August 15th, 2014
The beginning of the school year also means welcoming your newest little visitors to the library. PreK and Kindergarten students will not only be tasked with becoming familiar with their classroom environment, but also, for many, it will be their first visit to the library. Library orientation is very important for all students, new and returning, because it sets the stage for the entire school year. However, a few additional planning steps are necessary for little ones and involves having tools in place to calm fears, introduce yourself and the library, create a welcoming environment, and have students view the library as an exciting; wonderful learning space that they will love.
When presenting library orientation information to younger students, visuals are a must. A Powerpoint presentation works very well because images will hold attention and help lead discussions. Lots of color, smiling characters, brief points, and a presentation that moves along, while consistently interacting with students will lead to a very successful first library lesson. It is important to inform students, but also get them involved. Ask questions, such as “who has been to the public library?” and “what did you do there?” These types of questions will not only help “break the ice”, but also provide students who have never visited the library before, a point of reference.
We recently posted a beginning of the year orientation packet for PK-1 to our TpT store and in our Toolbox. The presentation is colorful, contains brief points, and allows for good discussions. We also considered the average attention span of little ones, therefore, the presentation is very brief and quickly moves into students being able to practice library rules and expectations while hearing a story. Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn is a very good book for orientation lessons and is one of our favorites. This book is also available on Tumblebooks (subscription based site) and can be projected and played during the orientation lesson.
Videos are also great to add to your lesson. Here is a very good one related to library manners:
When providing orientation for your youngest learners, keeping them involved, keeping them informed, and most of all, keeping them excited, will lead to a very successful first day in the library.
August 4th, 2014
We are super excited to announce that Library Teacher Tools has just opened a Teachers Pay Teachers store!
We’ve just added some great back to school library lesson plan packets to help you plan for the new school year.
If you’ve been thinking about our membership option in the Toolbox, this is a great way to become familiar with us and start using some of our tools in your library classroom. We offer lots of monthly tips and ideas with a Toolbox membership.
Please continue to look for our product offerings on Teachers Pay Teachers. Also, if you decide you want to give us a try long-term; you can return to our site and sign up for our annual membership.
Check us out today on Teachers Pay Teachers!
October 27th, 2013
Just came across this wonderful article from Architectural Digest, featuring the most spectacular libraries in the world.
This article has been featured in their November 2013 issue.
The pictures are absolutely stunning!
September 26th, 2013
Jumpstart’s Read for the Record event is just around the corner. Get ready to participate on Thursday, October 3, 2013.
What is Read for the Record?
Jumpstart’s Read for the Record®, presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, is one day of the year when millions of individuals come together to celebrate literacy and support Jumpstart in its efforts to promote early childhood education. On October 3, 2013, millions of adults and children across the country will read Otis by Loren Long, in support of Jumpstart’s mission to work towards the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. Join Jumpstart’s Read for the Record and put children first! Click here for more information.
Locate Materials for the Event
- Pre-tape or plan a live broadcast of your principal or yourself reading a copy of Otis. (Broadcast at a certain time or play a video throughout the day)
- Arrange for older students to read to younger students in your school.
- Pass along event information to teachers for classroom participation.
We Give Books Website
The electronic version of the book, Otis, can be read online at We Give Books. Following this event, spread the word at your school about this wonderful website that has many other wonderful books available for everyone.
Also, consider signing your school up to participate in the Read for My School Program. Your school can earn free books by reading great books online. Click for more information
August 22nd, 2013
Collaborating with classroom teachers is essential for a successful library program and overall, student success. The school library holds many keys for teacher and student success, and a true partnership should exist and be promoted each school year.
In many cases; however, this is easier said than done; it then takes a strong and continuous effort on the part of the library media specialist to promote the library program so that teachers see the benefits of reaching out to receive available resources and the expertise of library staff members.
When the days become busier, when the library doors aren’t opening, and when valuable books and other materials are not flying off the shelves–what can you do to encourage collaboration and a high demand for library resources?
Here are some tips that can help with efforts in increasing collaboration at your school. Some of these tips involve planning behind the scenes, while others involve directly approaching your colleagues. There is no one true formula of what works; the best approach is to put forth continuous effort to see what works best in your school.
- Look for needs in your collection: A successful library program has resources that meet the direct needs in the school building. Does your collection support the school curriculum? Does the collection support the interests and needs of your students? You can evaluate your collection by running a collection analysis. Many book vendors have this service available and it will allow you to see areas in your collection that are in need of development. You can also simply walk around and view the collection, taking note of any areas that are lacking up-to-date and relevant resources. A library can be compared to a retail store in many instances. In a store environment, if you do not meet the needs of the customer, they will not patronize the business. The same can be true in the library.
- Survey students and teachers: A great way to learn about the needs and interests in your building is to simply ask those whom you serve. You can send out a beginning or end-of-the-year survey to teachers, asking them for resources that they would like to see added to the collection. You can also survey your students to find out their interests, what’s popular, and also, what they would prefer to see in the collection. A great tool to survey teachers is Survey Monkey. You can create a free survey that can be sent by email and completed at any time prior to a date that you specify.
- Plan a resource fair: You’ve ordered some great new materials that will benefit teachers in the classroom. How do you inform everyone that they are in the library and encourage them to check them out?—You can plan a resource fair. A teacher workday would be a great time to display the books in the library and invite teachers to take a look. To encourage visits, you may also want to create and send out flyers prior to the date, plan refreshments, and hold a drawing for a prize.
- Suggest resources and other ways that you can assist: Approach teachers whenever the opportunity exists and introduce a resource or service that may be helpful. A casual conversation could lead to a future collaboration.
- Create attractive displays: Promote resources by creating attractive displays. Create displays that will be eye-catching and will lead teachers to ask for library services.
- Send out collaboration forms: In a fixed schedule library environment, sending out a collaboration form to ask teachers to inform you of what’s happening in the classroom is a good way to form a partnership. You can ask teachers to request resources, a specific lesson, or research opportunity for their students. It is a great way to let teachers know what you have to offer and that you can assist them in accomplishing their classroom goals. (See Library Teacher Tools Collaborative Planning tools)
- Attend departmental/grade level meetings: Attending departmental or grade level meetings is a great way to learn what teachers are covering in the classroom and to suggest ways that the library can provide assistance. Librarians who work in a flexible schedule environment will be able to take advantage of this opportunity. It can be more of a challenge with a fixed schedule, where sending out collaboration forms might be a better strategy.
- Make yourself accessible: Allow teachers to feel comfortable approaching you for assistance. At times, it is certainly necessary to find a quiet place in the library office to work on administrative tasks. However, as much as possible, place yourself in an area of the library where teachers won’t feel as if they are interrupting you. In libraries that have more than one librarian, make an effort for one of you to be positioned in an area that communicates that you are available and happy to provide assistance.
- Just one: In your efforts to increase collaboration at your school, don’t feel as if you have to accomplish the goal overnight or in one school year. If you are only able to work with one teacher for the entire school year, then just focus your efforts to make it a highly rewarding partnership. Word of the successful outcomes of this relationship will spread. Others will seek your services and new partnerships will form and flourish year after year.
- Create a welcoming environment: A very important part of developing collaborative relationships is that you create a library space that is warm and inviting. Everything from aesthetics to the attitude of the library staff should communicate to patrons that they are welcome.