I find Collection Development a fun challenge. Thanks to Follett, I can see where my collection has plenty and where it is lacking in materials. I order books from Follett plus take at least 2 trips to the Bookworm to purchase the most current materials. (West Omaha Rotary allots me $300 each year to purchase books. They come and place bookplates in to honor those who have spoken at their meetings throughout the year.) I also enjoy ordering books early on from Pam Williams of Gumdrop. She has high interest titles that are not found on Follett and I know the binding is of high quality. A goal for next school year is my video-dvd collection. If teachers are able to better access video clips on-line, then my collection can be minimized to those things that are essential and not found on sources like Learn360.
I actually enjoy weeding and weeded 17 boxes (roughly 750 books) of hardcover and paperback fiction books during the last 3 days of the school year. Throughout the year I weed as needed from all sections of the library. I placed all the paperback books on the fiction shelves with their hardback partners and put the spinners away. Students would rather look for a paperback on the spinners or go to the Series Shelves to find books than to the regular fiction section. In changing the fiction section up, I hope to encourage students to look and check out fiction books they normally would not find.
Circulation and Fines Strategies
Students were able to check out up to 5 books this school year. Unfortunately, many of my older students state they do not wish to check out books. I remind them that their teacher requires at least one chapter book (whether they do or not). Book talks and book fair books help spark some interest, but some are set on not checking out.
When a student loses or damages a book, I ask they either pay for it or bring in a book that is appropriate for elementary library, current, and in good condition. Most all fines are waived because this is an easy alternative for students to take care of lost materials and fines. I especially encourage my 6th graders to remove past fines by coming to talk to me about the books. If they moved, in foster care, or truly cannot take care of the problem due to home circumstances, I waive the fines. I wish for them to have a clean start in middle school and not be afraid of going to the library because of lost books.
Our Internet was upgraded with new wiring and servers the first semester of this school year. (They must have pulled at least 1000 miles of blue wiring through out the building.) My storage room was divided in half with a new wall and doors. The other half is the lower level server room complete with new racks and air-conditioning. This did not get switched over until the end of April when the students were out of the building for 2 days in a row. We’ve experienced slowness and connection issues for years. Databases run slowly—especially sites like Learn 360. With that said, my teachers LOVE Pebble Go, Brain Pop, plus True Flix and Science Flix. I am certain that next school year, with some beginning of the year training, they will love these and others even more now that our internet is faster.
Author Visits—my staff and students very much look forward to an author visit each year. This year we had the privilege of having two authors: Ben Mikaelson in the fall and Julia Cook in the spring for our Reading Night. Students receive a newly purchased book written and usually signed by the visiting author. These books are funded by grants or Title I funds. Over the years, students have built a home collection of these books. I really hope that this wonderful program of author visits continues to be funded by the Sherwood Foundation.
Building Student Libraries—As stated in the previous paragraph, we would like for students to build home libraries of favorite books including those featured during author visits. I hold 3 Book Fairs a year, encouraging students and families to purchase books for home benefit. Books Are Fun is available 5 times a year for our staff and students to purchase books for home use.
Support Teachers in Curriculum—Many of my lessons are based on grade level curriculum. For example, 4th grade 2nd semester is all about Nebraska. Students write and draw about Nebraska topics including Prehistoric, Native Americans, Explorers, Pioneers, etc. During the final week of school, I asked each 4th grade class about what they learned in the classroom about Nebraska. All three classes stated they learned the most in library. Two of the teachers barely touched on it and the third did a bit more.
Acquire Materials Teachers Need for Lessons—Curriculum is constantly changing and the needs of teachers for appropriate materials also changes. What used to be covered by 5th grade Science is now touched on in 2nd grade. Simpler books/dvds are needed. Our students are very visual learners and do well with a dvd of the concept being taught. Many of my teachers will give me topics or titles of books that they would like to use in their classrooms. If I don’t have them, I will seek them from other schools and/or order them for the following school year. This year I filled 50 requests for materials for other schools.
Library Expectations—I have a set of Library Expectations that I review at the beginning of each school year and again 2nd semester. I found this is not enough and wrote into my lesson plans this school year to review Library Expectations every class, every day. Some students thought it redundant, but went along with it. I had less referrals and discipline problems as a whole. It also made the day go easier for whoever subbed for me. I will continue this next school year—especially if any of my expectations change.
Gradual Release of Instruction and Lesson Planning
All library lessons are written using this form.
Objectives/Learning Goals and Standards
Objectives are posted in a chart on the library marker board for each 5 day cycle.
Literacy Strategies Across Content Area
School Wide Effort—Reciprocal Teaching
I taught vocabulary words for Golden Sower Books
Reviewed author’s purpose with every book read
Students who struggle with writing—assign fewer sentences
Students who struggle with reading—table partner to work with
Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).
Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).