Middle School Monday: It’s Still Summer by Julie Stivers
I truly only planned on writing one post about summer, but this topic caused discussion amongst school librarians who reached out to me—and it also caused some lingering discussion inside my own head. I can’t let this topic go, yet. Mainly because last week’s post was incomplete. I realized it as I spent some time in one of my favorite places.
The public library.
Gah, I love public libraries. How could I talk about what school librarians do during the summer without mentioning visiting our local public libraries?
Libraries have always been sanctuaries. We try to turn our school libraries into sanctuaries for our students [is there anything more rewarding than to feel like you’ve succeeded in that?] and we, in turn, enjoy visiting them ourselves.
I love seeing what books librarians and staff have recommended. That in and of itself is fascinating to me. [Imagine working with other librarians!] I especially look for those books recommended by our county’s teen library helpers.
It’s also enlightening to turn the tables on myself. When I walk in those library doors, I’m another patron. There is a power in that—and a lot to learn. What do I like seeing when I walk into the space? Book displays? Circ desk? It’s always grounding to stand on the opposite side from our normal role. And, the books, people. The books!
Some of us may be lucky enough to attend trainings or conferences over the summer—either that our school pays for or that we eat the cost for ourselves. We also spend time watching webinars as part of our ongoing PD. If you haven’t participated in one in a while, I encourage you to see what you’re missing.
I’m excited about this upcoming SLJ event: SLJ Teen Live Virtual Conference coming on August 10th. The keynote speakers are Meg Medina and Maggie Stiefvater. I don’t think any other promotion is necessary after that reveal, but this is “an online conference highlighting the biggest upcoming YA books and important issues impacting your teen materials and programming.” Register here.
In addition to the copious amounts of reading we do throughout the summer, there is time spent on choosing those books for our first book orders of the year. Clearly, this involves our own reading and the reading of multiple and diverse review sources.
This summer has been highlighted with necessary and illuminating discussion on the nature of reviewing and the overwhelmingly white POV represented in most reviews. For specific commentary on a new YA title, If you haven’t already, please read Black Voices Matter by Zetta Elliott and this Guest Review on Crazy QuiltEdi by Jennifer Baker. Of course, simply reading these reviews is not enough—we have to use this information to make informed decisions about our library purchases, or in this case for me, non-purchases.
For school librarians on a traditional calendar, we’re on the downward slope to the start of the school year. Have fun on that slide!
Filed under: Middle School Monday
About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
SLJ Blog Network