Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Building Bridges: Collection to Classroom

Am I the only one who is disturbed to read national postings such as this? 

A small  classroom library serves a purpose of convenience and ease, but cannot match the quality and quantity and recommendations from a well-supported, well-maintained school library.  This just keeps kids in the classroom-silo that much more. 
  • Don’t we want them to experience more than a garage sale special collection sitting on a shelf in a classroom?   
  • Don’t we want them to move beyond their “J” of “E”  straight-jacket reading?  
  • Don’t we want them to enlarge their world beyond the teacher’s choice?


We have notables such as Kelly Gallagher speaking all around the nation espousing the need to build robust classroom libraries which most often duplicate resources found on the shelves in libraries.  When he spoke here and we confronted him on statements, he did recant and say that classrsoom shelves cannot replace a great library.  When I read this infographic posted above, about classroom libraries, it brought Gallagher’s conversation back to mind. (I love Gallagher's books, but recommend collaboration with the librarian.) 

While I commend Jeff @edudemic for wanting to foster a wonderful reading environment, I caution him against circumventing the robust collection of his building library and the expertise that the librarian has in building, maintaining and circulating their collection. 

Building Bridges: 
Chris Harris, a colleague,  suggested once to circulate the library collection to the classrooms, and that would be a better avant-garde solution to this model.  At least the library would be involved in the process. 

So, if your teachers are in this “classroom library” mode as espoused in many books, here are 7 ideas to keep you in the loop: 

  1. Rotate some of your captivating nonfiction, -good fictions that are sleeping, and other titles to fill this need.  
  2. Deliver them with "stars" on the cover and market them as 5-star books!   
  3. Slip bookmarks in the books which suggest they log into the library catalog and create a book recommendation when they're done.
  4. Offer to do the booktalks for the teacher. 
  5. Suggest a technology integration for book trailers when they're done. 
  6. Give the teacher pre-printed library passes for reluctant readers.  When you see that "hot colored" pass, you know it's a clue the student needs extra help.  
 Don’t worry about the losses.  Get those kids reading.   Add value to the classroom process.  Build those classroom bridges and maybe the next time they will come to you for information and collaboration.  When they see you have more to offer, they’ll seek you out….possibly. 

3 comments:

  1. If teacher librarians had been doing rotating classroom collections with the kids doing the choosing, checkout to the room, circulation from the classroom, and returning the collection once a month and picking another hundred books, classroom teachers would not be clamoring for room collections that they own and that are interesting for the first few weeks of the year and ignored after that. There are also huge possibilities in the creation of a virtual learning commons that replaces the school library website to create a virtual reading culture across the school and beyond. It would be good to explore these possibilities now that so much is going digital.

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  2. I had the same thoughts when I read Readicide by Kelly Gallagher. This was a book for a book group at our school. It is tough when the school library has to compete with classrooms for book funds.
    Collaboration and Communication is key.

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