Each homeroom at Meriwether Lewis has a scheduled weekly library class. Our time together is balanced to include whole group instruction (such as story sharing, research projects, and technology instruction) and Choice Time. During Choice Time, students choose books to checkout and then explore the many different options within the library. Some of these choices include: reading, writing, playing games, using technology or “making” in one of the makerspaces. Students are encouraged to check out at each library visit, and return their book(s) for a fresh one when ready, even if that's not their usual 'library day'. I strive to maintain open access to the library, at all times, so students may visit as frequently as needed.
Kindergarten and First Grade start the year borrowing one book at a time. They are encouraged to return that books as soon as they are ready for a new one. Teachers provide time throughout the day for students to visit the library individually or in a small group to exchange books as needed.
For older students, I try to gauge check out amount by usage and need rather than by grade. We'll start the year with one or two books per visit and increase those numbers based on demonstrated responsibility and individual need. As students move up through the grades, they often require multiple resources; informational books for research and projects, as well as self-selected topics for personal reading.
The standard loan period for books in our library is one week. Books may be returned to the library and renewed for one additional week. This policy keeps our materials circulating and available for those who are next in line. Many times, if a child needs to keep a book longer than two weeks to finish reading it, that's a cue for me to work with the classroom teacher to help this student select a 'better fit' choice, (or to work with the student to find something so interesting it's worthy of flashlight reading in bed at night!) Inevitably, book pages suffer accidental damage (they're made of paper, after all!) I teach my students to bring damaged books back to the library and I will make the repair. Unlike the clear cellophane tape we have at home, libraries have special book tape that resists yellowing and is longer-lasting.
We spend a good deal of time at the beginning of the school year learning how to be responsible for items we borrow from the library. I encourage students to prevent loss and damage by keeping library books in a designated “safe place”. Here's the good news: very few library books actually 'poof!' disappear-- most are hiding in plain sight at home (under the bed, mixed in with personal books on the bookshelf, forgotten in an old backpack, left at the babysitter's house, etc.) Some do get returned to a JMRL library. They send them to me periodically throughout the year. So lost books aren’t of any immediate concern. At the end of each school year, students are asked to replace any books that are actually lost.
For damage caused by liquid (bathwater, rain, a leaky juicebox in the backpack, etc.), most books need to be discarded. The pages wrinkle as they dry and unhealthy mildew grows on the paper. Please contact me (or I'll contact you) to make arrangements for sending in the replacement cost of a soggy/damaged book (usually $20.00 or less).
Do we ever! If you have time to volunteer, the library is a great place to be active in our school community. I can always use extra hands to help with shelving books, assisting students with checkouts, processing new books or supervising crafts and Maker projects. If you prefer to work with students, I know of nearly 120 kids who would love to share a book with you :-)
You need not commit to the same block of time each week-- we can flex with your schedule. Please contact me to discuss volunteer opportunities in the library.
Ahhhhh... book fair-- how we love it! Book fair is generally held during the last week of February or 1st week in March. Students will preview the fair and shop during the school day. Parents and family members can visit during the day or during our special evening event. We hope to see you during book fair!