At last week’s Library Expo, I attended a session called Reaching Beyond Library Shelves, where three librarians from Plano ISD described things that they do that help expand the library program into the community.
Glenda Welch uses a program called Books of Hope. Books of Hope is a service-learning program where U.S. schools select a sister school abroad and create books to help meet the students’ educational needs. Each year her students write, write, illustrate and bind books about various topics, including science, math, geography, reading, grammar, etc. These books are kept in the library during the school year, then packed up in May and sent overseas to their sister school that has been assigned to them through Books of Hope. Glenda says students really enjoy making these books for students overseas. It fosters empathy and social responsibility in them and enhances literacy for the students in their sister school.
A program for students in need closer to home is provided by Jayme Karen. Jayme’s school population does not have a lot of books at home, so she started the Book Bazaar. The Book Bazaar is a community book drive to provide free books for students to read during the summer months when they are not in school. Jayme’s goal is for each child to receive at least one book from the Book Bazaar. She solicits donations from the families and the community at large. She has also obtained books from the Half Price Books Donations Storefront, where free books are available to educators and other non-profit groups on Saturdays from 9am-2pm.
The third program described in this session was Catch the Reading Wave. This was a summer library program created by Kelly Hamilton. Kelly’s school is in an area that isn’t serviced by a public library, so she volunteers her time and has her school library open one morning a week during the months of June and July. Students come to check out books and participate in activities led by other volunteers, such as teachers, other librarians, district office staff, firemen, police officers and other community volunteers. The volunteers read aloud to the children and lead activities that go along with the book selections.
Other ideas that were provided during the discussion portion of the session were to host a day at your public library and to check out firstbook.org, which gives grants to Title I schools to provide books for students.
What are some ways that you have reached out and provided services to your community through your school library program?