One of my favourite things about working in a high school library is using my creativity to engage the students to come in and enjoy our collections and events. I want them to view the library as a safe haven, and a fun place to spend their time. I want them to know they can come to the library whenever they want to relax, read, play, or need help with school stuff. This post will discuss the programs I have run, and some ideas I have for the future to continue to engage youth in the library.
I remember that magical feeling of choosing books from the scholastic catalogue in primary school! Cynthia makes a great point in her article about reading choice, beautifully illustrated by her story about Crystal. I still love the smell of books too. Whatever it is that inspires a child to choose a book, it’s wonderful to see that spark of excitement. I will have to try using the ‘good choice’ mantra at my school.
When I was a child, my mother gave me two of the greatest gifts a reader can receive: access to books and choice.
Though not a reader herself, my mother always let me buy three books from the Scholastic Book Club flyers when my teacher sent them home. I would pour over those whispery pages, agonizing how to whittle my choices down to three.
My mother never put any restriction or judgement on the books I picked, so I was free to try new things, to take risks. I was also free to find comfort in something familiar. I was even free to fail, to experience making a choice that I later regretted.
I bought great literature, like The Witch of Blackbird Pond and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I also bought (and still have!) The Peanuts Lunch Bag Cookbook. No one would classify…
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The ‘Outside the Lines’ Youth Unconference at the Library at the Dock (unconference – “a loosely structured conference emphasizing the informal exchange of information and ideas between participants, rather than following a conventionally structured programme of events”) was an amazing experience. It was totally free and even provided morning and afternoon tea. The presenters were all young and had interesting insights. It was held in a beautiful location on a wonderful sunny day. I had a blast!
Their unconference description:“It is your chance to gain insight into what young adults are interested in, how libraries can support and collaborate with them and how we can broaden our thinking about young people into a more creative, flexible and innovative framework that will take libraries outside the lines. By participating you will have the opportunity to: Hear first-hand from young people and their experiences with the library and community organisations.”