Our Student Book Budget Order from Capstone Has Arrived!

IMG_3014Each year when students participate in the student book budget group, the most exciting day for them is the day that we unpack the boxes when they arrive.  It’s the day that all of their hard work and tough decisions pays off.  After surveying almost the entire school, setting goals, meeting with vendors, creating wish lists, cutting books from the lists to fit the budget, and placing the order, the students finally get to hold books  in their hands.

Today our order from Capstone came.  We love buying books from Capstone each year for many reasons.  One reason is that their books are popular with our students.  We also love their customer service.  Our sales representative, Jim Boon, always comes in and helps students with the book selection process.  We also love how Capstone stretches our budget.  This year’s order from Capstone was $1750, and with Capstone’s current promotion, we earned an additional $525 in books.  When we were unpacking the order today, a student said, “Capstone Rewards sure does help us get a lot of extra books.”  I love that this project really pushes students each year to think about fiscal responsibility and how to stretch a dollar.

Just like every other step of the way, the students are involved in every step of unpacking the books.  We basically form an assembly line.

Some students pull books out of the boxes and inspect them for any damage.  There’s usually not any, but we always check.

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Another student takes these books and highlights each one on the packing slip to make sure they are all accounted for.  Today, I helped with the highlighting process because there were so many books to take through the entire process in only 45 minutes.

These books then go to a student who stamps them with our library stamp.

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From there, a group of students takes pictures of the covers to put into an Animoto to show on our morning broadcast.

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When all pictures are taken, the pictures are uploaded to Animoto by another group of students.

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Then, all of the students work on setting up a display at the front of the library.

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The students all got to check out one of the books before they were really revealed to the rest of the school.

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Then they watched their Animoto and had a little dance party to celebrate new books.

Usually, students start coming in to check out the books before we even get them all setup.  Today was no different.  Some of the DC comics and sports immediately got checked out by 2 eager boys.  I love how one student’s shirt says, “best day ever”.  It sure feels like a great day when we see so many smiling faces for books.

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It was also a little sad to see our project for the year come to an end.  These students have been so dedicated by coming in during their recess time to work.  I smiled when one of them said, “I think I want to grow up to become a library media specialist”.  Other students said, “Please let us do this again next year.”

When I asked them why they like being in the student book budget group, they said things like:

  • who wouldn’t want to buy books for the library
  • we loved making decisions
  • it was fun to spend money for the library
  • people are reading the books that we chose

This process is so empowering for students.  The project has proven again and again that students know how to buy books for other students.  Their books are checked out rapidly and stay among the most popular books in the library.

Thank you Capstone for supporting our project each year.  Your promotions, great selection of high interest books, and book swag gifts, made the students feel like rock stars.

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Student Book Budgets 2012-13 (Part 1)

A snapshot of the form that students used to survey other students

A snapshot of the form that students used to survey other students

Once again, I have reserved a portion of our library budget for complete student control.  I have done this over the past three years and have come to value it so much that I plan to continue and improve upon the process.  So far, this year is proving to be one of the most interesting so far.  In the past, I’ve worked with groups of students as large as 40 and as small as 12.  This year, we have 27 students in grades 3-5 who have agreed to participate in this process.

This year, I created a Google form asking about some reading interests and gauging student interest in being a part of the book budget group.  I emailed the form to all students in the school.  In general, our 3rd-5th graders are the main students who check their email, so those were the students who responded.  Out of about 60 responses, I had about 40 students who were interested in being in the group.  I went through the list and tried to select a mix of boys, girls, grade levels, classrooms, backgrounds, and reading interests.  This narrowed the list to the 27 students.

I then got permission from the students’ teachers to allow them to be in the group.  Next, I blocked out some times on the library calendar.  Here’s the rough outline of what I did/planned to do:

  • 1/25:  Initial meeting with the whole group to lay the foundation of our work and edit the Google form that I started. We also claimed which grade levels we would each survey. This was done at the very beginning of the day when students would have been doing their morning meeting in the classroom.
  • 1/28-2/1:  As soon as students arrived at school, they got their netbooks out and pulled up our Google form.  Then, they surveyed their own class as well as one other grade level that they had chosen.
  • 2/1:  After surveying is done, email the results to all of the students so that they can begin looking at patterns.
  • 2/4, 2/8, & 2/11:  Students will meet in the library during their lunch.  We will narrow down the survey results and determine which specific books and categories of books we want to focus on.  Then, students will begin creating lists of books with our favorite vendors including:  Bound to Stay Bound, Capstone Press, and Follett
  • 2/12:  Finalize the lists and order the books.
  • While we wait on the books to arrive, some students might choose to work on some marketing strategies, but I won’t do this with every student in the group.
  • When the books arrive, schedule a meeting to unpack, stamp the books, and double check the packing slips.
  • Advertise the books on BTV and put them into circulation.
Students pulling up their Google Form to begin roaming the school.

Students pulling up their Google Form to begin roaming the school.

At our initial meeting, students did a great job adding to the form I had already started.  In the form, I asked about specific series of books, genres of books, and created a space for students to list specific books.  This was all based on what students are constantly asking for in the library so there were things like:  The Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, World Records, Rainbow Fairies, Ninjago, Lego, Princesses, etc.  The students decided to add a question about grade level and gender so that we could balance how many boys, girls, and students from different grade levels we surveyed.  They also added their own series and genres that I completely missed.  This is what I love about this participatory aspect.  It’s impossible for one person to know the reading needs of the entire school.  It has to be a collaborative effort.

During the week of 1/28-2/1, students surveyed as many students as possible.  I was amazed that by the end of the week they had surveyed over 400 students, which is almost every student in the school!  This is highest amount of students we have ever been able to survey in this project.  Almost every day, I emailed the students an update on how many students in each grade level we had surveyed.  This helped them focus their time.  I was also amazed by the decision making of many of the students.  They were careful not to disturb a classroom if the teacher had already started a morning meeting or a lesson.  They also came to the library to ask me my thoughts about where they might go next.  In the library, I watched the number of surveys steadily climb in the spreadsheet that Google Forms automatically creates.IMG_1689

On 2/1, I emailed the students the final results so that they can hopefully look over it before we  begin the messy process of making decisions this week.  I’ll do another post about the decision making process and book ordering, but for now here’s what we have to work with.  How would YOU narrow this down?

Prek 42 10%
K 58 14%
First 69 16%
Second 73 17%
Third 46 11%
Fourth 45 11%
Fifth 33 8%

 

Boy 207 49%
Girl 159 37%

 

Superheroes 129 31%
Princesses 92 22%
Graphic Novels (comics) 170 40%
Legos 172 41%
Star Wars 141 34%
Wrestling 96 23%
Ghosts 165 39%
Sports 206 49%
Poetry 124 30%
History 145 35%
Animals 232 55%
Paper airplanes 149 35%
Cars 144 34%
World Records 201 48%
Drawing 197 47%
Mystery 167 40%
TV shows 149 35%
How to 126 30%
Action 159 38%
Scary 177 42%
Myths & Legends 159 38%
Picture books 187 45%
Movies 185 44%

 

Hunger Games 161 39%
Rainbow Fairies 113 27%
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 211 51%
Guinness World Records 168 40%
Ninjago 174 42%
Disney Princesses 87 21%
Sisters Grimm 59 14%
Mo Willems books 90 22%
Captain Underpants 145 35%
Geronimo Stilton 104 25%
Magic Tree House 191 46%
Junie B. Jones 168 40%
Lunch Lady 141 34%
Babymouse 139 33%
Goosebumps 100 24%
Dr. Seuss 190 46%
Fashion Kitty 114 27%
Bad Kitty 142 34%
39 Clues 109 26%
Eragon 73 18%
Bone 111 27%
Genius Files 75 18%
Nancy Drew 95 23%
Corduroy 89 21%
Hardy Boys 114 27%
Percy Jackson 100 24%
Archie Comics 92 22%