Guest Blogger

Are Books the New Vegetables?

Somedays, I feel like my kiddos look at books like they do vegetables—ick! And somedays, I feel like their parents might, that I have to try to incorporate books in any way possible!

One of the ways I serve up books is through matching “like and like.” The most popular computer activity at my branch is playing Roblox. Although Roblox has yet to capitalize on some aspects of the market like Minecraft, I tell them about the Minecraft handbooks and the Minecraft chapter books. If they aren’t interested in Minecraft books, I share with them some other great reads that we have, such as Gameworld, or Josh Baxter Levels Up.
Every Thursday is Family Night at my branch, and sometimes that means we watch a movie; 80% of the time, that book is based on a movie, and I make sure we have that book there, and tell kids that if they read the book and can tell me which was better- the book or the movie- and why, then they can get their own book from our secret stash to take home.

Another way that I integrate books is through my decorations. When I started working at my branch, the walls were decorated with sports posters, and other posters that had been drawn by a former patron. Now, they’re covered with READ posters. And not just the old-school ones, all of the posters on my wall are from popular books, including Smile, Amulet, Goosebumps, Magnus Chase, and my personal favorite, Timmy Failure. The coloring pages that line my desk are either kids book characters, or I pull out books that match the picture when a child gives it to me to hang up. Butterflies and Pokemon are currently the most popular.

Although I have a few other ideas, lately I’ve been contemplating a new incentive reading program. As I’m sure most librarians know, food at a program is relatable the iconic quote from Field of Dreams; “Build it and he will come.” With that in mind, and knowing that my kids are more likely to participate if their friends are, I’ve been thinking about setting a community reads goal. If the Children’s Room can collectively read 100 books by December 31, I will host a pizza party on one of our Family Nights. Each time we reach our goal, the start number will go back to 0, and our goal number will go up 50 books. I’m confident we will be able to reach the goal- this summer 65 kids signed up for Summer Reading, and combined they read 203 books- but I wonder if the deadline is too short given the school year.

What are your thoughts? Is the deadline unrealistic? How do you get kids who wouldn’t normally look at a book to pick one up? What have you found works best? What hasn’t worked? Sound off in the comments below, and I promise to provide an update in my next post on what ends up happening.

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Today’s guest post was written by Alyson Feldman-Piltch. Alyson is a children’s librarian for the Boston Public Library.  She likes dogs, ice cream, and baseball.  She can be contacted at afeldmanpiltch@bpl.org.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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