Library & After School Clubs

By ASA, General, Reading and Writing, School Libraries No Comments

Library and enrichment programs or after school activities are becoming very popular in both local and international schools. There is merit in our role in inspiring our students who can find refuge, respect, and freedom in the choices that they make — a safe environment to explore their world.

Librarians can offer all kinds of workshops for all ages. It can be ideas from the Maker Trends, ranging from knitting to crochet, creating logos and websites, using 3D printers to replicate to make prototypes that are useful. They can learn digital art, paints, color, and design in the learning space of the Library. Librarians can either mentor the workshops or offer the venue for all these activities.

Librarians can offer – Reading Clubs that allow students to look deeper into the craft of writing, analyze and understand the genre by pointing out different writing crafts that make that book a particular style.

Writing Clubs, where students write their narratives and librarians can support by hosting their stories online or in print. As librarians,  we need to provide a space of free expressions where students can write about every and any topic without being judgemental. In a world where students are influenced by biases based on gender, class, caste, race and economic differences, the library can be a venue where students can assert their voice and feel acknowledged.

Picture Book Clubs bring about lots of interest to little as well as older children. In the picture book clubs, one can read different picture books, keeping the focus on genres; writers can collaborate with artists to create their picture books. Explore folklore from around the world. Or even look at different artwork in the picture books and learn about them.

Wellness Clubs can be in many formats. It can include poetry, dance, simple mindfulness techniques blended with picture books or writing.

Creating eBooks, Graphic novels, Calligraphy, Photostories, Photojournalism, Spoken Poetry are some of the clubs that can be a part of the library engagements.

Should you think of other engagements you have conducted in your school, please add them to the comment section, it will help inspire me.

Reading Logs and DEAR

By Book Talk, General, Literacy, Readaloud, Reading and Writing, Reading Program, School Libraries No Comments

What is a Reading Log?

Are they useful? Do you think reading logs can help readers be accountable for what they are reading and how much they are reading?

Adding time and page numbers to the reading log – Will that accurately tell how much students are reading, why they are reading and what they have accomplished from their reading? Do we as adults follow it?

Reading logs are now being replaced by reading responses, that is nudging students to be analytical thinkers by carefully analyzing the structure and word choice of text while reading. An interesting article Goodbye Reading logs from Scholastic shows you how you can help build readers during your library classes with your students.

What is Dear?

DEAR – Drop everything and read is another opportunity provided for students to stop and read. Language class teachers often use this strategy to support learning in class. Librarians can also use DEAR for 10 minutes of their class and have students read with meaning, you may use graphic organizers to compare settings, characters or even the genre of the books or magazine that they are reading.

Other reading responses could be:

  1. Analyze the character in the book with someone you know or compare the character with your sibling?
  2. What is the author’s purpose, and how do you know that?
  3. If it’s a nonfiction book – compare and contrast.
  4. What are the facts and opinions in the passages, and explain them with pieces of evidence?
  5. What are the problems that you infer in the passage/story? What makes you say so?
  6. Identify the character’s point of view? Compare them with your views. (You can use emotions too)
  7. What current events come to your mind, while you are reading this passage?
  8. What connections can you make with history or modern-day technology?
  9. What inferences can you make about the passages you are reading?
  10. Identify some of the sensory words and create a poem with those words?
  11. Write five words or phrases that might summarize what you have read.
  12. Explain your reading with a metaphor or a meme.

Of course, teacher librarians will need to model the responses and demonstrate with an example so that students too can closely read with deeper comprehension.

Reading Aloud Stories Beyond Folklore 2

By Book Talk, General, Librarian's Role, School Libraries No Comments

Read aloud stories beyond folklore: there are plenty of stories beyond folklore being published in India. It is time to look at the originality and the creativity of these stories. I love the uniqueness of the recent stories that are being published, they have a profound purpose and goes beyond the folklore.  In today’s post, we will look at picture book stories about Urban India. These picture books can be used to talk about India: Where we are in place and time OR Who we are? OR Comparing city or village life or urban and rural life.

Fakruddin’s Fridge by Meenu Thomas and Tanvi Bhat is about little Fakruddin worrying about everything and asking endless questions. One day, when his fridge stops working, Fakru is frantic! How will he survive a hot summer without cold water? Ammi says: “Think of a way out yourself,”  A light-hearted story with cheerful watercolor illustrations which bring alive the ambiance of Fakru’s neighborhood in Bhopal city.

For Ju, old is gold. Her mother brings her hand-me-downs from the homes in which she works and Ju welcomes them like new friends. Ju graciously receives well-used textbooks and the treasures sometimes hidden among their pages: pressed flowers, poems, even a dead butterfly. One day Ju finds a sealed envelope in the maths book. It has a stamp but no address. Ju’s Story is part of ‘Different Tales,’ a project by Anveshi Research Centre  Paul Zacharia, sensitively shares this moving story, with Asma Menon’s strong, painterly illustrations suggesting a sense of empowerment. Slums are a part of every city life and cannot be ignored.

Princess Easy Pleasy by Natasha Sharma and Priya Kuriyan

Princess Easy Pleasy is all but easy to please. She drives the royal packer up the wall with her quirks that are as seasonal as her royal vacations. Where does it all stop? This rollicking picture book written by Natasha Sharma and illustrated by Priya Kuriyan guarantees many laughs and gives you a glimpse of another aspect of an urban lifestyle.

Papa’s Marathon by Nalini Sorensen and paired with Prashant Soni’s illustrations is a lighthearted story is about fitness goals that go awry and the unflagging faith of family. A cheerful story, about Gia’s Papa who has signed up for the marathon. And he buys clothes and fancy gadgets to match his new hobby. A story about Gia and her grandmother who become his biggest cheerleader. Another glimpse into some of the urban lifestyle’s in India.

Enjoy these stories and should you have others to share, please add them to the list. Most of these stories books can be found with Peacock Feathers.

Reading Aloud Stories with Purpose -1

By Librarian's Role, PYP Profiles, Readaloud, Reading and Writing, School Libraries One Comment

The education landscape is changing and so is reading aloud stories to children. I remember reading Night Monster by Sushree Mishra, illustrated by Sanket Pethkar; Published by Karadi Tales, 2015. It is a story about feeling scared and overcoming the fear of the night which is the general outcome of the story (comprehension) but as a librarian, it’s important to look at other aspects of a picture book. 1. You can nudge students to look at other forms of expressions like notes, and letters to convey meaning. 2. At an international school, you can use the learner attitude of empathy. 3. You can explain the ATL skills of Communication or Thinking; creatively and problem-solving strategies used by the sister to help her little brother. Asking students, what are the different ways they have problem-solved in their lives using different approaches. 4. Describe Jarul Book Award and how this award empowers children to make an impact and that students have a voice in deciding the winner of the prize. 5. You could also analyze the style of drawing, asking why the illustrator might have chosen to use shades of blue and black; ask what medium has he used to draw his picture, how long must he have taken, and why did he choose different sizes of his objects while relating the story? Sanket Pethkar is a full-time illustrator and as a teacher-librarian, you can discuss his passion for art and how this could be a profession for some. It’s time to go beyond simply the understanding or comprehension of the story.

Another story I read aloud was the Cycle’s Dream by Prabhat(Author), Vidyut Roy (Illustrator) by Elavya (2013). This story was read to many age groups, the teacher nudged the children to think about the environment, the impact of oil on the world, the futuristic world and how it would look. This was followed by an engagement, where students were prompted to create a world in the future, they could either draw or write about their future world. It could be a fantasy or a futuristic science fiction. Again, a teaching moment for a teacher-librarian, when children could learn about different genres and how fantasy differs from science fiction.

Some of the students wanted to discuss the publication of this book and how it was made, students researched and wondered how long it took for the publisher to make this book since it was created in a special format made from recycled paper. Many publishers are willing and often respond to student questions should they intend to pursue their inquiry.

It’s so important to go beyond the comprehension level of the story. We all agree that children do understand stories, our job as teacher librarians are to look at picture books with a different lens and nudge them to think creatively and critically.

Weeding Books

By Collection Development, Librarian's Role, School Libraries No Comments
Weeding Books

Books by Toby Hudson, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Weeding books – What’s that? What does that mean and why is it important and how much to weed are questions every librarian struggles with. According to Jeanette Larson, who has over thirty years of experience in various libraries says that “Weeding is the systematic removal of resources from a library based on selected criteria. It is the opposite of selecting material, though the selection and de-selection of material often involve the same thought process. Weeding is a vital process for an active collection because it ensures the collection stays current, relevant, and in good condition. Weeding should be done on a continuous, on-going basis.“.

If we accept her claim, it becomes necessary for librarians to review their collection regularly. The most popular acronym used in weeding is:

MUSTIE the crew method
M = If books have misleading and/or factually inaccurate information
U = Ugly, yellow, faded and cannot be mended
S = Superseded, that means there is a better and new version of the book
T = Trivial and has no discernible literary or scientific merit
I = Irrelevant to the needs and interests of your community
E = The material or information that can be obtained through other means electronic format or library loads.

However, there are books weeded based on time.  It is often said, that if the books are not circulated in three or five years, it is time to find a new home for the resources. However, classics, award-winning book, books about local history and geography, stories by local writers, books gifted or local literature are often maintained until they become MUSTIE.

Encyclopediae are always a question for Librarians. There is a lot of money invested in it, so it becomes very painful to get rid of them. In this age of the internet, I believe, that print encyclopedia does not play a vital role in the Library and if fact, it could easily be replaced by the internet and a computer since both costs almost the same. And, it is believed that if the encyclopedia is over ten years old, it’s information becomes irrelevant.

Different subjects areas have different shelf lives. Resources under subject areas like technology, medicine, media, agriculture, careers, and sciences like biology, engineering often are regularly updated. Therefore, copyright of these books beyond 3-5 years must be checked and weeded. While the arts, history, geography, children’s literature, biographies could be targetted to 10 years. However, if they look shoddy and pale, you may want to weed that too.

I think the hardest job for librarians is to weed the collection especially our favorite subject areas and other favorite books. However, for the library collection to stay relevant and fresh, it is necessary to set some time during the year to weed out the resources. Yes, every year, it is time to say goodbye to some of the resources.

And, then the question arises, how much to weed? I would say weed according to the criteria, even if it means to have fewer books in your library. Stacking books on our shelves in your library does not make the library relevant and useful. If no one is using the resources, why keep them? Isn’t the library supposed to be a learning place for our users? No educational institutes should have a bookkeeper and a library of irrelevant resources!

Electronic resources that are not relevant must be weeded out too.  I can almost hear some librarians say, OMG, we’ve spent so much time and money in procuring these resources – but as Ranganathan said – What use are the resources if they are not in the hands of the users?