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Time to Tell your Story!

Spring has taken it's time to arrive this year, but all of a sudden April is upon us! And that means School Library Month (SLM) and National Library Week(April 13-19) are just about here too.  I love this year's theme--Lives change @ your library--as it communicates the impact libraries can have upon individuals and in schools and communities. And it sure doesn't hurt to have two awesome spokespersons:  Judy Blume, one of the queens of YA literature, and Jeff Kinney, author of the wildly popular Wimpy Kid series.

I'm intrigued this year as the American Association of School Librarians(AASL) and American Library Association (ALA) are both suggesting the use of social media to encourage our communities to tell their stories.  I'm looking forward to seeing, hearing and being a part of the convo that is about to emerge!  Take a look at some of these suggestions.
  • Have patrons tweet their stories using hashtags #nlw14 and#liveschange
  • For stories more than 140 characters, post to the @yourlibrary website. People of all ages and background and families are invited to participate.
  • Snap a library selfie and use this speech bubble template from theQueens Library as a prop for your patrons to visually tell their story.  Post to the Flickr user group or other social media using#nlw14 and #liveschange hashtags.  If you work with youth, I'd recommend Instagram as it seems to be the social media of choice for young people.
  • AASL is holding a video contest for students to show how their library experience connects to the theme Lives change @ your library.  Enter by April 15, 2014.
  • Print one of the several Declaration to the Right to School Libraries versions available and hold a signing campaign.  Scroll down this page for links to the printable files. I must admit I'm a little unsure what AASL intends here.  Is it meant to be symbolic or is there somewhere to send the signatures?  Perhaps a reader can help us out here.
  • School Library Month is the perfect time to display this telling graphic about the impact of school libraries.
In our district we encourage each of our school librarians to hold special events and activities to celebrate SLM. Here's a sampling of the possibilities.
  • Hold a family "pajama party" and invite families and local storytellers to share their favorite books and stories
  • Classroom door decoration contest-- classrooms decorate their doors with pictures and information about books by their favorite authors.
  • Create bulletin boards featuring pictures of students and staff holding their favorite books or what they are currently reading.
  • Hold a staff "open house" introducing new print and electronic books, resources, or programs they may not be aware of.  Refreshments, music, prize drawings and a festive mood to be included!
  • Try a book blind date or book speed date--plenty of ideas at theRead if you Like wikispace.
  • Host a Reader's Theater with various classes performing for each other or a character dress-up day with teachers joining in the fun.
  • Collaborate with the Art or Graphic Design teachers on a book jacket, bookmark, or promotional poster project.
  • Have student assists or certain classes create book trailers and feature them in your morning announcements.
  • April is also Poetry Month so why not hold a Poetry Slam interspersed with book talks about your library's poetry books? 
  • If you are in North Carolina, the NC State Library has outlined a 5-day challenge of activities for April 14-19, complete with directions for each challenge and prize drawings! Consider incorporating these ideas into your celebration.

What about you?  Do you have a creative way to spotlight the great things happening in your library, foster literacy, and spread the library love? If so, please leave us a comment.

In closing, I'll pass along this quote I came across recently and have made a part of my email signature: 
"Our school library took me to worlds I could only visit in my mind, but it exercised my imagination and shaped my dreams. I shall be forever grateful. Growing up in a home with no magazines and few books, Monday mornings became the highlight of the week."     ---Margaret H. Baroody, Author

Don't ever forget, what we do does indeed change lives, so let's not be shy about telling our stories all April long!
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Comments on "Time to Tell your Story!"

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Carla Shinn - Monday, April 28, 2014
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More about book speed dating here: http://www.slj.com/2014/03/programs/get-on-board-the-book-speed-dating-train-programming-for-teens/ Here's our version, which we call speed booking: https://www.smore.com/4jau

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