HMS Library Quarterly Report

August - October 2014

Students read...

The chart below illustrates book circulations this quarter as they compare to first quarter last year. Interestingly, circulations were lower this quarter than they have been at any time in the past year, and significantly lower than during first quarter last year. There are a lot of variables that could contribute to the change, not the least of which is that every Language Arts teacher at the middle school is new this year and has different expectations for what and how much students read. At this point, I'm not too concerned about the decrease in circulation, as I also know sometimes the numbers could be inflated when students check out books and immediately turn them in again without reading them first. As we move through the rest of the year, though, I will pay attention to how many books are being checked out to make sure students continue to focus on reading.
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To continue towards my goal of matching the right book to the right reader at the right time, I purchased 26 books to add to the collection. Some of the titles are pictured below.

Teachers collaborate...

I am fortunate that each English Language Arts teacher brings her students to the library each week. I see the 5th and 6th grade ELA classes on Tuesdays and the 7th and 8th grade classes on Thursdays. In "library land," that is called a "fixed" schedule, and although there are advantages and disadvantages to that kind of a routine, a big plus is that there is built in time for me to collaborate and co-teach with teachers.

At the beginning of the year, I reviewed Destiny, our online catalog system, with each grade to remind them of important features as they look for books to read at school. To encourage reading, I booktalked several books with each grade during the first quarter. We also did partner booktalks, where students had a chance to share with each other what they were reading. Each week, I touch base with the teachers to find out how what we do in the library can best support what they are doing with students in their classrooms.

Students participate...

To encourage student ownership of what happens in the library, I am always on the lookout for ways students can participate and be involved in activities. I did not start out the year with questions on the white board like I did last year, but after quite a few students asked about it, I decided to bring back the questions. So far this year I have kept the questions reading/book related, but there has still been quite a bit of participation!

Another way I encouraged student participation at the beginning of the year was by holding our first annual bookmark design competition. I invited interested students to submit an original design for a bookmark, focused on the themes of books, reading, Swather pride, the three pillars of HMS, and/or the RS theme of "Be the Good." There were over 30 submissions, and the office team of Mr. Proctor, Mrs. Toews, Mrs. Young, and Mrs. Graber picked the winners at each grade level. I sent the winning designs to Prestige Printing to have "real" bookmarks made. Now we have bookmarks designed by HMS students for others to use as they read.

Special events...

Again this year, we held the Scholastic Book Fair in August to coincide with the PTO Open House. Although it is a slightly more stressful way to begin the school year, changing the date seems to be working. We made more money at the fair this year than last, and have made more money both of the years we held the book fair in August than when we held it during parent teacher conferences in October. This year, our profits totaled over $1800, which enabled us to earn 40% in "Scholastic Dollars," or about $750. Having Scholastic Dollars means I can only purchase through the Scholastic catalog. I have used some of our Scholastic Dollars since then to replace books in our aging nonfiction collection. For future years, I would like to see us break the $2000 amount in sales, because that allows us to earn a larger percentage in Scholastic Dollars and gives me the option of taking some of the money in cash. I think with a little more effort at advertising, we can get to that point!

What's next?

I start to feel a little like a broken record, but my goals for myself and the library program at HMS really haven't changed much in the last year. I continue to work at finding ways to collaborate with teachers (both English Language Arts teachers as well as others!) within their curriculum, helping teach information literacy skills to students, sharing great books with students and teachers, and helping students connect with others around the country and world. I don't know if I'll ever feel like I've completely succeeded in meeting these goals, but they are what guides me in the things I do at HMS each day.