Monday, March 20, 2006

Book by book

Early on in my Nutty Library Adventure (NLA as I like to call it), I realized that all those online articles I'd read about "collection building" and clever library stuff like that were totally moot. We had no money, so building meant getting as much stuff as possible and scooping out the good stuff. (As an aside, we did ultimately get one remarkable gift that enabled us to buy a lot of "levelled readers" (a totally new term for me) the teachers wanted, the creme de la creme of the picture book world,as well as dictionaries, thesauri, and atlases for the classrooms.) And when I look at what we've got and what we need... well, if I had it to do over again, I'd do it the same way.

In fact, just this week I met with someone who's agreed to help build another new Charter school's library, and I realized once again what odds we faced to accomplish what we've accomplished. I'm a big fan of the Charter movement, but that a school could be approved to open without a basic library either required or provided... well, heck, that tells ya a lot about the state of the educational system today. This quirk really does stem from $$$$, I'm sure, but if a few of us could gather 9,000 books in 6 months, imagine what the LAUSD could do?

The proof is on the shelves, so to speak, and it's pretty hard to find giant gaping holes in our collection based on what our teachers and kids want. Now, as we grow into higher numbered grades, our non-fiction section is gonna be lacking, but we'll have money in time, and it can fill in holes there. But chapter books? Classic and new MG/YA fiction? Picture books from the sublime to the ridiculous? Oh, yeah. We got those. And again, we have the books our kids want to read... which'll likely lead to an upcoming post: Barbie and SpongeBob books (and the like), deep six 'em or keep 'em gladly? Any early opinions most welcome....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In Vermont there is a book award called the Red Clover (our state flower). It is given every year for the best picture book. (Prek-4th grade)

What I am getting at is, our librarian gets all the books for free each year from the state. I don't know if CA has the same kind of thing, but that would be a way to get the newest great picture books.