10/10/12

Library Love

Every year I spend all of September focusing on a theme I call Libraries in Our Community/World.  It's my way of celebrating libraries everywhere and emphasizing their importance in our lives. In the early grades, children learn about how to use the library, our procedures at Saint Mark's and what fun reading and library time can be. I read books like; The Shelf Elf, Library Lil, Bats at the Library, Wild About Books, and Charlie and Lola's But Excuse Me, That Is My Book. 

Later we delve a bit deeper and explore how cultures provide library services around the world. Biblioburro is an amazing true story of a retired teacher named Luis who travels on donkey to poor and remote villages in Columbia delivering books (and story-time) to children. In Our Librarian is a Camel students learn about a wide range of transportation modes librarians use to deliver books to their communities including: dog sled, ferryboat and elephants!

To fifth grade, I read The Librarian of Basra about a passionate and deeply committed librarian in Iraq who narrowly rescues her library's collection of books before the building is burned to the ground during war.

Perhaps my favorite though is Down Cut Shin Creek which is the historic story of the pack-horse librarians of the deep south during the Great Depression. Through President Roosevelt's WPA program librarians were hired in the poorest parts of the country to travel through treacherous terrain and weather to deliver books to isolated families in need.

After we learn about these amazing individuals we read a poetic and moving picture book called, That Book Woman. Students examine how a lovely story can be spun from the real information found in compelling non-fiction.

I love sharing these books in this way because over time it puts libraries and library service in perspective extending our experience beyond what we take for granted and that with which we are familiar. My hope is that students see the importance of libraries in our education, culture and history and how fortunate we are to live in a community that values them.

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