It Feels Like Fall!

It feels like fall in the library, with kindergarten and first grade enjoying these three wonderful picture books about autumn leaves.

The students held nylon leaves in their hands and then raised them up whenever they saw their leaf featured on a page. Then we threw them into the sky like leaves falling.

Hooray for autumn!

Banned Book Week

It’s Banned Book Week, and that means I am celebrating everyone’s freedom to read! I am OQS’s “Most Wanted” for distributing nationally challenged and banned materials to students and staff (aka books) and I’m educating the kids using Spiral on why it’s important to have access to all kinds of information and literature.  We’ve had some pretty awesome discussions.  I can’t wait for you to see all the fun we’re having when you come to the library for Open House!


Banned Book Week: Just The Facts

Libraries across the country are celebrating students’ freedom to read by sharing Banned Book Week, a week of reminding the world that banning and censoring books silences stories, and all stories deserve to be heard.

Here are some interesting facts from the American Library Association.  I’m going to be sharing some of this information with students this week, in coordination with beginning to read Alan Gratz’s Ban This Book with fourth and fifth grade.  They love it so far!

There are over 10,000 instances of books being challenged every year!  It’s up to individual families to determine what is appropriate for them, and not what is appropriate for others.  Spread the word that we all have the freedom to read, and deserve the intellectual freedom to be able to find the information we seek.  Look forward to more information soon, or visit the American Library Association page to learn more.

World’s Largest Lesson

STEAM begins this week and we can’t wait to share some really big ideas with the students based on the United Nation’s Global Goals, which will be the umbrella under which we work this entire year! We will be teaching kids about the World’s Largest Lesson, inequality, and about being global citizens this week.

This week we will be doing a pasta challenge that highlights inequality, and will make students understand how it feels to have less than someone else by no fault of their own.  Students will be challenged to empathize and consider how it feels to suffer from inequality of resources, and contemplate what we can all do about it.

Image result for global goals icons

Ask your student what he or she learned about the Global Goals this week! I’d love to hear what they have to say!

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!