School Library Month is AASL’s annual celebration of school librarians and libraries. Every April school librarians are encouraged to host activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school librarians and libraries play in transforming learning. The celebration for 2018 was marked by the theme Making Connections at Your School Library, whether that was by making learner connections, educator connections, community connections, and/or global connections. Many school librarians and school library ambassadors added a Twibbon to their social media profile pictures in order to support this message and theme. Throughout April school librarians, ambassadors, and authors were showcased on social media for their dedication to school libraries. Also, through social media school librarians, ambassadors, and authors used the hashtags #AASLslm and #slm2018 to share the impact that school libraries have on the community.
While School Library Month has come to a close that does not mean that school librarians should stop advocating for school libraries. We should continue these advocacy efforts in our school libraries and in our school communities all year round. The activities calendar is available with ideas to be turned into school-wide experiences, month-long units of study, or monthly celebrations. Kick-off summer reading with book talks or a book drive. Have student volunteers help create a library showcase to share with the school community. Host a book club for teachers and students. As testing is upon us, provide a comfortable space for students to take a break with coloring, games, or makerspace activities. Invite the public library to share summer programs or the bookmobile. Organize summer reading buddies. Also, start planning for next year so when the school year starts you can draw excitement for what is to come. Plan to participate in a global read aloud, or arrange an author visit or a book fair. Also, continuously use social media and newsletters to keep the school community aware, engaged, invested, and involved. As school librarians, we should also continue to grow and learn. So please check out our archived webinars from school library professionals across the country.
The School Library Month Committee has some favorite moments from this year’s celebration:
When Shannon DeSantis sent out a special School Library Month newsletter to her faculty to kick off the month, she was elated to start a collaboration with Freshmen Earth Science, providing an hour research tutorial for their Space Research project. Shannon also had the amazing opportunity to visit China over spring break with a group of educators and students from her supervisory union. While there, she was in awe as she watched an elementary school student pull a Chinese translation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid off of the school library shelf! She also visited a school whose library was modeled after the movable staircases in Harry Potter and it was a phenomenal experience.
The highlight of Michelle Cooper’s School Library Month celebration centered around making connections. The White Oak Middle School Book Club hosted a Mystery Skype with librarian Lorraine Scaffidi’s class in New Jersey, and students shared their favorite books, geography, and landmarks that are unique to their respective areas.
Cynthia Alaniz’s favorite moment of School Library Month was EVERYTHING: working with other amazing librarians from all over the country on this fabulous committee, the PSA by author/spokesperson Jason Reynolds (as well as his amazing support!), and celebrating school libraries every day of the month!
During Jillian Ehlers’s School Library Month celebration her school library hosted the Greenlight Book Fair. Working with a local, independent bookstore to kick off summer reading was a blast. Students and teachers loved exploring new titles and setting reading goals. Students also participated in some book raffles that celebrated the work of the School Library Month spokesperson Jason Reynolds.
This year the School Library Month spokesperson was selected as a result of his tireless efforts to advocate for school librarians and libraries. “It’s impossible for me to talk about the importance of the school library without talking about the school librarian,” said Jason Reynolds. Jason’s Reynolds PSA should be continuously shared throughout the year as a message of hope for the future of school libraries. To thank Jason Reynolds for his dedication to being our spokesperson we created a Kudoboard which shares the many ways that Jason Reynolds has had an impact on the lives of librarians and students.
This year’s School Library Month celebration was wonderful! Thank you to all members of the community that continue to support this initiative year after year!
Author: Jillian Ehlers, School Library Month Chair