May 8, 2011

Rock Star Mentality

Last week I had a chance to write a guest post over at ECSLibrary.  This week I get to bring the post home to The Lemme Library.  Here it is!
Children’s Book Week celebrates the idea that children’s books change lives.  Children’s books change lives?  That’s an awfully big statement, right?  Well, I know from experience that it is absolutely, 100%, without a doubt true.  It’s also true that books have some stiff competition these days: video games, internet, tv... the list goes on and on.  So, how can librarians get kids to put down those other temptations and pick up a book?  I’ll let you in on my little secret: Rockstar Mentality.  To get kids pumped about books, to get them to read and love reading, to let those books change their lives, you must become a rockstar.  Yes... a rockstar librarian.  
How do you adopt this rockstar-mentality?
1.  You have to be the librarian that kids love and the librarian that loves kids.  When you walk around the library helping kids, there should be a flock of kids following you, waiting for you to help THEM find a great book.  Kids should wave to you in the hall and yell your name when you walk to your car during lunch recess.  
2.   You have to know your kids and what they are passionate about.  Once you know that, you have to get books about those topics into their hands.  If you know that Ceci loves horses- every single Monday you BEST have at least 3 great horse books ready for her.  She may ask for your autograph, so be ready.  
3.  You have to refrain from taking yourself so seriously.  Yes, with librarianship comes great responsibility- budget, networking, collection development, yadda-yadda-yadda.  But really, you wouldn’t have a job if you didn’t have those kids.  So, forget about all that business mumbo-jumbo and remember why you actually became a SCHOOL librarian and not a law librarian.  Have fun.  Laugh.  Be silly.  Break rules and never, ever shush people.  
4.  You have to build the trust of your students.  Don’t hand them a book you’ve never read.  This means more work for you- lots of late nights reading, but it pays off.   Don’t tell a kid that  a book is awesome if you hated it. They know and they will think you like bad books.  Keep your promises.  If you say you are going to do something- do it.  They may be “just kids”, but they are smart and they remember everything.  If they can trust you, they will keep coming back to you. 

Rockstars aren’t made overnight.  It will take some time and dedication, but if you follow these 4 steps, you will discover your inner rockstar.  You may be rolling your eyes after reading this, thinking: “Rockstar?  How silly!  I have my masters degree in Information Science- I will never act like a rockstar!”   But remember, you are the only one standing between your students and all of those life-changing books.  If acting like a rockstar gets one kid- just 1 kid to read a book, isn’t it worth it?  That’s what I thought.  Rock on.

1 comment:

  1. Children's (and teen) books definitely change lives. I don't think I could have survived the abuse I endured without books--without the escape they gave me, the positive examples, the feeling of friendship....