It has been a long road to the final book lists this year, but our student book budget group has done it! They’ve taken over $4,000 worth of books and narrowed it down to our final order. In the last moments, they chose to take advantage of Capstone’s incentive right now which is to spend $1750 and earn 30% in Capstone Rewards. This stretched our budget to almost $2300 for Capstone and $250 for Avid Bookshop. Our list from Avid was not quite as long for this first time working with them, so it was easier for students to decide to go with the Capstone incentive.
After lots of debate, we narrowed the list down one book at a time until our dollar amount matched our budget and we felt like the books we included matched our goals. We all got to take a deep breath because the hardest part was done.
Next, I got to share some great news with the students. Each year, Capstone is a huge supporter of our project. We do lots of sharing of our work and it has inspired many other libraries to give this type of project a try. In turn, Capstone loves to celebrate the work of the students and our willingness to share the work of our process. This year, Amy Cox offered the students a tremendous opportunity. Since they had made such tough decisions about books, she wanted them to each have a chance to pick a book for the library that they personally wanted to include on the list. It didn’t have to match a goal; it just needed to be a book that mattered to that student. You should have seen how fast they started flipping through catalogs when I shared the news!
I made a separate list in Capstone for this order and we started adding in books. We saw books come back onto the list that had to be cut as well as books that students had longed for as they looked at catalogs. There were hilarious books such as the Space Penguins series but also prolific books such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. We can’t thank Capstone enough for this special surprise for our students and library. It means so much. We are even going to put special stickers inside to mark that the books were donated by the 2015 Student Book Budget group.
During our final meeting before ordering, we were able to Skype with Karyn Lewis in Houston, Texas. She was inspired by our long-standing project to try this with her students. She also worked with her Capstone representative. It was fun to have our group who was about to place an order talk with her group who is still in the midst of making decisions. The students were able to take turns telling about our work so far. We immediately noticed the connections that our students had with the students in Texas. Some of the same types of books were popular in both states, and graphic novels were high on the list.
Then, we did a screen share and showed them our list. Many of Karyn’s students noticed that we had some of the same books on our list as they were including on theirs. Both groups of students also got to ask questions to one another. They asked about things like how the surveys were done. The Texas students noted some trouble getting responses due to testing and other school events, and we shared that we experienced some of the same problems. We were able to share some strategies we used for getting more responses such as going to lunch and surveying people while they ate.
After we disconnected, I showed the students what would happen with their order at this point. Amy Cox at Capstone shared a great video with me that shows just what happens to that order when it reaches the warehouse. It was fascinating for all of us to see so many books and how they fill an order.
When students left, I proceeded to send off their orders to the appropriate places. Now, we get to take a breath and wait for the fun day when the books all come in.
Thank you so much to the Amy Cox, Jim Boon, and the whole Capstone team.
Also, a huge thanks to Will Walton and Janet Geddis from Avid Bookshop.
Our project would not be the same without all of this support.
I can’t wait to see how this project continues to grow and inspire other. Just today a library in New Jersey shared how they are trying out the project too. The students were so excited to consider themselves teachers of schools around the country.