Our Staff Recommends: A Participatory Idea for Picture Book Month

November is Picture Book Month.  This is the 2nd year of the event, and we kicked things off on day one by starting a reading incentive.  Students & teachers are trying to see how many picture books they can read during the month of November.  To encourage their participation, each student and teacher received a sheet explaining the incentive with blanks for writing down each picture book read this month.  Each grade level had their own number of books with smaller numbers for lower grades and 25 picture books for upper grades.  All students who finish their sheet will receive a cool bookmark:  Scaredy Squirrel, Ladybug Girl, Elephant & Pigge, Babymouse, or Duck for President.  Students will also receive a certificate and be entered into a drawing to win autographed books by:  Kevin Henkes, Suzanne Bloom, Eric Litwin & James Dean, and Meghan McCarthy.  These incentives really inspired students because we have several sheets already turned in on this mid-way point of November.

On the Picture Book Month website, there are multiple resources for celebrating picture book month.  One of the tools is a shelf talker that says, “Our Staff Recommends”.  These can be displayed along a shelf for library staff to place books that they recommend to students.  At first, I wanted the shelf talkers to say something besides “library staff”, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that as part of the participatory culture of our library, I really consider every person who enters our library a part of our staff.  I ask students to be accountable for checking books in and out, placing books in the reshelving area, teaching other students how to use technology, etc, so why not consider everyone staff?

So….I made a quick video with iMovie and advertised to the school that anyone could put books on the shelf talkers just inside the library doors.

The shelf sat empty the first day, but it didn’t take long for people to start recommending picture books to one another.  Several students have checked out books from this area and several have replaced the books that they have selected.  It’s a small thing, but it gives one more opportunity for our school community to participate in our library.

Happy Picture Book Month!

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