I am the librarian at an urban public elementary school (grades K-5) in New York. We are a high needs school with a large population of English Language Learners (54% of our students), and only 50% of our students read at or above their grade levels. The school has about 1,600 students, and only about 9,500 library books. 3rd-5th grade students can only visit the library once per month, but due to the very low ratio of books per student I can only allow them to check out one book at a time.
Day in and day out, the library is a chorus of requests: "Miss, can you give us scary stories?" "Goosebumps?" "Scary stories?" "R.L. Stein?" These questions are usually followed by a loud, "AWWWWWW!" after I tell them that all of the scary books have been checked out by other students. These students need to practice their independent reading, and one of my jobs as the school librarian is to help them do this. However, it's difficult to get them to read if I don't have the books that they want!
In short, I need more scary books to give to my students. I need books that they want to read, books that make them realize that reading is fun and worthwhile. I want to give them books that will make them beg their teachers to take them back to the library. I want them to be able to improve their reading skills without realizing that they're doing it.
I am the first librarian that the school has had in many years, and I am doing my best to foster a love of reading in my students. I think I'm on the right track, but my success in this endeavor is dependent on my students having access to books that they want to read. Please - help me scare my school!
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