I first came to know the Hate Has No Home Here organization when I was in library school. The library goddess (as she is affectionally known around these parts) had a few posters in a stack. I couldn't grab one fast enough. My school was just beginning to receive refugees. While we are a high immigration community, the refugees were not of cultures to which we were accustomed. I loved showing that the library is a place without hate, and the sign was pretty.
The sign was up in the window for two years before I decided it was time to take it one step further. The library purchased a 1 inch button maker, printed off sheets of graphics from the No Hate website, and invited almost every student we saw for two weeks to make buttons. They did! Then, they came back and made more. We saw the buttons popping up at other schools in our district. Our kids were passing them on to family and friends!
I saw the movement spread. Pride in who they are and consideration for how others were treated made for a student body I am incredibly proud of. A safe space and a tiny button helped them put into words something that was important to them.
As kids tend to do, one kid was too rough with our button maker, and I had to remove it to see if my husband could fix it. Students were incredibly bummed when the button maker wasn't available any more. They asked on a daily basis if my husband was able to fix it. (Spoiler alert: he was after a couple of weeks and new parts!) However, we decided that we shouldn't leave it unattended by a library worker anymore.
Please check out Hate Has No Home Here. They're a wonderful organization, and all of their graphics are freely available for printing.
Oh, back to school season!
It's a great jolt to the school library's summer laziness when all the students return and suddenly circulation is back in full swing. I love it! Everything is at its best.
Students are polite and kind.
Teachers are polite and kind.
LIBRARIANS are polite and kind.
Enthusiasm peeks around every corner. No one cares if you have a box of books that hasn't arrived yet or if the library shelves aren't just so. We're all on our best summer sun-kissed behavior.
This year marks a lot of "let's try it" initiatives for me and my school library. The first to demonstrate immediate positive results is introducing book walks/book passes/book speed dating.
No matter how you organize your book pass, don't lose sight of your purpose for doing it: to introduce students to a host of books they might read and to encourage conversations between and among students about books. (Miller, p.113)
What a great opportunity to have nearly every student in the school come through the library right away! Teachers were on board to try a book pass instead of the "regular" checkout experience of turning the children completely lose like a pack of feral wolves and hoping they made good choices. The library was excited to establish the library's three expectations - effort, listen, and no put downs - and get some new and old books in front of so many faces.
You know the scene: tables of carefully curated books. Ours were separated by interest and tailored to the teacher bringing students in and their purpose. Fortunately, our teachers are great at planning in advance so we were able to switch books on a period to period basis with our fully loaded waiting book carts.
Students saw books they may never have seen otherwise, tried new things, and honed their personal reading tastes. They also saw a library staffed with people who care and listen to them. They saw adults working together to support their success.
Was it perfect? No. In fact, we had a student loudly proclaim that he hates reading choose to fill out his log rating all books a 0, with no interest, no appropriate vocabulary, no stamina, and no fluency. But, he DID fill out the entire log, so he put his hands on many more books than the students actually studying each book to answer all of the questions. We're counting it a small victory. The log we had students use was from
Then, the book pass experience lead to other experiences: MLA citations, how to use our databases, showing classes how to renew their own books on their iPads, and planning ahead for Banned Books Week activities to span the classroom/library divide.
All in all: the book pass activity was a great way to begin our year. Will we repeat it on a regular basis? Probably not - but I do have an idea brewing for before Christmas break that looks a lot like a White Elephant gift exchange.
So what's the book I quoted above? It's called "Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids" by Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp. It got my library fire roaring. I'll wind up sharing a lot from it this year, and I encourage you to grab a copy. I got mine from Amazon. It's all highlighted and written in because that's how I respond to learning. I hope you love it too!