This year, I am convinced that the patron saint of libraries has arrived at EHS in the shape of a silver-haired spitfire. Kathy Vetter and her crew of library assistants have managed to shift the culture of our library from a stuffy prison in which students got kicked out all too often (for eating, sleeping, talking, breathing) into a warm, inviting space of relaxation. Surprisingly, this transformation and the allowing of food in the library have also ignited students’ interests in reading.
One of the library’s greatest programs for engaging readers has included setting up simple displays to attract students’ attention. While the displays aren’t flashy or ornate, they expose students to a wide variety of books. For example, in honor of June being LGBTQ month, the library set up a small table with a selection of LGBTQ literature. The selection included I Am Jazz, a book about a transgender child that recently sparked controversy in Maine (our neighbor) after an elementary school teacher read it to her class. In addition to the display, the library also provided copied articles about the I Am Jazz dispute to educate students. Talk about a teachable moment!
What I love most though is the increased availability of book list bookmarks. Throughout the year, the librarians have managed to set up an elaborate display of bookmarks including lists of Flume Award nominees, time travel titles, and novels in verse. Many bookmarks even include suggestions based off popular books; for example, one reads, “If you liked The Fault in Our Stars, you might like…”
As I reflect on my currently library, I look forward to aligning with the library and using their model within my own classroom. I currently use plate stands I bought from a craft store to display books on top of my bookshelves. I am planning to not only steal some book list bookmarks to provide to my students (who are always looking for bookmarks), but I am also going to use these bookmarks to help me develop my book displays
and even my classroom library shelves. In the meantime though, I will certainly count my blessings that such an angel of books not only appeared at EHS but changed the environment that surrounds one of our greatest school resources.