Advocate with Food: 5 Reasons I Host Bagels & Books

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Each year I purchase great new titles to add to our library. Many of these books connect to classroom curriculum and support a variety of reading levels. After spending countless hours making these decisions, I noticed they were not being read as often as they should be. Teachers, due to their busy schedules, were increasingly choosing only the books that they had used before. Please know that there is nothing wrong with reading a book year after year–even I have my favorites! There are, however, many new titles that may be a better fit or have a wider world view. To solve this problem, I started hosting Bagels and Books once a month to share some new selections.

Bagels and Books is held for ten minutes before school starts. The goal is to highlight three to four newish titles that relate to the chosen topic for the month. I share a quick book talk and possible curriculum connections. When I started this I did not realize how food would lead to advocacy. Here are five ways this has helped move the library program forward:

Collaboration:

This is an obvious reason, but collaboration is at the heart of what we do as librarians. Teachers are able to see where these selections can fit in their curriculum. Additionally, they recognize other opportunities for the classroom and library curriculum to merge. Many of the lesson ideas have been used in the classroom. More teachers are seeking out new titles that represent their units as well as the populations in their classrooms.

Communication:

This program allows me to share, without feeling like I am constantly sending an email or taking up teacher planning time. It also keeps the opportunity to learn available to all. Often when I would get a new book I show just a handful of teachers because they like to see and explore new titles. I did not always do a good job sharing with all my colleagues. This in turn had a negative effect on the students in their classrooms. A program like this keeps the option of learning available to everyone.

Budget Management:

This is a benefit that I had not thought about, but has had an impact. I am fortunate to have a large budget; however, each year there is concern about how this budget is being used. I have an itemized spreadsheet that I share with administration. What I did not realize was that my colleagues did not really understand how books were selected. No one ever openly questioned my purchases, but what this program has allowed is for them to see that many of the titles I buy have a direct connection to what they teach.

Love for Reading:

In the past few years there has been a shift in understanding that the library is more than just books. Teachers now recognize the importance of teaching the research process and how I can be a part of that. What we cannot forget about is fostering a love of reading. By sharing new books, the teachers are more likely read them to their students, which is truly the goal.

Great Way to Start the Day:

After this event it is always a great day. I have had many people say that they feel like we should start everyday reading and eating! That, for no other reason, makes this program beneficial.

A Few Management Tips:

  • A week before I send an email that includes a graphic to encourage people to attend. I make the graphic using Canva and use images that are free for commercial use from Morguefile. Here is an example:

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  • In this email I include the topic and titles I plan to share. The books are then linked to Goodreads so that teachers can decide if they might be of interest. I resend this email the day before the event as a reminder.
  • The books can be checked out at the end of the presentation. If there is more than one person who wants a given book, we draw names and create a list. They seem to share pretty well!

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  • Of course there is food too!

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Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Collection Development, Professional Development

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