Creating a children’s collection in a high school library

I don’t think our high school library is unique in getting requests for children’s materials from time to time. Whether for young families living on campus or our students tutoring young kids from our local community, we’ve had a number of picture and chapter books on hand for years.

This year, 2 members of our library team decided to formalize this collection and did so by harnessing the power of  Week Without Walls (WWW), an annual event when all Senior School students & staff perform volunteer service in our area, including some sites on campus. 

One month prior to WWW, a team member emailed staff & posted a notice in the parent newsletter, asking for donations of books suitable for up to 12 years of age; 10 families donated a total of 203 books.

When the week arrived, 4 students were assigned to this WWW group based on their shared passion for reading & children, and over the course of 8 hours:

  • Reviewed donations; a handful of books didn’t make the cut based on physical condition and appropriateness
  • Created a variety of materials to support the collection including identification stickers (items aren’t barcoded so the stickers highlight where they are to be shelved) and dividers noting their creative and unique categories, such as “Kids in Charge” and “Interactive” (pop-up books and I Spy), “Guide for Life”, along with some traditional genres.
  • Colourfully painted book ends (seen above)
  • Bookmarks that celebrate and encourage reading 

Initially, the students were keen to catalogue the books so that they’d be searchable in our database but time didn’t allow for this, although it was great to have students get a glimpse of how much goes into this detailed behind-the-scenes work.

I’m grateful to work with colleagues who created such a meaningful initiative for our students and for students who enthusiastically embraced the opportunity!

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