="Title" content="Issues and challenges of a small library">

Friday, March 24, 2006

Getting the students to read what they borrow

Listserve Conversations

Below is an email message sent to OZTL listserve and my reply. Of course the borrowing of books is something that concerns librarians - making sure that students get access to the books and borrow something they really wish to read.
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, 23 March 2006 9:53 AM
Subject: [OZTL_NET] Borrowed books not being read

Because we are a growing school (over 600) I actually have less aide time in the library. The aide spends all her time shelving returns that have not been read.

Some teachers say every child must borrow three books. Others make the children return their books every week even though they can keep their books for two weeks.

I am thinking of reducing the number of books children can borrow to two but that seems a backward step. What is your loan limit (primary school) for children? Our limit is three.

How do you get children to actually read the books they borrow? The number of children that actually reborrow a book after a week is one or two per class. I love children borrowing but I know most of them do not read the books.

What do you do if the teacher says children must borrow three books? return every book each week? The return trolley is so depressing when it is full of books that have not been read by the Year 4-7 children.

Looking forward to your suggestions.
Queensland SS

My Reply
I allow our children to borrow only one book. ....before you gasp....we are a small school of 140 students and I am on campus 2 days a week. Only this year have I managed to have my aid in the library before school on the days I am not there. So effectively the library is open every day except every second Friday before school and every afternoon after school, and on the lunch breaks when I am on campus.
We could not keep up with the reshelving of the books if I allowed 3-4 books per child - Aside from not having enough stock to rotate. With the library open every day, I cannot see there is a reason to take multiple books out at once. (especially fiction) I do allow more books on special circumstances, when I know that the children are researching, but for fiction I allow only one item at a time. Think how many fiction books you can read at once?
All children are on site everyday and the library is open on enough occasions during the week to allow the children to borrow when they have completed a book. Many children come in to have their fiction titles renewed if they have not finished them.
Today I sent out 14 overdue notices, which is still 10% of my student population and 14 more students than I had time to chase up. I would not have time follow to students with multiple loans. To my way of thinking it is a way of working smarter, with the limited amount of hours available.

Ms A.

This reply also came to the list to address the concern.
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, 24 March 2006 8:18 AM
To: OZTL_NET@listserv.csu.edu.au
Subject: [OZTL_NET] Borrowed books not being read

I raised a similar question on the NZ school library listserv recently.
A couple of things I found helpful from the replies were based on the ideas of creating a culture where borrowing books was an expectation rather than "compulsory." Also that helping students find the right book in the first place is important. One school was fortunate enough to have an assistant who could work with more reluctant borrowers for this purpose, though providing this kind of personalised service may be more difficult elsewhere.



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