A vision for the future of my library.
As I was reading through the description for this assignment, I saw the words “Think out-loud” and “production” and my wheels started to turn. I decided that for this post, I would create a video of myself talking about my final vision. Here’s my verbal brainstorm.
CC from my video:
“Hi friends, my name is Janelle Ten Have, and I have self-titled myself “The Island TL” on my blog posts. That’s because I am a Teacher-Librarian, and I work on an island. I live on Vancouver Island and I commute to work on a ferry everyday to Gabriola Island. If you’ve never been, it’s beautiful and a little less touristy than the other Gulf Islands. I love it there, and I love taking a morning ferry ride to work. As I have said in some of my previous blog posts, it is my first year doing this, I am new to this, I don’t know what I am doing most of the time.
In the past few years, I have been in the classroom setting, striving towards being in a library. This year I finally got to do that. It is so peculiar being in this new position, during a pandemic, it’s insane. I’ve always had this vision of having kids come to my library, pick out their books, silent read, and do activities (as normal library would run). Instead, I have to bring bins of books to the classrooms, on a cart, checking out books. It is different than what it should be, but this is what we’re working with right now. I generally take the time to prepare a bin of minimum enough books for every kid in the class to have two or three books. If they have requested a specific book, I take the time to put that aside for them, so that they have the book that they want to read. What I have talked about a lot in my previous blog posts is fostering a love of reading. I honestly believe that kids aren’t going to be able to love reading, unless they are reading a book they want to read. If they’ve requested a specific book, I am going to take the time to give them the book they want to read. I think it’s really important for them to have choice in that, because as adults, we do have that choice. As an adult, I read because I love reading. I read to take time for myself. I don’t want to read a book that I don’t want to read. I choose the books that I want to read, that are relevant to me, so why is it any different for children. Unless of course, it is specifically requested by the classroom teacher. I believe the books from the library should be book that they enjoy reading. This is really why I take the time to hand pick these books for these kids. That being said, I only have 150 kids at my school so much less than most schools. It is a little bit less, but it is still a lot of work. I think that eventually being able to open up my library again will take a load off me, take a load off them. It will be amazing.
I really want to foster a love of reading in my library, I have always been passionate about this. When I was in the classroom setting, I had a cozy corner filled with pillows and plants, and basically made it feel like my home. I really wanted the kids to feel like they’re at home as well, that they have a say, and that they can feel comfortable. It is a cozy time and I wish that I could provide that again this year, but I can’t. I can’t bring pillows, blankets, or plants every time I step into a different classroom. My vision for the future, which this blog post is about, is fostering a love of reading in my library, but in the future. Right now, I can’t achieve what I want to achieve, but I am doing the best that I can.
Basically, my vision for the future is really for once the pandemic is over and once I can open my library again. I want to be able to fill it full of beautiful things and make it really cozy and comfortable for these children. When they come into my library, I want them to feel like it is a safe place. I also want to be able to host several different clubs. When I was a kid, I was one of the children that put the books away. Honestly, I thought everyone did that at some point in time. I remember in university, for teaching, I remember talking about it and some people didn’t even know the club existed, and they definitely were’t a part of it. It was at that time that I realized that I needed to switch gears. It was really cool to look back and realize that I have been passionate about doing this for so long. I really want to provide that for the kids at my school. I want to give them the option to stay in for recess because their best friend is away and they want to hang out with me instead, I am ready for that. I also want to host other clubs, like boardgames clubs, video game clubs, and book clubs, every day of the week. I want to be in my library with these kids, spending time with them. The thing is, you need to be in close quarters for those things, in small groups, and mixing cohorts. Those things can’t happen this year, maybe next year, or the year after.
That’s my vision for what I want my library to look like. I want it to not only be a place where kids can get books, read those books, and feel comfortable. I also want to have this safe place and for me to be a safe person in their life. That’s my heart behind it, that’s where I am at.”
As always, let me change my tone a bit. There is lots I can’t do this year, but there is still some things I can do. I read an article written by Lisa Dabbs, called Read With Me: 5 Tips to Foster a Love for Reading. She shares some great tips that I think I could alter a bit to make them work for this year.
1. Read aloud
I feel very lucky to still be able to visit the classrooms, do book exchange with the students, and read to them. I look forward to this time I get to spend with them, and I know they do too (from the little cheers I hear as I walk into each classroom). With the older grades, I read a different novel to each class. I feel as though this is starting to help us build relationships with one another, and it also gives them a break from reading themselves, as they can just sit back and listen to the words being read to them. In the younger grades, I find new and exciting books to read each week that reflect their classroom theme. This sparks some really wonderful conversations.
2. Visit the library
This is still a bit of a dream, but I can see opening up the library for short periods of time, when things settle a bit. Maybe this will look like just reading a book to one class or one cohort that week. Maybe it will be just for book exchange. Maybe I will be able to run very small clubs.
3. Develop a classroom library
If the students can’t come into my library, I can try to do the next best thing and give them a sense of a library in their classroom. Every week I touch base with the teachers at my school and ask what theme they are working through at that time. I curate a bin of books in that subject area and check it out under their name. This gives the students more choice. They then have their library books they can take out, as well as a selection of books in their own classroom.
4. Start a book club
Another dream of mine, but maybe not totally unachievable. I know that some of the counsellors and child and youth care workers at my school run the occasional friendship club at recess. I have hopes to address the idea of starting a small book club with some of the students that will run once a week.
5. Write stories
In preparation for the upcoming virtual book fair at my school, which is jungle theme, I had all the classes do activities and write stories around this theme. It was both fun and successful, and gave me the idea of continuing to write occasional stories with the classes. It seems to spike an interest in most students, and gave them the chance to be creative!
Janelle, The Island TL
TheIslandTL, J. (2020). Final Vision Post #1. Retrieved 2020, from https://youtu.be/_bGFzGdUwsI
Dabbs, L. (2014, February 14). Read With Me: 5 Tips to Foster a Love for Reading. Retrieved November, 2020, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/5-tips-foster-love-reading-lisa-dabbs