Hello, dear Nebraska librarians! We’re preparing for the holidays by offering you some Stocking Stuffers - effective ideas for your school library all packaged up and ready to go. I “Grinch-who-stole-Christmas-ed” these goodies from the NLA/NSLA 2018 Fall Conference and am looking forward to incorporating them into my own school library. Most of the images are respectfully pilfered from their slide presentations.
Stocking Stuffer #1 : Take-away advertising
Number 1 on my “to steal” list is from Alexandra A. Ball’s “Promoting Literacy to Teachers and Staff” and Amy Taisch’s section of the #mwlibchat IGNITE. You take a small item, such as Extra gum (“Let the library make 4th quarter EXTRA awesome”) or a sharpie (“The library has what you need to stay SHARP in 2019”), and attach it to a brightly colored note. What a great way to promote the library and add some fun into your days! The back of the card can include your name, contact information, and library social media.
Stocking Stuffer #2 : The GIANT LOOM
Cheryl Wilkins of Lincoln Public Schools presented this in an IGNITE session, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. She created a huge loom in her library and put out the call for leftover yarn, resulting in this gorgeousness: a no-tech maker space that her students can get enough of. I’m ready to do this for the winter months.
(Check out their IGNITE slides here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byg0fBGq8544SHVuVDRlYUpiM0gtc0FDQmpqanNMTzRfMXk4/view)
Stocking Stuffer #3 : Library Cake Boss
Pilfered from Jenna Krambeck-Reeh’s section of the #mwlibchat IGNITE, I love the creativity behind a cake decorating contest centered around books. In my mind, this would make a powerful Golden Sower nominee activity. It would take a significant amount of planning and preparation with cake groups. Luckily, collaboration is a good thing! The library can keep the pieces on display all day, take votes from students and staff (drive traffic), and hold a cake eating party too!
(#mwlibchat IGNITE slides found here: bit.ly/NSLA18mwlibchat)
Stocking Stuffer #4 : Staff Book Bags
Amy Taisch makes her second appearance on my list with her staff book bags program. She talks with staff members and creates summer reading book bags for them based on their interests and professional goals. What a great way to re-connect with staff before and after summer break and promote your library materials! I’ll be trying this out at my school this summer.
Stocking Stuffer #5: Guessing Games
Alexandra A. Ball’s “Promoting Literacy to Teachers and Staff” had one more gem I just have to share with you! Don’t underestimate the power of guessing games to bring patrons into the library. She specifically mentioned one we are doing right now (it’s October as I write this) “Guess how many candy corns are in the container”. Also from her presentation, cover most of a book cover and have patrons guess the book title. Here are some other ideas I had: guessing the source of a quotation, how many feet of shelving there are in the library, how many items are in the collection, etc. I advertise on social media, email teachers, and always have a prize! In fact, I offer a prize for the student with the winning guess AND their Focus (like homeroom) teacher.
Well, there you are, Nebraska school librarian! I hope you found something inspiring to steal and make your own. Make sure to let us know if you do use one of these ideas by posting to social media and tagging the Nebraska School Librarians Association on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
NSLA News - December 2018: Alexandra Ball, Karla Wendelin Continuing Education Scholarship Recipient
When it comes to library programming, we typically think of events and incentives designed for our students. However, as school librarians, we would be remiss if we were to ignore another important group of patrons: fellow teachers and school staff. Because we spend so much of our days working with students, it is easy to forget about teachers as patrons. However, teachers are indeed our school library patrons not only with resources used in classroom teaching, but also for personal use. Additionally, teachers have a great potential to be library advocates within our school building, district, and the community at large.
I have used several ways to get staff involved and interested in the library, including having a display of staff picks, “guess the book” contests, and hosting informational breakfasts before school. While these have all had varying levels of success, I have had the greatest success with a library challenge I created for staff during the third quarter of this past school year. At the beginning of the quarter, I gave out a flyer with ten different activities staff could choose from. These activities varied in their level of involvement, from simply stopping by the library to say hello, to bringing their class to the library for an activity or lesson. Along with the flyer, I sent out a video explaining the challenge and the different prize levels. Teachers were able to earn prizes based on the number of activities they completed, and I promised that anyone who completed all ten would get their choice of coffee or fresh baked cookies.
My goals with this challenge were that teachers would become more familiar with the library and its resources, including the expertise I could help bring to their classrooms. By the end of third quarter, over half of the staff had participated in the challenge, with several teachers completing all ten activities. Even greater than numbers however, were the responses teachers gave, sharing that they used library resources (such as our ebook collection) that they would have otherwise not explored, and were now thinking about how else they could use the library in the future.
Classroom teachers and school staff are in unique positions to be strong advocates for our school libraries. However, this power is lost if staff do not feel there is a place in the library for them, or are unaware for the library’s resources. Focusing on programming specifically targeted to teachers and staff can help promote the school library in new and fun ways that help engage everyone in the school.
This blog is a joint effort by members of the NSLA Executive Board. We hope to provide relevant information, tips and tools to help you in your journey.