Why present a lesson about the library? In honor of National Library Week! What a great way to give them the chance to practice W.5.8 while learning about an alternative type of library.
I ask the kids how important a library is, and to write adjectives to describe the library. It's is a question we explored in my lesson, "The Library Question: Can it Survive in Its Current State?" This, however, is the week of the LIBRARY, so I bring it up again. The digital source they use is a video. After watching this they recall pertinent information to write a summary, adding persuasion to their paragraphs that entices others to participate.
The kids feel pretty much as they did before. Libraries have their place, but with the internet, it's not as important to have them as it was at one time. I then ask them what they think of the library as a gathering place. An area where they can talk to friends as they look for books or do research. Of course, this is met with more enthusiasm, with more than one child referencing our city library as a place they head to right after school each day.
With the social aspect of a library mentioned, I expand it to a core idea of what it means to borrow. How important is it that kids have the opportunity to meet, look for books, check them out for free, and continue the cycle as long as they want? Most kids agree that it's a great system, when you get right down to it. Example of a Little Free Library.
Having set the stage, I tell them that although libraries across the country may be changing, the idea of social borrowing is not going away anytime soon. In fact, there is a unique idea that's taken hold across the country, and it's something they could participate with themselves.
To my surprise, TWO of my students have actually seen Little Free Libraries in person. One girl lived on a street in Wisconsin and a neighbor had the LFL in the yard, and another's grandparents' live across the street from one. I immediately changed gears a bit, and we did a search on the websites' map to locate them. It was an unexpected buy-in for the rest of the kids.
Students are interested in this cool little idea. For a project that started only two years ago, it's amazing to see how it's gotten off the ground. As of January 2014, 15,000 Little Free Libraries were registered in all 50 states, and in 40 countries.
The original idea for the Little Free Libraries came to the founder, Todd Bol, as a tribute to his mother, a school teacher with a love of books. Owners of Little Free Libraries also have the opportunity to dedicate their own libraries to someone.
I don't really expect the students to create their own library in the front yard of their house, although some say they'd like to immediately. They will, however, design a Little Free Library in the classroom and Discuss their Little Free Libraries with a friend. To give them a few visuals, I pull up the Little Free Libraries images on google. After they see these, and complete their own illustration, the next task is to write a descriptive paragraph about its contents, where to put it in the community, and how to make it a success.
One of the students decided that we should make one (they look like bird houses or doll houses) and set it on the table outside of our classroom. I thought that was an adorable idea (there are a lot of homeowners associations that would prevent them from putting one in their own front yard,) but ask them, "Would it be a good idea if our classroom was a destination area?" Kids getting out of class and coming to our room...noticing kids outside of the window looking at books and wondering which ones they'd pick, etc. I liked the enthusiasm, and asked them to keep on thinking!
Showing the house with the Little Free Library in WI (google image must have been before they had it.)
They enjoy sharing the illustrations Sharing their LFLs they've made and many want to read their descriptions. I put these great pictures onto a bulletin board.
Included is an article about a new Little Free Library, calling it a menace, for fun. It's short, and I liked the way they wrote it. It was a nice little text example to share with the kids. Another article with good pictures is Libraries are Dying? Think Again!
To finish off the lesson, I take them back to the traditional libraries, and a slide show on different libraries around the world. Although these are beautiful, when I asked the kids their favorite(s) and expected them to mention what we'd just seen, many said they really loved the Little Free Libraries, because they serve a great purpose.
Little Free Library illustration and dedication
Little Free Library illustration, dedication, and summary