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A Step in the Right Direction, Student Driven Advocacy

This time of year it is easy to get caught up in dreary weather and the testing schedules that are filling February and March.  Recently, I had a ray of sunshine in the unlikeliest of all places–a high school elective class.  Last year I was excited when I saw Popular Fiction in the course catalog.  I thought this would be a great way to get students to enjoy the simple pleasure of reading and break the cycle of only reading required texts.  I emailed the teacher and started a dialogue about book selection, projects and the other logistics of the class.  I told her that I hoped that the students in her class could help to boost my library circulation numbers.  She invited me to join the 8th period class whenever I was at the high school.             

Fast forward to the start of the second semester.  The teacher included a library revitalization project in her syllabus.  I gathered my facts and headed to 8th period.  I met with the class and presented my dismal circulation stats–89 checkouts in the month of January.  Next, I gave them a brief title analysis of the collection.  Most the collection was older than the students.  They looked at the stats in disbelief.  I explained the tight budget that I was given and the cost of the average book.  They all agreed that something needed to be done to breathe new life into our aging library.  

Could fifteen high school students change the culture and attitude of our high school?  It seems that the answer is yes.  The students have planned ways to draw the student body into our library.  Monday morning the students will be in the library wrapping books for the new Blind Date with a Book display.  Some students are working on commercials and book trailers that will play in the front lobby.  Plans are in the works for a fundraiser to buy new books.  They have made suggestions like a display of graphic novels, books that have been recently made into movies and even a book club.  One student has even asked if I still had any of the old card catalog cards–thank you Pinterest.  

Now I have to admit that I have thought of these same ideas to generate interest in the library–this time the difference is that the advocacy came directly from the students.  Since this campaign is in its infancy I can only imagine where it will go.  I’ll share our successes in a future blog post!