What Is A Library?

I made a poster compiling all the grades’ answers to the question–What is a library? Some of the answers were so profound and wonderful; I was so proud to work with these intelligent and insightful kids!  Here are their answers:

A place….

  • for learning!
  • to be creative
  • to engineer
  • to build community
  • to play
  • to “drown yourself in books”
  • to learn things you didn’t know
  • where you’re free to learn with no judgment
  • that grows with you!
  • to be yourself
  • where everyone is welcome
  • to imagine
  • for projects
  • to create
  • to write
  • for research
  • to collaborate
  • with a green screen
  • to check out books
  • to read fiction–so many genres!
  • to read aloud
  • to let your imagination free
  • access 24/7
  • to socialize
  • for quiet
  • to recommend books
  • to learn facts
  • with freedom
  • to be zen
  • to sit and read
  • to use and explore technology
  • to play games
  • with Legos
  • for STEAM
  • to browse
  • to recycle
  • to have fun!
  • with wonder
  • to read stories of kids like me and who are different from me
  • to search
  • to relax
  • to use computers
  • to solve problems

I had no idea that kids thought so highly of this space, and viewed it with such versatility!  I am so proud of what the OQS library means to these kids!

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Diversity In Children’s Books

At OQS, we believe it is of the utmost importance for our children to read books about people of all walks of life, including different races, beliefs, gender, and experiences. Did you know that people of color accounted for just 22 percent of children’s books characters in 2016, or that people of color only wrote 6% of new books of children’s books published?  How can our students learn about all the diverse beauty the world has to offer while only reading stories that reflect their own experience?
NPR and The Open Book both reported on these trends last year, with two great articles worth reading and reflecting on. How many books in your personal library have main characters that look different from your family?
I’m doing my best to make sure that all stories are heard here in the OQS library, and I love my new display of books I purchased for this school year!  I can’t wait to get these books into the hands of students.

A Place Where We Are Free To Learn

Last week kicked off a new year in the Ottauquechee School Library, and I was so thrilled to see all the kids and hear their excitement about being back in the library!  To begin the year we will be working under the essential questions of What is a library? and To whom does the library belong?  Hearing the range of answers when we discussed what a library is and its many functions warmed my heart.  Some of my favorites were “a place to let your imagination run free,” and “a place where we are free to learn with no judgment.”  I also heard “a place with wonder” and “a place where you can be yourself.”  Well, this librarian was so proud she could have burst.

I also wanted the kids to realize that the library belongs to everyone in the OQS community, including parents, staff, teachers, and students.  They seem to think that library space belongs to just ME, but to go along with the idea that the library is more than just a place to house books, it’s important they know that the resources there are for them, and are available whenever they need them. So I’m making a banner that will remind the kids that the library belongs to everyone at OQS, and I want everyone in the school to sign it!

With such a wonderful start to our library classes, and the fact that several fifth graders came after school Friday to beg for books over the long weekend even though I told them I wasn’t quite ready to check out books yet, I feel like the kids know the OQS library is a special place, and that we are all excited to be back!

Walking Field Trip to QPL

I spent this whole week outside, walking my classes to the Quechee Public Library to introduce them to the staff, get a tour, get their very own library cards and learn about the summer reading program!  Hearing little exclamations of “Awesome!” and “Cool!” as we toured the library, excited murmurings about titles and programming, and handing students their very first library card was an absolute joy for me!


Awesome summer reading programs at the Quechee Library begin June 19th at 4 pm and continue all summer long every Tuesday.  Bring your families! I’ll see you there!

Wild GooseChases!

I was introduced to the online scavenger hunt platform GooseChase last week after presenting at the Dynamic Landscapes conference in Burlington.  This app makes it easy to create fun, dynamic scavenger hunts where the seekers can type, take a photo or video evidence of their solutions.  Both indoor and outdoor, academic and nature-based, the students had a really fun time competing against each other and demonstrating their teamwork! I can think of so many applications of this to the grade levels, and look forward to sharing GooseChase with teachers next year!

Students Believe….

3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students had a LOT of ideas about why it’s important for all of us to be responsible digital citizens, and not believe every piece of information we come across.  After learning about fake news and digital literacy for three weeks, we compiled a big Google Doc and these are some of their strongest reasons why!

Bravo, digital detectives!