Our student book budget group is hard at work. So far, they have made lists that total almost $4,000, but our budget is $2,000. Isn’ t this the struggle that we all face with budgets? How do you decide what to buy and what not to buy?
During our most recent session, we revisited our goals. We decided based on our survey data to purchase books about
- Comics and graphic novels
- Action Adventure
- “How to”
- Games/Video games
As we made wish lists, our excitement over so many wonderful books caused us to add several things to our list that really didn’t match our goals so we had to think about this. Do we stick with our goals or do we give ourselves permission to buy whatever we want? The general consensus was to stick to our goals but possibly have some extra additions here or there.
Since we are way over budget, we have a lot of work to do. During the most recent work session, we divided the responsibilities. We identified 3 things that needed to happen:
- Continue searching through the Capstone catalog for books that match our goals and adding them to the list
- Examine the current Capstone list to see what does not match our goal or what might need to be cut
- Continue searching for books that match our goals that could be purchased from Avid Bookshop
One group of students formed an independent group to work on the Avid list. They used Avid’s website, Amazon, and Novelist to look for books that might be of interest.
The students in the Avid group accidentally lost part of a title on our list, so we consulted our friend Will Walton at Avid via Twitter.
The author of the book even jumped in on the conversation.
Another group of students worked with Mr. Coleman, a 4th grade teacher, to examine our existing list. He was great at facilitating a conversation with this group. Only one person at a time was in charge of the mouse to delete books from the list, but all students were engaged in conversation about the books. As usual, it was heated at times and at other times there was quick consensus about a book. They narrowed the list below $3,000, but they knew that another group was adding more books to the list.
I worked with the third group who each chose one of our goals and looked through the Capstone catalog for books that matched. They once again used the easy scan feature to scan books into the list. I had a great conversation with a student who was adding an animal book to the list. She asked me, “Do you think this is a book that fits the nature category?” It really seemed like she was just putting the book on the list because it matched instead of putting it on the list because she thought people would read it, so I asked her about that. I asked, “Do you think this is a book that kids would be excited about reading?” She paused. “Do you think this is a book that a teacher would assign someone to read?” She said yes. It was a good time for me to say that I strongly believe that the book budget group is a time for kids to buy books that they think kids will be excited about reading. I can buy books that teachers can use or books that fill gaps in our collection at another time. This budget is all about what students want. She smiled and continued looking for a books that mattered to students.
At the end of our time, I don’t think we narrowed our cost at all, but we did get closer to finding books that matched our goals. Our next step will be to look closely at our budget and the promotions that Capstone offers to consider what our budget really is. With Capstone Rewards, we really have a lot more money because if you spend $1750 you get 30% in rewards. This might help our decisions during our next meeting.