For the past few years trips to our school library have happened during my planning time. When I taught kindergartners that meant the instructional assistant went with them. In third grade it means they get dropped off and picked up. While the planning time is critical to me, not being there for check out is painful. (This year it’s not even about planning time. I’m in a team meeting when my class goes to the library.)
As I have mentioned before, this year’s group are passionate readers and lovers of books. A few weeks ago we missed several trips to the library because of the book fair and would be missing another for a teacher workday the following week. As the kids had a four day weekend coming, I wanted to be extra sure they had books. I checked with the librarian and we snuck in on Friday to check out. It was heavenly. I could help kids find books they knew they wanted and talk with others about what they might want and even make suggestions when they had no ideas or couldn’t find what they so desired. It was chaotic and busy and fast but wonderful.
So I went back to our fantastic librarian and explained to her how much I hated not being there for checkout. She was in complete agreement about how much the situation stinks and willing to work to find a solution. We decided that my kids could have a longer library lesson (read aloud, research work, whatever it might be) and wait to check out until I get there after my meeting. That runs into the librarian’s lunch and planning time, but she was willing to sacrifice that (because she’s fantastic).
This week was our first go at this new routine. When I arrived in the library they were all gathered around in awe of the book the librarian was reading to them: Glow: Animals with their Own Night-Lights. It was a pretty cool book. When they could tear themselves away we began our book search. I helped students find books in the Inspector Flytrap series by Tom Angelberger and Cece Bell. I read the first one aloud to them a few weeks ago and many want to reread it and read the other two. I helped others find books by Raina Telgemeier (how they don’t just know exactly where to go for those yet I don’t understand as they are unbelievably popular). A few had specific titles in mind so we did some searching through the online catalog. We found some nonfiction titles on subjects kids wanted to read more on. I suggested some Kate Messner and Kate DiCamillo books for a few. It was all I hoped it would be.
We’ll lose some social studies or science time every Tuesday now but I think it is well worth it. Kids walked out with arms full of books and chomping at the bit for our independent reading time later in the day.
Pictures from a library visit earlier in the year because I was too busy helping kids find books to take pictures. I can live with that.