When I walked into our LRC on January 6th it very much felt like I had returned home after a long holiday! The smells were the same and the layout of the library was pretty much as I had left it. However, as I sat at our Borrowing Desk I wondered if it was time to make some changes. A week later I returned and to my horror everything had been moved to clean the carpets and nothing had been put back, including the three heavy Fiction shelves on wheels that had been “strategically placed”!
It was however, an opportunity to sit and contemplate various ways the space could be changed, but I decided in the end we had a space that worked well where sections of the LRC were clearly defined, students had choices of where they wanted to be and I had a clear line of sight to be able to observe students in the space. It then meant a “teacher librarian workout” (when you’re a TL you don’t need a gym membership!) putting everything back. There was lots of running backwards and forwards to move the Fiction shelves into the “just right” position and angle to ensure I could see the popular beanbag reading area when doing borrowing. Tables and chairs were colour matched and positioned along with moveable furniture and displays. Finally all was right with the world…
Next came cleaning and wiping down walls, the Borrowing Desk and the tops of benches in the workroom. I removed posters from the Borrowing Desk and LRC front doors so there was a clean slate ready for a new year.
Before I continued getting the LRC ready, my next focus was organising Bulk Loans for 21 classrooms. These loans consist mostly of Picture Books for Year P-3 and some Non Fiction books are added for Year 4-6. This is quite a long process as I choose books carefully based on the year level; time of the year; authors/illustrators I’ve shared with the level as well as noting each level’s Inquiry and Wellbeing topics. The Bulk Loans are changed at the end of each term and teachers are welcome to change or add to them throughout the term. The Inquiry Loans for the seven year levels that I need to do can wait until I meet with teachers later this week.
With Bulk loans done and piles of Picture Books removed from the tops of shelves, I could now organise the Picture Book area to create an inviting space. I have bought quite a few book character toys and these are now happily sitting on the top of the shelves with their matching book. Lots of Picture Books are displayed on the front facing shelves to tempt readers.
The Story Chair and Story Keeper are ready for a captive audience and the bean bags and cushions are waiting for students to snuggle up with their book…
Junior Fiction is a popular and busy area and I noticed quite a few series were added last year. I may have to do some re-thinking about it this year, but for now it’s ready for borrowers.
Now it was time to focus on some displays for the LRC. I no longer have my wonderful Library Assistant, Marg who was so artistic and created all of our fabulous LRC displays (and there are more throughout our LRC Blog). Slightly terrified, I have been collecting library display ideas on Pinterest for a while and one that caught my eye is now on our LRC front door with a few modifications. I hope it sets the welcoming and inspiring tone I’m hoping for…
We have three display boards in our LRC. I’ve left the small one with it’s current display and the large one is ominously empty for now, but I want it to feature student work over the coming weeks. That left me with the middle landscape board that I decided to use for our theme of “Connect” in the LRC this year. An illustration from Peter Reynolds on Twitter was my inspiration and with the help of a trusty overhead projector (worth it’s weight in gold to non-artistic people) I created our KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) display.
I have some words I want to add to the display and students will add pictures, but it’s still a bit “open-ended” at the moment. However, after posting a thank you on Twitter to Peter Reynolds for his inspiration for our display I now feel under a tad under pressure after his response!!
— Peter H. Reynolds (@peterhreynolds) January 23, 2015
The front reading area at the entrance is ready with Picture Books about Australia and is waiting for it’s turn to shine for “Library Lover’s Day” and the Non Fiction area is armed with popular books on display.
Everything is not as completely ready as I would like, but this year I’m saying “That’s okay”. As with classroom teachers, teacher librarians have a lot to organise and get ready at the beginning of the year. However, it’s not one class that we focus on, but the whole school. Our library spaces are our classrooms, that are highly visible and need to welcome, inspire and cater for the needs of the whole school community. As a teacher librarian, my beginning of the year involves juggling the organisation of the library, managing resources to ensure classroom teachers are prepared to start their year, as well as doing my own preparation and planning. It’s such a hectic time and I feel like a swan – trying to look as though I’m calmly gliding across the water, but my feet are paddling like mad under the water to keep me afloat (and not always successfully)!
We have two staff Professional Learning days and our students start back on Friday, January 30th before library classes begin Monday, February 2nd at 9.10am…bring on 2015!