As we slowly inch towards spring break (!), I am thinking about how to promote our library books to our upper school students. A couple of years ago, the English department began assigning free reading for winter and spring breaks, and I want to do something as special for this spring break as we just did for winter break to promote the library books.
Last year, many English teachers brought students up to the library in groups, but this year, after four unexpected days off of school due to local fires (our lower school and many of our students’ homes were in the evacuation zone), our teachers were pressed for teaching time and weren’t sure they could bring their classes this year. I wanted to do something festive and different, which would work with either whole classes or students coming in on their free time.
This is where teamwork came in. I am lucky to work with two fabulous full-time Library Assistants. We developed the Pop-Up Party: Books for Breaks, which was located on one end of the library. The Pop-Up lasted one month, to give time to check out books for both Thanksgiving break and winter break. We decorated the area with twinkly lights and centerpieces made from weeded books. We brought the best of the best books and put them in areas by theme. We extended due dates until our second week back in January, and even distributed goodie bag reading kits full of holiday treats, cocoa packets, bookmarks, and instructions for using our Overdrive ebooks and audiobooks.
Approximately half of the English classes came to check out books, and I taught them about our ebook and audiobook collections and highlighted particular books of every format. I even told them it was my birthday party, when in fact it was my birthday, and asked them to celebrate with me by taking the time to find books they like. Other kids came on their own. By the end of the month-long party, many of the twinkly lights burned out and we ran out of goodie bags, but by then our new students learned about the library as a welcoming and fun space, and everyone is now more aware of our collection. We were able to start conversations with readers we didn’t know well, and perhaps people who don’t call themselves readers but still checked out books. Students are returning the books now, asking for sequels, and actually responding to emailed overdue notices.
What do I do for spring break to keep the book excitement going? How do you promote free reading and your collection? I would love some ideas from you for March!
Love this, Elisabeth! I especially like keeping the ‘Party’ going over several weeks to a month, to reinforce the idea and let new kids wander by to be inspired. I want to try something like this for Spring Break. Thanks!
Great idea! I love the weeded book runners.
This sounds like so much fun!! I love the idea of party favors.
Love it. My thoughts for Spring: Do you have a spot where students could leave recommendations for other students? Maybe an interactive bulletin board? Students could nominate books for the centerpieces and runners, with a note that says “student recommended”.
Call is the Spring Fling, and you could include a flavor packet for water or something as the treat so they can read outside and stay hydrated…
These are great suggestions! thanks! We will start planning soon and I will let you know what happens.
Love this! Before Spring Break I ask English teachers for ~10 minutes in their classes so I can do booktalks in their classes. Students can check out books right then and there, which I think helps – our library is a separate building so it can be “out of the way” for busy students.
For bookfairs I’ve done little slips that say “Recommended by. . . ” sticking up out of books. Thinking I might start incorporating more of that in displays.