Here’s some new details about me. You probably know by now that I am a mom of four great (ok, you may not know that but they really are GREAT), elementary/preschool – aged kiddos. What you do not know is that my rambunctious family lives in a home with just over 950 square feet (above ground). I hear your gasps! It is not whatever nightmare you are imagining. Promise. Or, we would have moved. When we moved in there were only three of us, so the two bedrooms and single bath were just fine, especially since one in our number was in diapers and consuming only liquids at the time.
I happen to be a very handy lady (toot, toot…haha, nah. No tooting horns, just a fun trait of mine- my husband might not agree since it means I love old homes that need LOTS of tlc). For Christmas, Santa has been know to leave things like table saws and power tools under the tree for me (YIPEE!). That jolly elf spoils me. Anyway, we finished the basement after moving in and did other extreme-style home renovations and now have four bedrooms and two baths and a formal dining room. We are cozy and perfectly happy in our little cottage. See how that one little word, “cottage” makes it seem so much better?! ;o)
Still, even with the extra room, thanks to a lot of elbow grease, we have a very small home. So you wouldn’t think that I would use up much of that space with a personal library. But, you’d be WRONG. I l-o-v-e my books! And I hoard my books. I went around and snapped some pictures of a few of our family book displays. No commenting on my dust bunnies – I’m a builder and reader, not a cleaner :oD. I did not enter my kids rooms to get pictures of their shelves because they are asleep and I would like them to stay that way…at least until 6am, their normal rise-and-shine time. They get that from their father.
As you can see, I have a library started already, I just need a classroom to keep building it in. I cannot imagine not having a library in my classroom one day. Sarah Andersen’s YA Love Blog, where she shares her wisdom in teaching and reading YA literature, is amazing. She does such a great job of breaking down classroom library creation and maintenance. Specifically, she reminds that it takes time and diligence. Patience is not a trait of mine, and it will be a challenge not to spend every penny I make on books at first. Luckily there are some other options.
I honestly never imagined the special opportunities that can come about while maintaining a classroom library if taken advantage of, which Sarah outlines in her blog. By allowing students the opportunities to donate books and raise additional funds for class libraries, she explains that we provide them with a sense of classroom ownership. It is a beautiful concept and so simple, really. I am a perfectionist/micro-manager working to let go of these tendencies in order that others can receive the opportunities for learning and growth too. I want to see these opportunities given to my students
Even in small classrooms, there’s no excuse to skip a library. It is just too important. Pictured above, is a corner shelf with our remaining board and fabric books for young children that I used to fill a tiny space (it is shrinking as my kids get older :o(). To the left are some old wooden crates that I use as end tables in my living room, beside the couch, which hold library books, current holiday-themed books, and new books that we are reaching for a lot. Each nightstand and bedroom shelf has another stack of special or favorite books as well. The tv unit I built, pictured below, is packed with books. I admit that I do purge books along with everything else in my home. Don’t forget, I have a small home and limited space. When a book is no longer relevant, read, or enjoyed in my home, it is time for it to move on to another home/location where it can be loved as all books should be.
I look forward to building a classroom library and filling it with beloved (and even loved/hated) books. When I do, I will definitely be referring back to YA Love Blog for tips and reminders on not only building a library, but also managing the students’ borrowing as well. Really, there is no point to a fabulous YA book if it is not finding its way into the hands and minds of teens (and adults!). And when that happens, using Penny Kittle’s guidance, found her book, Book Love, on setting individualized goals for each student’s reading and then helping students see their unique progress, will be a beautiful and important task to make a priority as a teacher.
Any fun ideas on filling nooks and crannies with books out there? I even use them for decorations, but those pictures will be for another day :o)