Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Library That Never Was

It was a year ago this week that I presented my idea to create a guided reading lending library for my school to the assistant principal. She loved the idea and we immediately started working on putting it together after the last day of school. Many teachers were paid per-session rate ($40/hr.) to help me collect, organize, and level the books. I also planned a whole PD session on how to do guided reading. In September I bought supplies to hold the books and created a check-out system. I was given an empty classroom to set everything up and I spent many lunch periods and preps putting the finishing touches on everything. Additional books were needed to fill in the gaps so I wrote out a huge book order. The library was ready for teachers to come in and check out books! Here is a picture of what it looks like . . .

Now here's the sad part of the story: Not a single teacher ever got to use the library.

As I worked to finish the preparations at the beginning of the year I tried to set a date with the principal to introduce the library and how to use it as well as to give the PD that I'd planned. She picked some date in October but it didn't work out. Then she suggested I give it at the Election Day PD. "November will be here before you know it." Well, turned out we had district people talking to us about data that whole day so it got pushed back again. And so on and so on until we all practically forgot about it. After the ELA I pushed to introduce it again because "Book Clubs" were the focus in the upper grades and that would be perfect for the teachers to have sets of books to check out. Still didn't happen. Finally it started getting to the point where the year was wrapping up. Is anyone even *teaching* guided reading now (if they ever were)? I just didn't feel motivated to bring it up again.

Now it is the last week of school. Half of my book order arrived last week. Today I integrated them into the library. And still not a single teacher has been able to take advantage of the library and all of the time, effort, and money that has gone into putting it together. I fear for the fate of the library next year. The classroom that the books are housed in will go back to being an actual classroom. The books could fit in a large closet but the proper shelving would have to be installed to make them fit and be accessible. Half of my books can't be ordered until next year's budget "opens up."

I still can't figure out why they dropped the ball on this one. All the work was done. All the effort put in. Plenty of money spent. A simple workshop and set of keys was all I needed.


17 (really 15) more years said...

That's a damn shame. We have something similar (but I have to tell you, not nearly as well done) in my school, and it is used constantly.

Your talents are clearly wasted in your school.

Anonymous said...

Perfect example of the bureaucracy. All that matters is that you are well-liked by your superiors so stop being such a goodie-goodie.

J said...

aw man, that sucks. good thing to put on your resume, though! :)

maybe you can get the word out in the August PDs and get the teachers checking out the books right away.

Ms. M said...

I definitely will try to do that. That is if they have a home. My biggest fear is they will get moved somewhere and disorganized and disrupted in the process.

NYC Educator said...

Sorry to hear that story and even sorrier to say I've heard and experienced many others like it. If you haven't read Catch 22 yet, you might want to add it to your summer reading list.

I like your new look.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I am an ESL teacher from IL. I am wondering if you could write a blog about your schedule this past year and how many kids you had. How did you make it all work, and how many students did you have? Are you required to see all of your students daily? Thanks!

sexy said...