Seven Ways to Instill a Love for Libraries
Show your classes the knowledge, resources, and fun a library has to offer!
By Bethany Bodenhamer
February is Library Lovers Month. Now, I don’t know about your pupils, but it’s safe to say that my classrooms are never teeming with those itching to get to a library. In this technology-crazed generation, the resourcefulness and magic held within these public institutions are often forgotten. Use this month to teach your learners just what a library has to offer.
Most schools have one. If yours does, use it! Here are seven ways to engage your class in this great resource:
1. Meet the Librarian
Believe it or not, librarians are a wealth of knowledge! Take your class in for a “meet and greet” with this staff person where they can introduce themselves and share a bit about their background, experience, and job. Not everyone understands what being a librarian entails; it is a bigger job than checking out books! This person is a wonderful tool to utilize when in need of a good book recommendation or research assistance.
2. Plan a Scavenger Hunt
Pass out a worksheet with various clues and task your new library learners to successfully locate each item. This is a great way for students to become familiar with all the tools this space includes. Here are some ideas for items to look for:
- Copy Machine
- Card Catalog
- Non-Fiction Books
- Study/Quiet Room
- Paperback Books
- Audio/Video Rentals
- School/Community Bulletin Board
3. Reading Logs
Once a month, take your class to check out a book. Have them spend twenty minutes browsing multiple books. Once they have decided on which book to borrow, have them write a brief explanation on why they chose the one they did. When finished reading, give a brief assignment to test their comprehension of the story.
Assign a mini research project that must be completed with books only! Arrange your class into groups and have them work together in the library using the books available.
5. Computer Labs
Oftentimes, this is where campus labs can be found. Create interactive assignments that require your pupils to use the Internet and word processing programs. A fun way to do this is through a WebQuest.
6. A Class Library
You can create a compilation of great books within your very room. Use your own readers to help!
- Have each pupil bring in one of their favorite books to lend to the class for the year.
- Write their last name inside the front cover so returning it to the proper person is easy.
- On a 3x5 card, have them write a brief description of the book and explain why it is one of their favorites. Tape this to the inside cover.
- Create a designated space in your room for these loaners to be housed.
- Assign independent reading and require that a minimum of two books throughout the year must come from the class library.
- Once a reader has finished one book, have the borrower and the lender sit down with each other and discuss the story.
You too can bring in some of your favorites (making sure, of course, they are at an appropriate reading and maturity level) to add to the collection.
7. The Public Library
Field trips are fun, engaging, and far too rare! If you have the permission and the resources, take your students to your local public library. It is important that you assign a specific task during your outing so there is a purpose behind your trip. You can easily complete some of the same activities suggested above with your school’s library; having your pupils interview the librarian, do a scavenger hunt, or complete a mini research project will hopefully open their eyes to what help this collection of resources can be to them.
Other Lesson Planet Resources:
Here is a plan that introduces your kindergartners to the basics of the library. Using a fun story, The Library Lion, the teacher walks her class through the importance of rules, following them, and responsibility in the library. An interactive lesson, complete with crafts, this lesson is not one to be missed!
For the older primary pupils (3rd grade and above) this hands-on lesson uses a simulation along with technology to teach the class the history, basics, and importance of the Dewey Decimal System. Learning objectives include comprehending the purpose of the library, differentiating between fiction and nonfiction, and successfully alphabetizing books by authors’ last names.
For your middle age learners, this is a great activity to complete prior to assigning a research project. Your class will learn and/or review the necessary skills such as recognizing and avoiding plagiarism, utilizing the almanac, searching the Online Public Access Catalog, and using indexes and abstracts. Handouts are provided and this assignment can be easily modified to fit your class’s library knowledge level.
Geared toward high school pupils, this article is a great reminder of alternative resources that the library provides beyond books and research assistance. From meeting spaces, to job services and video game rentals, this is a great reminder for teachers and students alike to get out and use the library!