One of the things the middle school librarian and I were tasked with this month was completing our finishing touches. We both went through some huge weeding projects this summer and we shifted things around in our libraries. I barely got everything in it’s spot before school started. Actually, I haven’t really completed that because I want to relocate my textbooks and pull all our old yearbooks out of storage and shelve them in the library for easier access. This week I started working on fixing things up by adding some more informative signage to the shelves. I went library hopping with one of my librarian friends this summer and I found some good ideas.
For now, my nonfiction section is arranged in Dewey order, so I made some signs to better direct students to the correct shelves for the number they’re looking for. The signs are modeled after the signage at the Birmingham Public Library. I also started labeling the shelves to make the nonfiction a little easier to browse. The process of labeling for easy browsing is just making me want to get rid of Dewey and move everything, though. Maybe one day! The right picture shows my labels for my little College & Career section that I pulled out of the nonfiction. I was originally going to use some shelf clips, but I decided it’s much cheaper to use my labeler. The labels peel easily off the shelf, so I’m not ruining them either.
Team Teaching with Technology
There have been all kinds of changes at our school this year. A technology presentation we gave to the faculty at the beginning of the year really encouraged teachers to start using Google Apps for Education and Google Classroom. Now that all the teachers know their students have GAFE accounts, they’re eager to come in and get them working on the library’s Chromebooks. It’s been a learning curve for teachers though, and our wonderful, new tech specialist and I have been helping by doing a little team teaching.
In the collage, you can see Stephanie helping eleventh grade English students get set up on Google Classroom and navigate Newsela. The teacher was so excited about the data she got from Newsela that she’s already scheduled time to come in every other week and have her students use it. Also, I just have to sing Stephanie’s praises. It’s been such a game changer to have her around. If she hadn’t been hired this year, we just wouldn’t be able to do great things like this.
Hard-Working Library Aides
Stephanie and I put the library aides to the test this week. My huge weeding project lasted until school started, so I haven’t had a lot of time to do something with the books that we don’t need at our library but might be useful elsewhere. I put out a call for boxes a couple of weeks ago. This week, my aides and I filled every single one of them. They’re currently hanging out in my office until I have a chance to call someone to come pick them up. That’s not all the books. There are still some I need to box up, but this is the bulk of them.
Stephanie was preparing some Chromebooks that the English department bought and she enlisted some library aides to help her get them set up and barcoded, to cord the cart, and to get them all in the cart. They got all of this done in record time. I was pretty proud of the aides this week. They did a lot of work and helped both of us out so much!
So Much Activity!
I think my goal this week is to document more of what’s happening with the classes and individual students in the library. There has been so much activity and this was only the fourth full week of school! It’s been really exciting to me to see the library used in different ways. I’ve seen two classes in at one time, splitting the Chromebooks for group projects. I’ve seen our big screen TV used a lot this year, which was rarely used last year. I finally have kids using study rooms!
Our advisory period each week was something I worried about, but this past week it was wonderful. The class that was using the library stayed in the library for the period. I had the debate team using the computer lab. I had 26 students come in from other classes. Most of them found a table for their group to work at. Some of them checked out a Chromebook and worked on their own. Three different groups asked for a room so they could work on group projects, study for a quiz, or do some quiet reading. I had to let one group go in the conference room. This was so encouraging! A project later in the year will be for me to clean out the office and let students use that room, as well (it may also become a makerspace).
There’s just so much happening in the library and it’s making my life! One of my library aides told me that she thinks it’s just cool to come hang out in the library this year. I can’t describe the joy I got from what I think she considered an offhand comment. This is exactly why I love to go to work every week.