Monday, August 18, 2014

Back To School ... Seven Ways The Library Can Make The Year Suceessful.

This is the time of year that students face with mixed emotions.  First emotion, dread.  The lazy hazy days of summer are quickly passing and by all accounts, there is still so much fun to be had! (So many new books to read too! )  The second emotions, excitement.  School days are great for catching up with friends that have been gone for summer months and the routine of seeing each other again is back in full swing.   The first day of school offers so much promise for the year ahead.  One way to be sure that the school year is kicked off right is by starting with the library.  It doesn't matter if it is the school library, the public library or both.  Libraries, small or large, can be the keys to a successful school year.   Here are seven ways a library can help students of all ages.

1. Libraries are mobile.    Libraries are mobile in the same way every person is in this modern life.  When going to your library's website, look for an app that can be downloaded on to a smart phone.  Most major libraries are investing in up to date technology to keep up with the demands of patrons who want convenience and accessibility.  Most library apps will allow patrons to place materials on hold, view patron records and even see what is new a the library.  Very handy for students who need to manage time wisely.

2. Volunteer opportunities  Many school districts are requiring students to complete community service hours in order to graduate.  Check with the Youth Services or School librarian to find ways to complete the requirement by volunteering to work at the library. 

3.  Get To Know Your Librarian  It is amazing that most students don't know or are afraid to ask from the librarian.  Think of it this way, when you are sick and not sure what is wrong or what to do to stop a pain, a doctor is called.  When you don't know where to go next when trying to find answers for a geography assignment or research paper, who would know best on where to search for the best answers?  The librarian.   Don't be shy ...ask.

4. Take Time to Read For Pleasure  Every once in awhile it's good to kick back and take a break from the grind. Most libraries have an area where new books are featured.  This    Reading for pleasure is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get away from it all and let the mind wander to the places in between the pages of a book.  As a side note,  an extra benefit to libraries supporting readers is that readers become better writers.  

5. Libraries are Practical Tools  Libraries are the places where experiments begin.  Not the type in the Chemistry lab but in the research way.  Students learn the best methods of searching through databases, websites and books by using the resources at the library.  Think of it as a hands on training for finding information in the "real" world.  These skills will be used long after students leave schools.   It's skill building for a lifetime.

6.  Group Studies Are Better At The Library   Computers are wonderful tools for many activities but they can't replace true interactions with others.  As the library space begins to shift to more computers,  less book shelves and larger open spaces, it is only citing that these open spaces be filled with students,  adults, and educators collaborating on projects.  Many public libraries have invited High School Seniors to "exam week" or "SAT" prep programs.   This is a great opportunity to demonstrate support for the school district and students in providing a day just for them to study of the all important exams that could determine the directions of their college careers.

7. Preparing Little Ones For Preschool   Storytime for Toddlers and preschoolers offers a unique opportunity for children to not only develop reading skills but to get use to sitting still and taking directions from another adult other than mom or dad.  More importantly children develop social skills that will help them make the transition from home to school much  smoother.

There it is in a seven seemingly little ways that students can be supported in their studies with access to libraries.   These may seem like little things that can be overlooked but the impact is huge.  Students learn, communicate and do more when library resources are available to them.  When taking that stroll through the school's open house it should become obvious to all visitors.  Libraries are not just another gathering place for the students, it's actually the heart of the school.

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