Cindy Crushes Programming: School Visits after School
I love going to visit schools. I visit schools for many reasons but my favorite part is a school visit for an after school club, because the teens are usually there by choice. It is like a mini program at the school where we meet semi-regularly and we all have fun. Here I will talk about how I prepare for my after school club visits.
Step 1: Make Connect with the Teacher
At the beginning of the school year I email the Library Media Specialist with information about the library and reintroduce myself. I ask they forward the email to all the teachers at the school. I then email teachers who led clubs I have talked to before. Here is an example of an email I have previously sent that goes over all the library services we offer to schools and teachers.
“It is that time again, when school is just around the corner. Just a reminder: I am Miss Cindy the Teen-Focused librarian at the White Oak Library District. I am so excited to meet your students and help you in any way possible. The White Oak Library District is here for you and your students.
Here are some of the services I can provide: Classroom Visits, in person and Virtual. Bag services (we can provide bags of books for your classroom that can be checked out for six weeks at a time); Booklists (we can help you by making booklists related to the subject you are teaching); and if you need anything else we can brainstorm how to better help you and your class. I love helping out with fun activities with after school clubs.
Can I come to your school to help your students start the year off right? Are there any dates which would work better for me to visit? My schedule is open for school visits. I am happy to come in person or to Zoom into your classroom. Please let me know which dates work out best for you. I would love to talk to as many classes as possible. I can talk to a large group or separate classes. I want to do what works best for you.
In case your students need volunteer hours, we offer hours in a few different ways.
We have fun virtual escape rooms! These make for great class activities. They are for ages 13 and up but many work well for sixth grade and up. Here is the link http://www.whiteoaklibrary.org/teen-promotional-events-two
We also have a newer service for adults and teens who love reading YA and graphic novels. It is called #librarycrate. #LIBRARYCRATE is a three-month library book box subscription. When you sign up for the service you will receive two to three library Young Adult (YA) books picked specifically for you to check out each month. While you must return the library books and subscription box, each month you will receive special mystery gifts to keep. If you or your students are interested in it they can sign up using this link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScV-64nJpyhaYTl7Pl-wP-SJOYhTu6POrKzxKI4ZXli6qP53g/viewform
As we head into this school year, we at White Oak Library District want you to know we are here for you and your students!”
Step 2: Book a Date
I work with my supervisor and the teacher to find a date I can head to the club. It is much easier for me to go to an after school club than a full day but we can work to make it happen either way.
Step 3: Find Out What the Teacher Wants
If it is the first time I go to the club I start off with the standard facts about the library. I then learn about what the club is if it is an anime club I bring manga. February is Black History Month so the club I go to twice a month I did one day of Black History non-fiction books and one day of books by Black authors. When I pick the books for the book talk I try to read them all. I do not like booktalking a book if I do not know what is in. I know not everyone can do this. I do use sites like Common Sense Media to check to see what is in the book. Once I pick the books I send the list to the teachers for approval. Once it is okayed. I print out the handouts with the list of books and our library’s branding.
Step 4: Pick Out a Craft
I like to do crafts with clubs so I find out what the ages of the students are and try to gauge their abilities. Not everyone can do the same thing with crafts so I try to make it on the easier end. I like doing a lot of fandom crafts. Kids might not know what the word fandom is but they will know they like Marvel or Disney or Naruto. I gather the craft supplies and pack some of my endless supplies of totes. Here are a few crafts I have done at the schools.
Step 5: Go to the School and HAVE FUN!
This is a nice time for you to get to know the students in your library district. Talk to the teacher and promote your events. Remember you are a guest of the school. Always be kind and respectful to the school staff. Every staff member is important when going to the school. Always follow the school safety policies as well.
What do you do at club visits? What are your favorite activities to do with the teens at the schools you serve?
Filed under: Cindy Crushes Programming
About Cindy Shutts
Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she talks programming every 1st and 3rd Wednesday. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.
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