Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Librarian

One of the things I did this past year while working at international school in the Philippines was work in the elementary library. It was one of my favourite places to be, and I had so much fun observing the elementary librarian, Carol, in everything she does.

I really want to tell you about Carol, because she is utterly amazing.

The elementary library.

Carol has been at the school for almost 25 years, which is a long time for someone to stay at an international school, where staff and students are constantly coming and going. But she is not only the elementary librarian. She also did one-on-one literacy coaching with nine elementary kids, literacy classes with both first and second grade, helped the teachers with the English curriculum, AND she taught six library classes every week. I was physically in the library more than she was.

Carol's love for books and kids was infectious. It was so fun to watch her during library classes. At the beginning of class she would spend twenty minutes on a lesson before book checkout time.  The lessons were usually Carol reading a story, or talking about an author, and sometimes the lesson would coincide with some current event.

Hobbit bulletin board that one of the library volunteers made.

For example, when The Hobbit movie came out in December she took about four weeks in each fifth grade class to talk about The Hobbit book before the movie came out. In the spring, the school put on a production of Beauty & the Beast so she spent a few weeks reading and talking about different book versions of the story. (As a result, about a quarter of the elementary girls dressed up as Belle for our Literacy Day). She also did a unit on The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, both a book and short film by William Joyce (which is a beautiful film, you should check it out if you get the chance).

But my favourite thing to watch Carol do was recommend books to kids. She is so amazing at pitching books. I don't know how she does it. She knows exactly what to say that will get a specific group of kids to latch on to any book's premise and scramble to me, pleading to put them on the hold list first for that book. Every time Carol pitched a book to the kids, a 5-person long waiting list for that book would spring up. And I'm not exaggerating when I say every time!

Carol's love of books and the people who read them was really inspiring to me. It was really cool to be able to work with her this year and learn from her, whether it be how she taught the kids or what she taught the kids or just her energetic enthusiasm for books.

Goofing off in fifth grade library class.

Almost every Monday Carol would ask me "So, what books did you read this weekend?" And after I told her she would list off the three books she read, while simultaneously recommending them to me. If Carol recommended a book to me, I couldn't NOT read it.

There are a lot of people on this online writing community who are super passionate about books and reading and getting kids to read, but it is an entirely different thing to see that in real life, and it is incredibly awesome.

Do you know anyone in real life that is super passionate about books? Do you think it's awesome?

1 comment:

  1. Awesome shoutout ;) Its good to see librians with an interest in the children's reading room, and to generally enjoy the library work. I've always thought it would be a fun career.



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