April is for Poetry, Earth Day, and – Hey, wait, it’s School Library Month!

One evening last week I was driving a van full of Upper School readers to our county Reading Olympics competition; one of my favorite nights of the year. We were pulling into the parking lot of the large public high school where the competition was taking place, when I saw the proud sign at the entrance to the school:

It’s National Library Week!    

I cheered aloud and my students obligingly echoed. However, inside I was thinking, “Dang it, what?!? How could I have missed that? An opportunity to make some noise about our library, and I’ve blown it!” Then I remembered that April, I was pretty sure, is School Library Month, and maybe I could still rally. But what to do with only two weeks left to celebrate?

Luckily, in a past April, an earlier me was a little more on top of things. I remembered that it’s actually been a few years since I have set up pop-up libraries in different parts of campus, with themes and genres relevant to their locations around school. Having already created much of the signage to reuse or edit, and with new books, new institutes, and new students (for whom these good old displays are new and fresh), I can pull off School Library Month. Instead of bringing students into the library, I’m taking over – bringing the school library to them.

An Entrepreneurship/Innovation Pop-up Library in the Innovation Center

Years ago I created Smore flyers to showcase books that would tie-in with areas around school suitable for a small book display – sports for the athletics center, books on food and eating for the dining hall, writing for the Writing Center, and other topics or genres that could go anywhere. Now I just need to swap out a few book covers for some newer related acquisitions, make connections to new programs and renovated spaces, and dust off @perklibrary on Instagram. In the chosen locations, I display just a few books with a printout of the flyer and a self-checkout form similar to the one we use when we’re out of the library, so the students are familiar with it.

Thanks to a fun half-forgotten project recycled from a few years ago, I have a new spring in my step, and a promotion for School Library Month. I can’t wait to think of new pop-up ideas and ways to promote them.

Bringing new titles into parts of campus where they aren’t normally seen but still seem at home is a great way to promote reading and showcase the library as the heart of the school. I love AASL’s theme for this year: Everyone Belongs @ your School Library. How could it be said any better? But I like the flip of that idea, too: Your school library belongs everywhere.

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