Reading time: 2 minutes. Relevant member resource: Books in Film 2018 printable poster
Jenny Gill, Librarian, Holy Trinity CE Secondary School, gives details on school librarians’ contribution that may be unfamiliar to many teachers
There is now good evidence that reading for pleasure promotes higher educational attainment and helps emotional development. For librarians, particularly those working with young people, reading for pleasure has always been a top priority. Guiding potential readers towards the ‘right’ book is a big part of the librarian’s role.
While individual conversations help in the process of choosing, independent selection is to be encouraged. However, faced with shelves of books, the possibilities can be overwhelming. A key tool in helping readers choose books for themselves is the creation of themed displays. This offers a smaller number of books and makes the choice less daunting.
One theme that I return to on a regular basis is books that have been made into films. From past experience I know that the release of book-based films, such as The Hunger Games and The Fault in our Stars, often provoke a demand for the book, frequently from students who are not normally readers. If a book is not available on request, it could be a missed reading opportunity.
Book-based films often provoke a demand for the book, frequently from students who are not normally readers
So every year, usually in December or January, I make a point of researching which books will be coming out as films in the next 12 months and ensure the books are in stock. If space and time allow, I also create a display to promote the books. SSAT have produced a Books in Film 2018 poster of this list you can download, print and display in your school.
I am not unique in adding reading material to the library in this way. This is but one strategy employed by school librarians up and down the country to keep the fiction stock up to date and relevant to our students.
I know this because the information gathered for such themed displays and book promotions is frequently shared – or more often garnered – from among the school librarian community.
Any librarian working with young people acquires a good knowledge of teenage and young adult fiction through reading as much material as they can. While each individual will have their own unique knowledge, with modern technology each librarian is part of a ‘hive mind’ commanding a rich and intimate knowledge of teenage and young adult books which is readily shared via forums, both formal and informal.
As I write, World Book Day (Thursday 1 March) is on the horizon and librarians are planning displays and events to promote reading. The email wires are hot with exchanges of ideas and suggestions for themed collections such as ‘What to read after Harry Potter/Diary of a Wimpy Kid/…’, recommendations for activities, author visits and so on.
Links to real-world events are often used to inspire displays too: for example, the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, special anniversaries, in fact anything that young people can relate to.
In addition to subject related non-fiction texts, librarians in school settings also seek to support teaching staff by creating fiction reading lists related to particular topics or events such as STEM weeks. In recent times I have seen requests for suggestions for fiction involving numbers and maths, particular geographical areas and historical fiction set in particular time periods. Reading such fiction helps students to become more engaged with topics.
So, to answer the question in the title of this piece, I shared because it is best practice among school librarians, because it validates my research and because I am glad to be able to contribute. But most of all, I shared because I wanted to be sure that I was offering our students the best choice possible in their search for the next ‘reading for pleasure’ book.
Register your interest to join: SSAT Librarians’ email forum