As summer wanes, we librarians are organizing our calendars for the coming school year. Consider hosting one or more of the following events:
- Library Card Sign-Up Month—September 2012. Back-to-school night and parent/teacher conferences are great opportunities to encourage students, staff, and parents to sign up for a public library card. Invite representatives from your local library to come with registration materials and the ability to issue cards on the spot. Showcase resources available such as ebooks and databases. Set up in the hallway with your coffee cart, where you can be sure to see a steady stream of soon-to-be patrons.
- Banned Websites Awareness Day—October 3, 2012. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires K–12 schools and libraries in the United States to filter certain online content. Get your patrons talking about what should and shouldn’t be filtered in elementary, middle, and high schools, and in public libraries. Post a graffiti wall with specific questions for patrons to comment on. Provide markers and Post-it notes and post specific questions such as, “Should schools filter student access to racist speech? Gaming sites? Pornographic images?” Invite classes to participate as well as your daily walk-ins.
- Teen Read Week—October 14–20, 2012. Recruit your ultra-readers to help. Organize an evening event with snacks and booktalks. Launch a parent/student book group.
- State Testing/ACT Day Set up a “Grab ‘n Gab” resource fair for teachers to explore your library’s resources. Consider offering mini bagels and muffins, juice, and coffee as incentives for teachers to come visit. After all, they’ve only time for a few quick bites before returning to tag-team the administration of the test. Prepare a display of books, movies, and database demonstrations that might be new to them. Host a subject area mini-scavenger hunt for nonfiction resources with prizes for the best answers or have a raffle for prizes, which might include a few newly released DVDs and books.
- Teen Tech Week—March 10–16, 2013. Start a TWITTER book club like Neil Gaiman did in 2010 for American Gods. Or try “One Book, One Twitter.” In July, The Magicians by Lev Grossman was discussed. Jeff Howe at Atlantic.com sets up a book a month to read and discuss on Twitter using hashtags for each chapter (that way there are no spoilers). The TTW Ning will start posting 2013 information in November 2012.
- Library Snapshot Day—April 2013. Film a day-In-the-life video of your library, or capture the beginning-of-the-day rush as teachers and students scramble to print assignments, check out equipment, and ask for assistance to get their day off and running. Continue to film as the day unfolds. Edit and post on your website.
Schedule your events and publish them in the school newspaper, newsletter, and website and invite parents to take part in school activities. Let local newspapers and journalists know what you’re up to, and collaborate with your public library to host joint events. For more events and ideas, visit the American Library Association’s website.
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