Writing 101, Day Fifteen: library club

I have never been one to attend conferences and enjoy them. Nor have I attended many events, thinking ooh, I’m really going to miss this if it stops. After contemplating this assignment for a few hours and wracking my brain, I did come up with a weekly event that would break my heart if it ended. Library Club!

Established at our local school by myself, the Library Club meets every Thursday during lunch hour. At first children clamoured to join and organised chaos ensued every Thursday with books’ name thrown about as we wildly discussed favourite authors and upcoming children’s stories. Over time, the numbers decreased and only the stalwart readers have remained.

This has not diminished my love for the club. Seeing the children sitting in weird and wonderful positions on their bean bags or on stools whilst pouring over the new additions ordered into our library is a joyful sight. Merry laughter permeates the shelves as someone finds the book called ‘Snot Jokes’! We giggle at the silly jokes and I refer a wayward student who does not believe history can be fun to the Horrible Histories comics.

Unfortunately this is not a paid job and my family fight with me on the value of volunteering my time for nearly two years versus finding a paid job in a ‘real’ library. It comes to the point closer to the end of term where I make the hard decision to quit. Within days I revoke my decision and put my name down for another term of running my club.

My biggest fear is, if I decide to stop volunteering in our local school library, no-one will step up to encourage and assist the children. My hard work will dissolve into nothing and the library will return to the chaos I found it in a few years ago. This is enough to keep me signing up for the next term and the next. But at some point I have to ask myself where it ends. Bills have to be paid and my books do not write themselves!

If anyone has the answer, I would love to hear from them as this is an ongoing dilemma I have no way of resolving myself.

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8 responses to “Writing 101, Day Fifteen: library club

  1. I don’t have an answer, but I can tell you as a mom with 2 kids who have been involved in elementary and intermediate school book clubs, the person in charge makes all the difference. I am assuming our club’s leader is not a paid position either, considering how many different people have had the job. The leader makes it. My daughter loved it one year, so of course we signed up the next year and we did not love it nearly as much. It’s too bad because she has never developed the same love of reading that I have. We have not given up, but don’t underestimate the influence you have on our children. They can tell when someone does something out of love. So, thank you!

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    • A huge thank you for your response. I have to admit the thought of children growing up without the ability to love books/magazines/comics, anything that encourages them to read, gives me the motivation to continue for as long as I can.

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  2. Libraries are the treasure houses of humanity and civilization.
    What you are doing is of great import (and will have a significant place on a resume: look at the skills needed to do what you did and do with this program)
    Librarians – both public and academic – are an interwoven world. They talk. By volunteering, you enter their world. Time to network. Join the national and state organizations. Let them get to know you – and know you need a job. Check their websites for job openings. Does the school district have several libraries needing librarians? Propose splitting paid time between several school? Would they pay you consultant’s pay if you did book clubs in several schools?(not ideal, but a way to start)
    Don’t know if you have lib. degree, but some school districts will help pay for those. The big University(and you want one with serious lib. prep history) with library degrees offer online courses(Denton, TX is one).
    Books rock – electronic or traditional. Book clubs introduce words and stories to kids.
    If children don’t read widely, they rarely develop good writing skills (learn by example) or build vocabulary – both critical for real life working careers.
    Fingers crossed it all works for you

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  3. Ideally you should be able to get a ‘paid’ job in a library or book shop and also do some occasional volunteering. Perhaps you could look for a replacement? Try and get another person involved, do it together at first then let her/him gradually take over? Someone who’s retired and has time and patience? a grandparent? a parent?
    Good luck! It sounds like you’re doing a great job!

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    • That would be the ideal situation but unfortunately due to budget cuts and local library jobs running into the extraordinary in terms of working hours, I wouldn’t be able to keep volunteering. I keep trying to attract other parents/grandparents to the role, but haven’t had any bites as yet. Thanks for the response and advice. I shall keep looking.

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      • I’m a ‘young’ grandmother and we generally have more time than parents and I’m sure some might like to get involved, but how could you find the person? Can you advertise in the school? Ask parents? Good luck!

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      • I might do that if it comes time to part. I laugh at myself because thinking of quitting right now brings tears to my eyes! All those kids and no-one to find their favourite book, update the waiting list for the latest Tom Gates or retidy the shelves for the hundredth time! Knowing that I’ve listened to their wishes and ordered the ‘dream list’ for them and topic list for the curriculum, then standing back and watching as the books are read and re-read is incredible. Sorry I’m rambling, but it does mean a lot to me and I hope if someone does take it up, they care for it as much as I do.

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