library to the other students at our school are welcome to join my club. Every month at our school library, we promote different book genres and topics to encourage our students to learn something new while being at the library and explore the many different kinds of books available to students. My Library Advisory Club members help to make posters to promote our monthly library themes, help to decorate the library based on the monthly themes, recommend books to other students on campus, and even help raise funds to buy more books for our library. One of the biggest library events that we promote is our annual Scholastic Book Fair.

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Book choice is a primary factor in encouraging students to be active readers and providing current and diverse books for students at our library takes lots of funding. Funding for new books for school libraries is dependent on a library budget allocated by the school’s administration. Most school libraries have little to no funding at all to purchase current titles, including diverse books needed to connect with readers from all different backgrounds. The Scholastic Book Fair provides a great fundraiser for our library to purchase more books and build a better collection each year for our students, thus providing students with more access to great books. During the month of December 2022, I hosted the Starbooks Book Fair at my library. We were able to purchase $1,000 in books for our library and raise another $1,200 in proceeds to support future library promotions and supplies needed for our library. Hosting a Scholastic Book Fair is more than just a library fundraiser, it is also another way to encourage and promote book browsing and support reading literacy for all students.

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Physical bookstores have disappeared with the popularity of online bookstores, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With the slow disappearance of physical bookstores, so does the lost art of book browsing. The Scholastic Book Fair brings the physical bookstore directly to students with relevant books that connect with avid readers and reluctant readers in an engaging and fun fair format. What better way to engage and encourage other students to browse our book fair than through the help of my Library Advisory Club student members? They sign up to work a shift at our book fair to help in various roles including security, customer service, prize wheel attendant, and lollipop game assistant. They also helped me promote the book fair by starring in video clips that I used to post on Instagram and in a book fair video commercial that was aired and shown to all students in our school through our weekly Advocacy Lesson. My Library Advisory Club members also played an important role in recommending books to purchase from the book fair for our school library. Some of the best promoters of books to encourage students to read are their very own peers.

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Running a school library takes a lot of work managing your library, building your book collection, promoting your books, supporting students and teachers, and planning and promoting library events. If you try to do everything alone it will be much harder and more time-consuming. John C. Maxwell, a famous author, coach, and leadership expert said this famous quote, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” This is one quote that I wholeheartedly agree with when it comes to promoting my school library events, with the help of my amazing Library Advisory student crew. When given the opportunity, students can do amazing things to help run your school library. How will you use your students to help promote and support your school library?

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We will be back next week with another interesting article from the library world!

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Author details:

Linda Kennedy

Linda is a Teacher Librarian at Albiani Middle School, located in the Elk Grove School District in California, USA. She became a Teacher Librarian ten years ago combining her dedication to supporting students and teachers, her love of books, and her passion for using technology to support student learning. She has worked with elementary, and middle school students, and teachers for the past 20+ years. She loves sharing practical ideas with fellow Teachers & Teacher Librarians to help them work smarter, not harder!

School: Katherine Albiani Middle School, 9140 Bradshaw Road, Elk Grove, CA 95624

Email: lkennedy@egusd.net

Library Website: http://kamslibrary.info

Twitter: @linda_librarian

Instagram: pghskamslibrary

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