School Library Month always invokes a sense of nostalgia for me as I reflect on my school’s library programming and the experiences I had as a child. I have fond memories of visiting my elementary school library and searching the shelves for Nancy Drew, the Baby-Sitters Club, Fear Street, and everything by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. The school library was a place of wonder and discovery, where I always felt welcome. Now that I am a school librarian, I hope my students feel the same way about our library.
In last month’s #AASLchat, school librarians shared ways they were planning to celebrate School Library Month. View the curated Tweets at https://wke.lt/w/s/Gdcj1D. AASL has also created a Wakelet of resources at https://wke.lt/w/s/2x88g1. In this resource board you can find quotes from authors and librarians, advocacy links, and ideas to help your celebration. I also encourage you to check out AASL’s School Library Month page at http://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy/slm to download celebration graphics, as well as proclamation templates to request that your governor, board, and elected officials proclaim April School Library Month.
At my school, Live Oak Middle, we kicked off School Library Month with a visit from Dr. Cade Brumley, our Louisiana State Superintendent of Schools, along with our district superintendent of schools, school board representative, and members of our Louisiana House of Representatives. It was a joy to share that modern school librarians do more than just check out books, but that we also collaborate with teachers, incorporate STEM and coding literacy skills, host author visits, and more. During this visit, I was able to discuss with Dr. Brumley my concern that our state’s superintendents and administrators need training on how to effectively utilize their school librarians, and that many of our state’s school librarians are bogged down with technology inventory and trouble-shooting for the entire school, 504 meetings, and state testing, which does not allow them to flourish in the job for which they were hired. It was the first of what I hope will be many conversations. I will also be speaking at our monthly school board meeting April 22 and look forward to sharing the importance of school libraries with the board and community members.
Our school’s celebration of School Library Month will include posts on social media regarding the history of the celebration, quotes by influential school librarians, and highlights from our school library programming. The students will be creating a display of their favorite library programs, books, and library experiences, and they will also have an opportunity to share what they love about school libraries in a Flipgrid board. School Library Month is the perfect time to showcase the importance of school libraries to your community. I’ve curated a wealth of resources on my website that includes infographics, videos, and studies. Check it out at Library Advocacy (lomlibrary.org).
Need some ideas to help plan your celebration? Martha Bongiorno, Blake Hooper, and I discuss our favorite ways to celebrate School Library Month and also showcase celebrations across the US at https://bit.ly/celebrateSLM, and we have created a Wakelet of resources at https://wke.lt/w/s/fclWiX. You can also join the AASL School Library Promotion Committee on the last Monday of each month for our monthly Twitter chat on ways to celebrate your school library throughout the year. April is a time to celebrate school libraries, school librarians, and the joy of reading. How are you reflecting and celebrating?
Author: Amanda Jones
Amanda is the 2021 School Library Journal Co-Librarian of the Year, a 2021 Library Journal Mover and Shaker, the 2020 Louisiana School Librarian of the Year, and a 21 year educator from Watson, LA. She’s a teacher-librarian and certified reading specialist at a 5-6 grade middle school. She is Vice President of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians and is the 2019 AASL Social Media Superstar Program Pioneer. Amanda is an active member of several committees for AASL and is on the Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Awards Committee. Visit her library website at lomlibrary.org and/or find out more about her at http://librarianjones.com/.