“Exciting news,” said Librarian Juli Hoffman as she wheeled a bright book mobile into Dawn Ausiello’s first grade classroom. “Everybody gets new books today!”
Students couldn’t take their eyes off of what she was rolling—not only was her cart full of enticing books, it looked like the bus in Mo Willems’ “Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!”
Hands shot up immediately.
“Do you have any Lego books?”
“Do you have any books about superheroes?”
“Do you have any scary dragon books?”
This year, each elementary school librarian is visiting individual classrooms rather than students visiting the library. It limits close contact between children browsing library shelves and prevents students from using a space that’s shared by the whole school. Librarians prepare for each visit by stocking their rolling shelves with a broad range of age-appropriate fiction and non-fiction. They make the visits fun, too—incorporating a book talk or craft project connected to a book.
Mrs. Hoffman held up some of the books in her cart. By asking students what they liked to read and gauging their responses to her suggestions, she soon found two books that matched each student’s interests. One child dove into a fact-filled book about sharks, another was quickly immersed in the newest Rainbow Magic fairy book.
Students can keep library books for a week, returning them to the school librarian at the next visit. Books have a one-week quarantine period before they return to circulation. In addition to the physical books, all students have unlimited access to a virtual library of e-books and audio books.
Before Mrs. Hoffman wheeled her wares to the next class, she read "You're Finally Here!" by Melanie Watt, to the students. They shared laughs about the funny bunny who has a hard time waiting and drew their own versions of him.