When I was writing my post about the reading habits of my students, one of the things I thought about was how my students were going about procuring their books. They all borrow books off me, of course. Many of them now use their local libraries (now that the councils are amalgamated there's a pretty huge choice), are common visitors to their local bookshops and even get brothers and sisters to get them books from the high school libraries.
But very few of them borrow from our own school library.
Why was this? I mean, there's a big resource there in the school library, they have access to it before school, during lunch breaks and after school, plus we go as a class once a week - so why aren't more of them borrowing?
It could be the time. During our borrowing time we only have fifteen minutes to look, choose and borrow. If we're running a little late, the class before us is late or the class after us is early, our time is cut down. Books in a library can be quite overwhelming, and most of these are spine out, so they take more time to look at. Do the students need more time to take in the books, to make plans about what they want to read, like they do in the classroom?
It could be the collection of books. Money to buy books in the library is always tight, and our librarian has to make some really hard choices about what books to buy and which ones not to. There's also less books for the 11-12 year olds, though that has improved over the last couple of years. But because the librarian is buying for 600 students, compared with me buying for 27, there will always be less books 'meant' for my students.
One thing that really struck me was accessibility. Our students are not allowed to borrow unless they have a library bag. I understand the theory here. Library bags keep library books together, they protect them in school bags, they let parents of younger children know that the children have borrowed. But when the students reach grade 6 and 7, they seem to be less comfortable with carrying a bag for library books around. I think it also makes them feel like they can't be trusted, and since they can be trusted with classroom books, which they can just throw in their school bag, or carry in their arms, they'd rather borrow those.
So, how can I make the books in the school library more accessible? I can't change the library policy on library bags, but maybe there's some way we can make the library more interesting, or more open to the students. What are the borrowing habits of your students?
Photo from flickr
Thursday, July 22, 2010
A Reader's Community
- A Reader's Community
- Queensland, Australia
- A Reader's Community is a place to find ideas, information, resources and recommendations about Reader's Workshop.
This Blog has five main types of posts.
About Reader's Workshop - information about Reader's Workshop in my classroom and how it works
Reader's Workshop Tools - resources you can access and use to help you with reader's workshop
Book talks - Book recommendations of two or three books centred around a particular theme
Book letters - in-depth reviews of one particular book
Reader's Workshop Links - Short links lists to help you find more information