The little things…

Recent blog posts have detailed some visionary work happening in your schools – with my brain busy exploring how I can implement some of these inspired programs, today’s post is simple.

Here are four little (non-library-related) things that kids love about our library:


I’m not kidding. This appliance is the best thing ever – in terms of attracting kids who may not otherwise swing by the library. We added a paper cup dispenser and have been off the races ever since. (Environmental note: cups are compostable but we encourage use of water bottles, and the jugs are refilled through our in-house water system). For maximum impact, we display new materials prominently in this area!

Birthday Board

Inspired by the late Margaret Donnelly (of Crescent School in Toronto), we feature a board noting student birthdays. We know that the kids keep a keen eye on it, because they let us know when we’ve got something (spelling, date) wrong. We get an updated list from Admissions every fall, and once again, take advantage of the traffic by advertising library programs & materials close by. It’s a rare day when I don’t notice a kid surreptitiously checking out his/her name.

Chess Table

Easily the best money we have ever spent in the Library. Not being a player myself, I’m in awe of the spirited competition that breaks out on a regular basis. It’s incredible to see how many kids know how to play chess: we love hearing about how their parent or grandparent taught them to play, and seeing an experienced player teaching a newbie the basics.



With no dedicated instructional space in our temporary location, our large whiteboard went on the only open wall available. The location is not the most useful for class visits, but turned out to be perfect for student use. A question appeared one day – “What inspires you?” – and responses bloomed across the space. We clean it off once it’s full to the point of illegibility, and someone (sometimes us, sometimes a student) puts up another question. Yes, we keep a close eye & monitor the more colourful responses.

My favourite response to this week’s question (“What’s hot / What’s not”):


 What little things in your library keep your students coming back?

12 thoughts on “The little things…

  1. You aren’t kidding about the chess set! We have a class set, and I used to keep four out. It got way too rowdy. Two is the limit, and there are competitions daily. It’s important to keep kids coming in and engaged, even if it’s not library “resources” per se. 🙂

  2. Love these ideas!! Am going to get a puzzle right away along with the chess set. As for the white board, also try a white board on wheels; we have no wall space, but two portable boards and they are quite popular.

  3. I’m ordering a chess set and a white board right now. We have a small student-run coffee bar in our library that has brought in tons of students who would otherwise not set foot in the library.

  4. I was so inspired by your post that I went out and bought a puzzle to put out in addition to “Board Game Friday” stuff. I just got chastised (humorously) by soph boys for choosing a “ridiculously hard” puzzle! LOL! #StartWith500Pieces

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