When I was a senior in high school, I had the privilege of working in our school library. Since my school librarian was awesome, I was able to skip a lot of the work that normal teacher’s aids had to do and was able to instead immerse myself into stacks of books and read for an hour each day. Pretty sweet deal, am I right?
Ever since that time, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with libraries. I love the feeling of walking in and not knowing what book (or books) I’ll come out with. I love letting my eyes peer out onto numerous shelves holding (literally) hundreds of books that are just waiting to be read by me. I love all of the book-obsessed people that I’ve met while in a library. Basically I just love books, and this is a love that I want to instill into my students.
What do I want to do in order to instill that love, you may ask? I want to have a classroom library.
I can see the alarm on the face of my mother (who knows how much money I can spend on books) and all those before me. “NO,” they’re thinking. “We cannot let her loose to buy books for a library. She’ll be broke!” These comments, albeit harsh, are certainly true. I am a shameless book buyer. So where’s a girl like me to start on her adventure of creating a truly awesome, student-friendly classroom library? Another question would be why should I have a classroom library? Is it really necessary?
In my opinion, a classroom library is absolutely necessary. I want my students to be able to have numerous options to pick from. I want to have so many books that kids from other classes are willing to come in and check it out. I want my students to never have an excuse to not read. The problem is figuring out where to start. This week, we read a blog post by Sarah Andersen titled “Creating and Managing a Classroom Library.” This post is inspiring and beyond helpful. The fact that she started out with just 35 books and grew her library is enough for me to know that I can do it, too. The blog discussed ways of management and budgeting, which will both be incredibly helpful. After reading, I went and counted up what books I have already, and am starting to plan. You can bet that I’m hitting up Goodwill and garage sales all summer to search for books!
Now to answer the question of why. Why have a classroom library? Of course there will be a school library, but is that honestly enough? Could there be harm done in giving the students more choices? Absolutely not. I believe that having a classroom library is incredibly important and can help students become better readers. I really enjoyed Andersen’s blog post “Is ‘Getting Along Fine’ Good Enough?” This post showed exactly why adequate is never the best. If we want our students to excel, we must give them every opportunity possible to get there and show them that we care as well. Andersen shared responses to a poll she took on this blog, and the results are incredible. Out of 58 students, 52 said that they borrow books from their classroom library. 52 students. Look at how many students that library alone is reaching! Those students are ones that might not have looked elsewhere. This number alone shows how influential a classroom library can be.
Another answer to the question of “why” would be that a classroom library helps a teacher build a relationship with her students. By incorporating a library into our classroom, we are able to reach more kids and form relationships with them while doing so. I can’t wait to talk about books daily with students and help them pick out the perfect one for them. After all, according to Book Love, the relationship is the most important part of teaching. What better way to accomplish this relationship than to talk about something that you have common ground on and hopefully a love for?
So yes, I will be saving my money for a classroom library. In fact, the plan is to “start reading and begging and spending money” as Book Love explains it. It may take me awhile to get there, but once I do, I know that it’ll be worth it for my students in the end, and that’s all that matters.