April is National School Library Month

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April is here and once again it’s National School Library Month. Yay! Trust me, I love it, but it’s always a little disappointing because April is also when our testing starts at school, so that means our school library is closed every day until May! Yikes! It does make it a little difficult to celebrate because not only are the doors closed, but I’m a proctor, so I can’t go out, either.

So is this just a Florida thing, or are other school libraries closed for testing now, too? I think it just may be us, because if every school was on the same schedule, I would think ALA would change it from April. I’d like to try and do something to celebrate this month and spread the positivity from the media center, but lately I’ve been discouraged because students aren’t participating in contests and events as much anymore. I’ve asked students in the past what is stopping them from entering, and many of them say they just don’t have the time to make a book trailer, or create a poster. Is it overload or apathy? Or both? I’m not sure. I think it may also be a little bit of a high school thing, but I see other high school librarians creating really successful programs. But in fairness┬áto me, these are always mandatory, teacher-led programs. So maybe I’m doing OK.

Wherever you live, try and take some time out and celebrate the school library. I loved my elementary school media center, I worked in TV production in my middle school one, and I barely ever stepped foot in my high school one. I take these experiences to heart now that I work in one, and I try and make it the most welcoming and warm place in the school. Even when we’re closed for testing.

Author visit!

I love it when we can have authors visit the library, and recently we had Doug Dillon, a local author from Orlando, visit for our quarterly Breakfast of Reading Champions. This event is something I work with our literacy coach and reading teachers to hold to award our intensive reading students who have been performing well or making learning gains. The students are always excited for any chance to get out of class and have free breakfast, but whenever I can get a local author as our guest speaker it’s an extra special treat. It helps when the author is also a great speaker, and that was the case with Mr. Dillon.

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I think the students were happy to see their hometown as the setting in the book, and Mr. Dillon captivated them with his stories of how the characters and story came to be.

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Mr. Dillon signed a copy of his book, Sliding Beneath the Surface, for each student, too. Some of the students didn’t realize their book was signed until they got back to class- it was a nice surprise!

The sequel to Sliding Beneath the Surface is out now, so I asked Mr. Dillon if he would come back next year and speak again, and fortunately he agreed. Local authors rock!

For more information about this event and about Doug Dillon, you can visit his blog at http://dougdillon.com/2013/12/17/rewarding-reading-excellence-in-schools/.