If you’re a school media specialist, you see them all the time. If you’re a public librarian, they are a rare species, requiring cultivation and proper attention. I’m talking about the elementary school reader, of course! With so many activities and commitments competing for time, attracting elementary school-age readers to the library on a regular basis can be a difficult task. Last fall, with this in mind, I enrolled in ALSC’s online course, Series Programming for the Elementary School Age. I’ve posted about it before (“The Best $95.00 you (or your library) will spend…), but today I want to share the “real-life” outcome of the Geronimo Stilton Club that I created for the course.
After much thought about the best day and time for my club, I decided on Fridays after school. In the course, we planned out our advertising strategies, and I stuck with my plan. While Friday afternoon is not the best day for me, it seems to work well for library patrons. In fact, other than tweaking a few things here and there, I stayed fairly true to the outline that I planned in the course. I did, however, make one fortuitous, late addition to the program.
As you probably know, Geronimo Stilton is a newspaper editor, very fond of cheese and classical music. In week one, the kids read maps and followed directions (necessary for finding treasure, of course!), and they interviewed each other. They used good listening skills to pick out instruments from Vivaldi’s “Spring,” and listened to an audio book excerpt. In week two, we had a newspaper scavenger hunt, and I noticed that the kids of our digital age are, not surprisingly, fairly unfamiliar with the printed press. This started me thinking – and by midnight that evening, I had the idea that I should invite a reporter for a digital news outlet to our next meeting.
On Monday morning, I emailed our local online news provider and within a day, the new editor for our area agreed to come to our Friday afternoon club. I invited her not to interview us, but for us to interview her! What better way to practice our new skills!
I invite you to see how the visit turned out. You can read her article (she took photos, too) at this link. http://barnegat.patch.com/articles/kids-ask-the-best-questions-and-i-try-to-answer-best-i-can
We finished up the final week with Geronimo Stilton “mad-libs,” mouse origami, and a rousing game of Pass the Cheese (to classical music, of course). It was fun. It was inexpensive. The kids and parents liked it. All of the survey forms were positive. I only wish that more kids had participated, but, even this doesn’t bother me too much. Because everyone in the Series Programming course shared their projects, I can try it again with a new topic!
Coincidentally, the Series Programming course began again this week. I’d love to see what the current group creates.