Monday, October 24, 2011

New Book Week 2011

A big fall celebration in my library is
New Book Week!

I buy new books throughout the year, but I tend to purchase a larger order in the spring which arrives close to the end of the school year. That order combined with new books I purchase over the summer and at the start of school, are the items I use for New Book Week in early October.

This does mean that I don't put out a new book displays for the first weeks of school. But it also means that my assistant and I have a little time as school is starting to finish processing the many new books we have, allowing us to give a little more attention to some of the many other details of getting up and running for the first weeks.

This fall was my 9th year of running a new book week celebration, and it has become a big deal for students at my school.

The core idea is that every student in the school has a chance to come and browse all of the new books before they get checked out. 

For the week I set up 5 big tables with a mix of books (nonfiction, fiction, picture books, comics, etc.) If I have multiple copies, I spread them over a few tables.

My school is a K-8 school of around 750 students. I schedule times for each class to visit and browse. For the younger grades, students spread out at the tables, and we treat them like stations, rotating every few minutes so that they get to browse at all the tables by the time they are finished. The oldest grades do fine with milling about on their own (but many have "grown up" with New Book Week and understand the expectations). 

For grades 3 and up I ask them to bring pencils, and I provide bookmarks for them to keep. They are extremely un-fancy and really just a place for them to write down books that they are interested in for the future. Some students have told me that they keep them all year as a to-read list.

Lots of Booktalks:
My tables are next to a projector and Smartboard. Over the years I have tried a variety of ways to enhance the speed book talking I do while the students are browsing. This year I made a youtube playlist of book trailers for books that were on the tables. I was able to quickly sort the order of the videos based on what grade was visiting next. I had the trailers playing in the background - and kids held up the book if it was at their table when the video played. Then I was able to go around and give more personal book talks at the tables. A side benefit to playing the trailers was they also acted as a management tool. The videos were my timer for when to switch tables, and they also helped to keep the noise (from excitement about books) down to a more appropriate level.

The Finale:
The very last day of New Book Week, after everyone has had a chance to browse, check out starts! 
We have two bells at the end of the day, and after the first bell students may come to check out a new book from the tables. It is wild and crazy excitement in the library that needs staff for traffic management and multiple check out stations, but it is so worth it.

New Book Week 2011

Teacher Event:
Many teachers browse when their classes visit, but I also plan a New Book Week Open House after school one day during the week. I have snacks and "hold lists" for teachers. I pull items from the hold list for teachers to use in their classroom before students start checking out with the idea that if a teacher is sharing it, a whole classroom gets to enjoy it. This is also a time for me to share items I have purchased specifically to connect to certain curricular areas.

Other Tips & Things I have learned:

  • Before New Book Week, especially with my younger students, I pre-teach about how to browse. I also create an awareness of what the library staff does to get a book ready for check out.

  • Have students put their bookmarks on the table (not on top of a book) to write down the title. My first year all of our new books had indentations of writing all over them making them look not so new anymore.

  • Since I have such an age range from Kindergarten to 8th grade, I see my youngest browsers on the same day and pull the books intended for my oldest readers off the tables for that time. That way Kindergartners don't have to dig through lots of things that are really not appropriate for them to get at what they would like to look at. I often have the last group of older students before those primary browsing times put things on carts at the end of their visit. This saves me from putting my hands on every book again.

  • New Book Week has really created motivation for students to put books they want on hold. Last school year we had over 2,300 holds placed by students - that's an average of over 3 holds per student during the year.

If you are interested in more logistics of how I run my New Book Week - please don't hesitate to comment, email or DM on twitter.