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Recognizing School Library Month

Recognizing School Library Month

Each year in April, media centers in schools around the district celebrate School Library Month. During this month and all school year, library media specialists find unique ways to get students engaged in reading and encourage a passion for learning. 

Osseo Middle School
At Osseo Middle School (OMS), library media specialist Amy Wagner has worked to make the library a place where all students and staff can feel welcome and comfortable. The library is open to students before school, with almost 100 kids coming to check out books, work on a collaborative sticker art project, hang out and talk with their friends. 

Two students in a library

“At OMS in the last few years, we have really tried to find ways to engage students, even if they are not calling themselves readers. It is more of a common space where people can feel welcome,” Wagner said. “I am trying to find ways to engage those students who aren’t common readers but also give the students who are readers a space.”

Students around a table in the library

Wagner hosts fun contests in the library to encourage student participation, including ghost book character challenges, bookmark decorating contests and jar estimation contests. These contests serve to get students in to use the library for things other than just checking out books. Wagner also hosts a lunch book club for students who have a love of reading and want to come together to discuss different books. 

New this year, Wagner has started a library squad, full of students of all grades who applied to come in during advisory period to help out in the library. The squad helps with book displays, comes up with prizes for contests and gives book recommendations. Some of the students on the squad are on a marketing team to create digital signage found throughout the building.

A student with books

“Their goal as students is, how can we engage other students in the library more,” Wagner said. “They make it a place where people want to work, hang out, check out books and ignite that passion for reading in students who may not have that.”

The library at OMS is also a place for staff with a love of reading to come together, with staff events, book swaps and contests.

Two students by a book shelf

“I am excited for the libraries that are being remodeled coming up because they will really be an open environment where everyone will want to be,” Wagner said.

Rush Creek Elementary School
Rush Creek Elementary School library media specialist Donna Ohlgren’s goal this school year has been to move students to becoming readers and writers. One way she has done this is through author and illustrator visits, with every student having a visit over the course of the school year. During the visits, the students learn what it means to be an author and illustrator and can ask questions and get book recommendations.

“I think the biggest piece of trying to get kids in front of real live authors is the idea that it motivates them to be readers and writers,” Ohlgren said. “To see people who do it on a daily basis is big, because you don’t get that otherwise. It is kind of neat to see the person who put a book together in front of you.” 

Students with an author

Fourth and fifth graders were visited by Nina Hamza, who wrote the Maud Hart Lovelace nominee book “Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year.” After the initial visit, Hamza returned to do a writing workshop with the fifth graders. Hamza’s message to students was, “You may not be ready to make it, so fake it.” 

Third graders met virtually with Alan Page, the author of four childrens books and also a former Minnesota Viking and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice. Page read them his book “Grandpa Alan's Sugar Shack.” 

An author with a book

Second grade classes met with James Burks, author and illustrator of the graphic novel series Bird and Squirrel. After talking about being an illustrator he showed students how to draw Bird, having the kids draw along with him. 

an author on a video call

Kindergarten and first graders will be visited by author and illustrator Rick Chrustowski this upcoming May.