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GROWING NEW READERS: Library leaders step up at Buice

October 8, 2018

When students at Buice Elementary School hit the books, they’ll likely get some help from their peers — students who have been chosen as Library Leaders.

The campus has six decentralized libraries on its two floors, so Library Media Specialist Brandy Dugger can’t be with students at all times. To help out, there are 60 library leaders chosen from each grade level.

The idea of Library Leaders was born out of necessity, Principal Alicia Press said in an email.

“When Christie Shefchik took the helm of our unique library in 2016, she realized the need for additional trained hands to help our students locate books around our campus. She chose to use this need as an opportunity to increase the capacity and accountability of our most valuable resource — our students,” Press said.

“Over the years, the Library Leader title has grown to be a highly sought-after and coveted position. It is a big honor for those students who have demonstrated the skill set necessary to earn this responsibility,” she added.

Library Leaders undergo training so they know how to find books on the shelves and how to clean up and keep the libraries organized. Dugger said she and some of the volunteers check the books in and re-shelve them for students.

“So far, it’s working well. We’ve found a system that really works for us. Our students are very responsible for the books. … All students get trained from me on how to take care of books; things we do and don’t do with books. They get training on how to utilize the library on their own. A lot of times our teachers are with them to kind of help monitor them, but a lot of times, as you can see here, the students do a lot of it on their own,” Dugger said.

If a student wants to be a Library Leader, they tell their teachers. The teacher then gives Dugger four to five student names.

“I will then meet with all of the applicants, one grade level at a time. Those applicants will fill out an application for me. They’re asked to do some different tasks like putting words in A, B, C order; putting numbers in order; and then I interview them. I’ll ask them specific questions about why they want to be a Library Leader and what they think that means,” Dugger said. “I give them scenarios, like if this were to happen what would you do?”

Then she ends up choosing two students per grade level.

Once they become Library Leaders, Dugger conducts two trainings — one for students in kindergarten through second grade and one for those in grades three through five.

“The k through 2, we teach them how to come into the library, pick up trash off the floor, push the books back up into a standing position (and) make sure the spines are facing out. If they find books laying around the shelf that are not in the right spot, they can move those books to the black rolling cart which tells me they need to be put back up in their correct place so we don’t have k through 2 (students) putting books back up on the shelf for us. We do that ourselves,” Dugger said.

Students in grades three through five do the same thing.

“The only difference is we also teach them how to utilize the computer to search for books. Then they can they can help the students find those books on the shelf,” Dugger said.

If there are students reading on a different grade level, they must have a Library Leader with them to go to the other library and they have to stay with their Library Leader the entire time, she added.

Library Leaders are chosen in the fall and spring semester. Dugger said the program teaches students leadership skills and responsibility.

“And they also … know that it is a privilege and it can be taken away. So if our behavior is not where it needs to be, if we’re not following our expectations, if we’re running, we’re not being responsible with our students, or in our libraries, we can take that Library Leader badge away and we will re-interview and give it to someone else in the classroom,” Dugger said.

Michael Garcia, a 10-year-old fifth-grader, said this is his third year as a Library Leader.

“I want to be organized and I love helping out people and finding … books they want. It’s really exciting because I always see smiles on their faces and it makes me happy,” Garcia said.

Mason Martin, a 7-year-old first-grader, said this is his second stint as a Library Leader.

“It’s because I help like helping people out and finding books with them,” Martin said.

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