Nicole Roohi, Librarian, National Board Certified Teacher Goldenview Middle School
The 2017 Alaska Library Association conference in Ketchikan had many wonderful sessions that inspired great ideas. My favorite presentation was Dona Helmer’s Put on Your Art Hat: Ideas for Celebrating Libraries and Reading. This workshop was a wealth of great ideas to try in any school library throughout the year. It should also be noted that Helmer won the Linda K Barrett Service Award for her service to the school library profession in Alaska this weekend also. Helmer knows what she’s talking about, and she’s willing to share!
The theme of the session was reading promotion activities throughout the year. Helmer takes out a calendar every summer, before school starts, and plans what she’s going to do to promote reading in the upcoming year. Summer is the best time to do this because you have more free time and the creative juices are flowing. In addition, Helmer stressed that it is important to find a media contact and school board member to call on whenever you have some great activity going on. It is good publicity for you, for libraries, and for the district.
Starting with January, Helmer starts planning events. She used some ideas from ALA’s Celebration Weeks and Promotional Events website (http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/celebrationweeks) as well as various other sites. She also notes that if a date doesn’t work for you—move it! Here are some of her ideas:
- January’s theme: Resolve to Read—have students make their own resolution to read a certain amount.
- Read to Your Teddy Day—bring in a supply of teddy bears (or have students bring their own) and have students read to them.
- March is Dr. Seuss month
- Pizza for Poets—read and write a poem for a prize(a prize can be as simple as a bookmark).
- April 12 is DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Day.
- After Easter (when Peeps are half price) have a Peeps on Parade project. Kids make a diorama of a book scene and when they’re done give them Peeps to put in it. Then have everyone vote for the best.
- Read to some bunny—pick up some stuffed Easter animals from a second hand store and students can read to them.
- Have kids create library art representing what the library means to them and send it to Juneau, the school board, or a business partner.
- Have kids bring in a book they own and they get a coupon for each book they give you. Then put out all the books and the students can go shopping for a new book. This is great to do before summer break. Students can also use the books as gifts before the holidays.
- May is also a good time for doing something on the theme Learning for Life.
- Have a craft project where students make a bag to take books home to read for the summer (and they have a place to store them to take back in the fall).
- Contact the public library about their summer reading program to see what they have planned, and promote that.
- Read around the school (RATS) take selfies around the school with a favorite book.
- Do something for International Dot Day (http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/).
- Have students make a game for a cardboard arcade as part of the Cardboard Challenge (http://cardboardchallenge.com/).
- Columbus Day—go exploring for your lost book.
- Read away a fine. 15 minutes for $1.
- Decorate oranges or pumpkins for Halloween as book characters.
- Make fleece blankets in the library for a shelter.