Saturday, September 28, 2013

Progress, it's happening!

I am excited to see progress at the library!  I'm working with one of my awesome volunteers to go through all the books and anything that isn't marked AR (Accelerated Reader) is being checked.  If there is a test, I print the label and get the book updated in the catalog.  If it isn't, we mark it NOT AR inside the front cover.  We are working through the picture books right now and are halfway through the collection.  We do still have to do Fiction, Junior Fiction, Special Collections and Nonfiction as well.

Another great idea that I've been shown by the middle school librarian in town is to add the volume number to the spine labels of books in a series.  Her labels look like this:

vol. 1

I would switch the author name to RIO but I very much like the idea of putting the volume number on the label instead of relying on the book to have it on the spine already, and I'd love to relabel the books that have the number written on them in marker - it just looks terrible.

So those are two big projects to work through and I need to do some kind of inventory where I can see each book, and how it is cataloged.  If I go through and scan each book, I can make necessary updates and relabel the ones that need it.  I have a Macbook on a rolling cart to do this with, I don't even have to pull whole sections at a time!

I'm also excited because I have asked my principal if I can replace the shelves where my "green dot" books are.  It is a large section of homemade shelving that has seen better days.  The shelves are all about hip height even though the bulletin board is only behind 4 of the 7 sections.  The shelves are also a bunch of different heights and the books just don't fit right.  She is all for it and after I did a bunch of looking, I thought I could replace the section for about $2000.  She suggested we spend more money and get 3 taller shelves and 4 short shelves.  They are all going to be the same style and will match my existing shelves better than what I have now.  I can't wait!

But on the sad side, I did have to ditch the solar system idea, at least for now.  I discovered that it was a lot harder to make them with the yarn than I thought it would be.  So until I find a better solution, no solar system.  At least not a 3D one - I found a very nice solar system poster on clearance at Target for $1.78!!  I took it to school and laminated it.  I also made a cute little information plaque to go with it.  Remember when there were 9 planets?  We learned a fun mnemonic: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas (or something like that).  I put it onto the poster with little pictures of each of the planets, then under that I put, "But wait, since Pluto is now classified as a dwarf planet, how about if we say: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles."  I also put one last line about finding the planets in the 520s of nonfiction. 

I kind of went on a poster rampage this week.  We had an early out on Wednesday for teacher inservice.  The paras (me included) were given the choice to do busy work after school got out or take the afternoon off.  Since my husband took the day off, I was able to stay and work.  I spent the afternoon emptying out the storage cupboards and drawers.  I mostly sorted through bulletin board type materials, but I also found a lot of really nice library posters.    I got rid of about half of the decorations.  I just don't think I'll make use of tablecloths and place mats that are holiday themed.  I wouldn't decorate my home that way so I won't decorate my library that way.  I also got rid of outdated materials like a presidential portrait set that only goes as high as George Bush (the first one.)  I'll never be able to find matching Clinton through Obama so I figured why keep it?  I then took down all of the nonfiction informational posters on the shelves.  There is a fairly new set of Rubber Ducky nonfiction posters I moved from the ends of my shelves up onto the wall above Nonfiction.  Then rather than bombard the kids with yet another set of nonfiction posters, I laminated and hung posters from inside the DK Eye Witness Books.  I found posters for Battle (which covers soldiers from all periods of history), the Titanic (need I say more, the kids eat that stuff up) and Treasure (really archeology.)  I also laminated a poster on mummies of all kinds but because there is a photograph on it of a natural ice mummy, I chose not to hang it.  I think it might freak out the little kids.  But the sixth grade classes do a unit on mummies later in the year and I've already offered to loan it to them. 

I have a few more posters to get laminated but I see no reason why they all have to be "READ" oriented.  Yes, the library is about reading but it is also a source of science, math, history, and everything else in between.  Why not inspire the kids to dive into those stacks and find a book or two about the types of things they see on my posters?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A librarian's work is never done!

It's been a few weeks since school started, and I think I might be getting into the swing of things.

In the first full week of school I had it pointed out to me that I need to work on classroom techniques - i.e. getting the kids to listen to me when I tell them to be quiet, line up correctly, etc.  It upset me at the time (it was my Principal who came to talk to me, so yeah) but now I see that it's true.  I'm a librarian, not a teacher.  So I've been working with the kids on their library manners.  The majority of the classes know how to behave, but I've got a few issues to deal with. 

The biggest problem I have is my 6 tables in the library.  Each table has 4 chairs, and ideally only 4 children will sit at each table.  They shouldn't be clustered together, which we all know leads to whispering, which leads to talking, which leads to me shushing them.  The other issue I have is that when I let kids check out books, there is always one kid who needs 30 seconds to find his books and then one who needs almost the whole class period and my help to find her books.  So how do I help 24 kids find books while there is a line forming at my desk waiting for checkout.  And mind you, the line isn't quiet and the kids in it aren't patient. 

My friend Raynette suggested that I label each table.  After the kids find their books they go sit down BEFORE they go to my desk.  Once everyone has a book I can then call them up by table to check out.  This is a very good system.  So I figured, why not solve to problems at once?  I used the school die-cut machine - best resource ever - and cut 5 circles of each color.  The tables now have a central dot with a cute saying (that I totally stole from Risking Failure!)
Red any good books lately?
Orange you glad you read good books?
Yellow books are just ducky!
It's not easy being green...
Don't be blue.  Check out a good book!
Books are grape!
I then added the other four dots of each color in front of the four seats for that table.  So now, each child should have a dot directly in front of them when they sit at the tables in the library.  There is no reason for any of them to sit between any of those dots since there are extra spots to sit scattered all over the library.  It was a quick project I threw together on Friday before our Homecoming pep rally.  I can't wait to try it out with the kids on Monday morning!

In other news, I've decided to try a different approach with the solar system model.  I still want to do one but I don't have the time to invest into making them out of yarn.  It's a bummer but there are only so many hours in a day.  I am now thinking I'll find paper lanterns online and buy varying sizes.  I can get basic colors for each planet and then add pain effects to make them look more planetary.

I'm also still working on amassing the objects I need for my I Spy Dewey display.  The kids and I even found a small wasps' nest over the summer for it.  We sealed it into a plastic bag and then froze it (just in case!).  I need to start putting the objects in so I can see what I need to find to complete the different sections.  Once I get it all together then I'll take it to school and ask our maintenance man to help me find a way to display them.