Valentine’s Day in Middle School.

Today is a bit of an oops, as in, I probably should have posted this earlier this week when I said I was going to. With a field trip, author visit, and Virginia Readers Choice pizza party, it was a bit on the crazy side. Sticking with my “Create & Share” 2016, I want to show you a bulletin board I created for the snowy, love-filled month of February.

As a general time of life, middle school is weird. Students aren’t the young elementary schoolers anymore, and yet they aren’t quite high schoolers yet. Some students have matured physically and/or emotionally, while their peers are still looking (and behaving!) like 4th graders. So, what’s a librarian to do with the ever-encompassing holiday about love, at an age where students don’t exactly have a reason to celebrate this? We’ll focus on how much we love the LIBRARY, of course!

I came up with this idea last year and it was a great success then, so I didn’t tweak much for this year. Since we celebrate Poetry Month in April instead of School Library Month, I switched it to February instead. I selected 3 classes to ask what they loved most about our library: an 8th grade remedial reading class, a foreign language class that was both 7th & 8th graders, and a 7th grade science class. I emailed the teachers ahead of time (who I knew were fans of our library as well – or at least book readers!) and gave them options for dates to come in and speak to their students for about 5 minutes (which was great, since teachers chose for me to come in at the beginning of the period when they needed time to take attendance). I gave a tiny speech to students at the beginning about February being “Love Your Library” Month and how I wanted each student to write down something they loved most about the library. (I used a speech bubble from Word and typed “I love our library because…”, put 4 to a page, and copied them.) I also asked students to not put their names on it, so they could feel more free to write what they wanted to. It worked! Here is what the board ended up looking like:

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Now, I certainly didn’t include all the responses (as you can tell) but I tried to include a mix of different offerings we have, in order to show the “well-roundedness” of the library. Here are some of the responses (you may have to zoom in to read some of them):

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I love reading these responses because it gives me a true sense of what my students most appreciate about the library and maybe what wasn’t mentioned that I could be working on advertising more. Aren’t they cute for mentioning my co-librarian and me? I suppose we’re doing something right if we are what they love most. 🙂

On the hearts in the display, I printed different offerings of our library, including showing off student work, printing, and using our print & online resources. I also included a simple “February is Love Your Library Month” sign for the bottom corner. And it was easy as that!

Another way you could do this bulletin board is by making these slips of paper available in your library for students to fill out when they come into the library. I chose to go to classes because I wanted responses from the frequent fliers but also the not-so-frequent fliers. Sometimes I work most with those reluctant library users because I want to know what they struggle with and look for ways to get them into the library. To be fair, I also wanted to put up the bulletin board fairly quickly and didn’t necessarily want to wait for this many students to find the display and volunteer an answer.

As a side note, but also a motivator for doing Love Your Library in February, my school is a gifted magnet school and our Open House for prospective students to attend presentations about the gifted program is in February. I feel like this display gives students and parents not familiar with our school a chance to hear from current students about the library and all it could offer them if they chose to attend our school.

What do YOU do for February in your library?

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