HMS Library Quarterly Report

August-October 2012

Life in the library...

Most days, the library at HMS is a busy place. From students in the library before school to work on homework, to students here to check out books, to students who come to take RC tests, there is usually quite a bit of activity happening here. However, I understand it is easy to not really know what happens on a day-to-day basis. Hopefully this update will give you a glimpse into life in the library.

Students read...

It is clear there is a priority placed on reading at Hesston Middle School. That's fantastic! The chart below illustrates the total number of books checked out this quarter, as well as in specific categories, along with a comparison of those same categories last year at this time.
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Clearly, more books have been checked out this year than last year during this same time period. As in the past, there are several factors that contribute to high check out numbers. The 7th and 8th graders come to the library each Thursday during their language arts periods to check out books. Also, 6th graders are required to read five books and successfully pass Reading Counts (RC) quizzes about those books. New this year, though, is that 5th graders are also required to read five books and successfully pass RC quizzes about those books.

Another observation from the chart is that there is a definite emphasis on fiction over nonfiction reading at HMS. I believe one reason for this might be because there are not as many nonfiction books that have RC quizzes written for them. However, more nonfiction books in our collection have RC quizzes than what are marked on the books. We are working to update the section so that as students browse they can plainly see the books that have RC quizzes available.

To aid students in finding good books to read, 49 new fiction and nonfiction books were purchased this quarter. Some of the titles are pictured below.

Teachers Collaborate...

This past quarter, I worked with Staci Hansen and her fifth grade computer students on an assignment related to Destiny, the library's online circulation system. Almost all students have used Destiny at the elementary school, but in order to help students become self-sufficient in the library it is good to have a refresher. I visited Staci's class a couple different days to give a presentation to the students about Destiny and then to help them complete an assignment about it.

I am always on the look out for ways I can collaborate with other teachers, whether it is assisting them as they help their students with print and online resources in the library or helping them find ways to use technology as a process in or product of learning.

Book Fair...

A major event in the library every fall is the Scholastic Book Fair during Parent/Teacher Conferences. This year, Anne Dare, library aide, took care of the planning, organization, and running of the book fair. On top of her regular duties, to prepare for and run the bookfair she:

  • rearranged the library to make the space work,
  • put up signs and created information for the marquee and newspaper,
  • worked with the PTO treasurer regarding funds and with the PTO to coordinate volunteers,
  • set up the fair itself,
  • managed students using the library while also helping students buy books before and after school,
  • worked as cashier during conferences for parents and students buying books,
  • and reconciled money over the weekend.

This year, sales totaled $1529.45 which is slightly less than last year. Total sales have been declining the past three years. We earn 40% of total sales, or $611.78 this year. $207.27 has already been used to purchase books for the library, as well as to buy items for a give-away bag and for thank-you gifts for students who helped pack up the bookfair.

As Anne and I have talked, we would like to look at both if and when the middle school continues to have a book fair. Especially considering how successful the elementary school book fair is, having the library staff run the book fair during parent/teacher conferences feels like a lot of work for not a lot of pay off in the end. This is a conversation we would like to continue.

What's Next?

There are several projects I would like to work on in the library over the next months as well as a few ideas I have to continue the encouragement of reading. Some of these include...

  • As previously stated, we are working on adding Lexile and RC stickers to nonfiction books to more accurately reflect quizzes that are available.
  • At some point, I need to begin a massive weeding project in both the fiction and nonfiction sections. This needs to be done for several reasons. First, I am literally running out of room on the shelves. Getting rid of old and outdated books will help to make space for new, current books. Also, having so many books on the shelves creates the false impression that the collection is updated and current. Even though there will be fewer books, circulation numbers may actually continue to go up when students can more easily see the books they are interested in reading.
  • I would like to make a priority on making the library's online presence more relevant and user-friendly. I envision the library's online site a place students can go to find good books to read and to use resources that will help them with homework and other assignments.
  • I would like to see a school-wide reading event happen. It could be related to one particular book, or books by a particular author if we can bring that author to HMS.
  • I am also interested in creating a lunch book club at the MS. I am still working out the details of what that would look like, but I think it would create another opportunity for students to talk about books they like reading.

It is obvious the library at HMS has a good foundation in terms of how resources are used. I am looking forward to continue to work towards making it even more relevant and part of the day-to-day lives of students and staff here.

Rachel Yoder

HMS Library Media Specialist