I like the Book Faire that Envision Academy in Oakland puts on to build its school library and to promote reading among students.
The process is simple.
Once a semester, Mary, the school’s vice principal, calls up the Oakland Public Library Teen Zone. Its librarians, Brian and Xochitl, are wonderful. They know what students like to read, and they pull 150 high-interest titles from the shelves.
The day before the faire, I drive on over to the library in my Honda Civic. Brian grabs a cart, which we load with five massive book bags. We wheel the books down to my car, and I drive them on over to the school.
When I arrive, student librarians are ready to receive the books, take them upstairs, organize them into genres, and put them on tables. Here’s a picture of part of the ethnic literature table:
Once the books are on tables, everything is ready for the event.
The event runs extremely smoothly, thanks to the student librarians. They have the whole process down pat. Classes come in (this time, the groups were organized by Math classes), get a book request slip, browse the books for about 10 minutes, and then fill out their slip with three choices.
It’s great to see students talking with students about books. It’s also great that students know that we’re going to buy the books that they request. (That’s what the book request slip is for. After the event, I go through the slips and purchase up to three copies of each requested title.)
Overall, the Book Faire is simple and smooth. I can’t say enough about the student librarians. If you want to build a reading culture at your school, the single most important investment is to find, train, and cultivate the skills and passions of student librarians. Mary, the school’s vice principal, has done an excellent job building this group.
Here’s a quick picture of them after a job well done:
Please, if you have a minute, consider leaving a brilliant insight. What do you think of this Book Faire? What thoughts do you have about the student librarians? Thank you for your insights!