Recommended Reads

Because cloning myself is completely out of the question (my husband doesn’t think the world is ready for more than one me), I’ve had to consider ways to work smarter, not harder. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is being able to connect a reader with the right book. However, that reader often walks into the library when I am working with a teacher or teaching a class. I hate to see a student leave the library empty-handed because I was unable to find the time to work with him before he had to return to class.

Recommended Reads Notebook

To address this problem, I recently created a Recommended Reads notebook that is displayed on our Circulation Desk’s counter. It will remain a work in progress but currently contains:

  • Yearly South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Nominees brochures (annotated brochures provided by fellow SC school librarians and available at the SCASL website)
  • Copies of our B.O.W. (Book of the Week) signs.  Each contains a photo of a book’s cover and an annotation meant to entice students to read the book.
  • YALSA’s 2010 Teen’s Top Ten Nominations (with the titles in our collection highlighted)
  • Readalike Lists created using ATN Reading Lists
  • The Great Scavenger Hunt Book list (with the titles in our collection highlighted)

Next I will be adding a section on Series.  It will contain annotated lists categorized by genre to help readers determine the sequence of a series.

Not Reluctant Readers, but Readers Reluctant to Use the Notebook

At first, I had to physically hand the book to students to encourage them to discover what it contained.  I have been rewarded recently with seeing students approach the desk and pick up the notebook on their own when they are looking for a book to read.  I still love to help students find books, but it is gratifying to know that even when I am not able to verbally suggest a book, I can still guide students towards books they might enjoy.

Suggestions for Improvement?

What else would be helpful to readers who have to rely on this notebook for a recommendation?


6 Responses to “Recommended Reads”

  1. Cathy Nelson Says:

    Challenge some students to make Animoto promos and prominently display signs or posters that point kids to the URLs–tag the Animotos with keywords from the books.

    Look at some of Joyce Valenza’s ideas for “Reading 2.0” as well.

  2. Lesley Edwards Says:

    I’ve had English teachers ask their kids for list ideas like “Don’t leave high school without reading …” and then display the lists. The kids seem to go for books their peers recommend.

  3. informania Says:

    Thanks, Cathy and Lesley! I like that both of you have suggested getting student input into my Recommended Reads notebook. Students will often listen to suggestions from their peers before those from adults.

  4. Heather Loy Says:

    Loved your notebook and am jealous of your new library.

    One thing that always draws students at my school are the “recommended reads” book display on the corner of the circulation desk. I’m constantly having to refill the display. We fold an index card and stick half of it in the bottom of the book and write the name of the student or teacher who recommended the book. Students love to make recommendations and if the teacher is popular, their recommended book will go quickly, too! You have those nice four corner shelves on your circ desk – make use of them!

  5. informania Says:

    You’re right – I have great “real estate” at the Circ Desk with the four corner units built in. There are probably multitudes of ways to approach this, but next year I could assign a corner to each grade and one for teachers. That would ensure input from all.
    Thanks for the tip!

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