Getting the goods

The delivery of my library’s book order is like Christmas all over again – only better. Because the box is always full of books! Glorious new books!

Sometimes I’m not sure who’s more excited – me or the students. After all, they LOVE seeing new titles on the shelves, especially when those titles are ones they suggested I buy. But I LOVE handing new titles to my students and watching them get excited – sometimes about the author, sometimes about the story or the topic, and sometimes, just because they’re the first person to check out that book. EVER.

I used to put many of the new titles out on the displays. Not anymore. Plenty of students grabbed them up, but they were just in it because the book was new. Now I put a few out and I leave the rest to be discovered like gems in a dark cave, found by those willing to dig for them among the library’s shelves.

This past week, the following titles were discovered – thrilling several students and classes:

Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

Sisters and Drama by Raina Telgemaier

Riley Mack & Other Known Troublemakers by Chris Grabenstein

When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens

Guys Read! Other Worlds edited by Jon Scieszka

Call of the Wild by Jack London, Puffin Classics edition

The Mysteries of Science series by Capstone Press

Ninja Red Riding Hood  by Corey Rosen Schwartz

The Sharks series by Abdo

and surprisingly, the replacement series of Eragon by Christopher Paolini (I ordered a new set since the only ones left on our shelves were three tattered copies of Book 2, Eldest.)

Parents often ask me how I know what to order – probably because they want to make sure their invaluable donations to the PTA are being well-spent. I always tell them that, first of all, I keep a running list of requests from students, teachers, the library volunteers. Second, I spend a LOT of time reading reviews of children’s books (and often the books themselves). Third, I check with teachers and our principal to see what areas of the curriculum need support – say, Westward Expansion for the 5th grade or street dance and hip hop for the dance classes.

Last, but never least, I keep a list of books that need replacing, whether classics in unappealing rebound covers, tattered paperbacks or those too-popular-for-their-own good books that go missing. I hate that I have to spend money replacing perfectly good books that have grown legs & walked away, but part of my librarian’s heart is thrilled that a student loved the book enough that they just had to keep it. Or pass it on to a friend. (Very few books are actually “lost” lost, and usually kids tell you about those right away.)

I’m lucky. The PTA at my school has a book budget for the library, the principal gives us state funds for books, and the proceeds from our annual book fair are usually given to me for the library.

Many schools aren’t so lucky. Consider helping one of those schools through the following:

Project Cicero

Books for America

The Libri Foundation

Books for Kids

Programs that accept gently used books can be found on this fact sheet from the American Library Association.

Well, I’m off. Time to plan tomorrow’s read-alouds and see if my displays have been depleted. Maybe I’ll be lucky and the back-ordered titles will have arrived…

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