Lunch Fun

My current school operates on a schedule that includes SMART lunch. When I was in high school, we called it tutorial, and they got rid of it shortly after I graduated, and I’ve never worked at a school that has had anything like it since.

I think it’s genius. Ours is an hour long lunch period in the middle of the day. Students can get lunch at any point during that hour, and teachers have a designated 30 minutes for lunch. For the other 30 minutes, teachers have duty, tutoring, club meetings, etc. depending on the day of the week.

The library is open for all of SMART lunch, every day, for the most part. There are always things that cause us to close (testing), but we are usually open. So I’ve decided to use that time to try to bring our program into the makerspace movement and 21st century learning.

We’ve designated areas in the library for certain things. We have quiet study, mostly-quiet whatever, computers reserved for school work, the gaming computers, the games area, and the lounge. There are several tables that don’t fall under any of those specifications, which I think is fine.

We are also adding activities on certain days. Every other Friday will be Artsy Fartsy Friday, with art projects in the area designated mostly quiet whatever. Unfortunately, that area is next to the quiet study area, which I want to keep open all the time, so I’m not sure how that’s going to work. Right now, since we are starting in the middle of the school year with this, these things will end up being mostly a test for next year and we will be able to make adjustments, so there’s that.

On alternating Tuesdays, we will do Reading Hour and Book Club. Students will only be welcome in the library on Reading Hour days if they are reading a print resource (or for quiet study). There will be no computer access on those days and no games. Book Club days will still be open to everyone, with book club being held in the lounge as long as there is room for everyone there. Since we are a school and have limited access to numerous copies of the same book, I tweaked the Book Club format so that we just choose a subject or genre or author or whatever I can think of and participants get to choose the book they read and share with everyone else.

All three programs are drop-in; no one is required to show up every time or even at a specific time. The latter may have to change with Book Club but like I said, we’re trying it out.

I’m really excited about each of these things and I will definitely post about what happens with each of them.


My first bulletin board/display…

…feels like an unmitigated disaster.

I created a bulletin board and display for Teen Read Week as well as a display for Banned Books Week.

Here are some pictures of the TRW bulletin board and the display.

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And the BBW display.





I felt like there were a number of challenges to this whole thing.

  • I have one large bulletin board and one small bulletin board on opposite sides of the library. That upper right picture in the collage is the smaller bulletin board. There is no table or bookshelf without anything on the top near the smaller bulletin board, so I had to think of something to do with it.
  • Neither of my bulletin boards are in a very logical place to be put to use in conjuction with displays.
  • The bookshelves that don’t have anything on top of them (and are short enough to be used as displays) aren’t in very good places for having displays. You’ll notice the Censorship poster is on an office window.
  • There is no better place to move any of the things that are mobile, which is actually only one of the bookshelves.
  • The large bulletin board was actually way larger than I was expecting.
  • My collection is in serious need of a major update. We didn’t have any of the books nominated for this year’s Teens’ Top Ten or any of the Top Ten Challenged Books from last year.

And here is what I ended up doing about each of those things.

  • I put a quote on the small bulletin board that I felt related to the theme of the book display on the large bulletin board. Positives: love the quote; it’s from a book; it’s totally related. Negatives: we don’t have that book, although we do have a couple of random ones from the series.
  • I used them anyway because they needed to be covered ASAP. I was originally thinking I could put always put a related quote on the little bulletin board and put the book that the quote is from on the shelf next to it. I may still try that, but it’s really limiting since my collection could use some help. Still like that idea though.
  • I used them anyway. I had no other choice at the time. It will be different next time.
  • Yeah, I’m not moving them. Not even the mobile one. Oh wait. Stream of consciousness here, but I just had an idea I might try out before doing the next display. We’ll see.
  • I filled it with things I’m not too proud of. Dots and squares for one. I thought the QR codes were a good idea (they link to the voting page for Teens’ Top Ten and the local public library to find the books), but I will print them larger next time to take up more room. Negative to that: my kids don’t actually know what they are because they mostly don’t have the devices to use them.
  • I had to get creative. The TRW display is all previous Top Ten and other award recent award winners, are things like The Giver, whose “sequel” Son is nominated this year, or are other books by authors who are nominated this year. The BBW display is a bunch of books that have been challenged over the years.

I do think I had some small success in using tissue paper to line the board and in finding those colors for the bulletin board letters in the back room.

I’m going to change a bunch of things, hopefully before I switch over to the next displays. Most importantly, I’m moving a bunch of the sections in my collection. That may open up some better shelf space for displays. However, that space won’t be near the bulletin boards, so I will have to do some thinking about that. My stream of consciousness idea may solve that issue, too.

Sorry for the length of this post. I really needed to reflect and figure out how I was going to make this better. I don’t deal well with feeling like something I attempted turned out awfully.

Storytime isn’t Just a Tradition!

I am in LOVE with this article entitled Secrets of Storytime: 10 Tips for Great Sessions from a 40-year Pro! In case you don’t want to read the whole thing, the author’s 10 tips are highlighted in red.

One of the main points of this article is simply stated in this early quote: “My longstanding belief [is] that storytime is for children and adults.” Parents learn how to build literacy skills in their children, as well as learning about library programs and services and how to foster interest in reading.


When I was a classroom teacher (in a high school setting, mind you), I used storytime often. Teenagers need to be given the chance to address difficult subjects in simple formats. I realize that this is a little different, but I think what this public librarian has recognized is that something as simply as reading a story out loud is an educational experience for everyone involved.

I work at a school that, at this time, caters mostly to high school age students with small children who accompany them to the school and are in the pre-K rooms in the same building. This is, quite literally, my second day on the job, so I’m not sure what programs are already in place, but one of my ideas is to do storytime with the parents (high school age children) and children.

I’m really excited to try it and will update the blog on the progress and success!!