Library Week 2011 – not just the what but the why

It’s the first day of the 6th annual James Hargest Library Week …. and it’s time for me to launch myself on the world.  Well, the library world anyway, hopefully.

And what a start to Library Week it has been! I’m a big believer in collaboration of all types and once again, my Hargest Book Club guys have been a great team to collaborate with.  I’m constantly amazed, though never truly surprised at what these young people can come up with.  After arranging them into groups with specific responsibilities, they have organised Dress Up Day (a highlight of every Library Week), quizzes, competitions, displays and posters.  I quite literally couldn’t do it without them.

A new dimension to our Library Week this year is an activity being run through our English Department and coordinated by the wonderful Kerri Sullivan, English teacher extraordinaire. This is as simple as having students fill out a  visual book template which begins with the statement You’ll love this book because ….. Students will be encouraged to finish the statement for their favourite book.  At the end of the week Kerri and myself will compile the best ones and create a poster of student-recommended reads which will be put up in the library for students to look at, and hopefully help them find other good reads for themselves.

While setting up Library Week can take quite a bit of work, the pay-offs are well and truly worth it.  This can be the single most important marketing tool you can create within your library and your school. It is a way of bringing students into your library who might not otherwise come, gives you an opportunity to invite staff who might not normally visit.  It creates a buzz that you might find difficult to sustain or even replicate at other times of the year.  And it may just give you the impetus to have those conversations you’ve been wanting to have with key members of your management team.

What do you have to lose? If you’re not already, why not start planning your first library week today.  Here’s just a few ideas to get you going

If you already have Library Week firmly on your school calendar, I’d love you to share your top activities to inspire others to get started.  That’s what we school library flock-mates do!

14 thoughts on “Library Week 2011 – not just the what but the why

  1. Hi Senga,
    We believe in the value and fun of Library Week, too. This year we will run ours during the last week of term with the usual competitions, spot prizes and give aways. Anne’s (McLean) home baking is always a huge hit with the boys, too. (Those sitting on specially marked seats etc are the lucky recipients.)
    Have a wonderful Library Week

    Jackie McCormick
    Auckland Grammar School


    1. Home baking ….. now there’s a thought! My colleague, Lisa might be up for something like that! Particularly like the “spot prize” idea. Will have to see if I can come up with a way to incorporate that this week.


  2. Well done Senga that sounds great. I have just designed an empty bookmark with the heading “Read Me! Because….” to invite students and staff to add their comments and then slip inside books on display.
    We hold a Literacy week every year and our most popular event is an inter-house Spelling Quiz. We also show a film at lunchtimes (on the theme that we choose for the whole week) and this is always well attended. However, this year our theme for the week was “Bridges” and we held a bridge making competition which we judged with a toy truck loaded with a number of different weights. This practical activity done in pairs, proved to be extremely popular.


    1. Thanks Corinne
      I’ve heard of spelling quizzes before and they sound like fun. I’m going to note that down as a possible event for next year.


  3. We celebrated Library Day last week – condensing it down to just a day because of how busy this term has been. We started with all Form teachers reading a selected short story or poem to their class. We also had a Dream Career Dress Up day. At assembly I read a poem called ‘The Story’ by Glenn Colquhoun and awarded our Library badges. We also had 2 competitions running. A busy enough day.


  4. Hi Senga,

    We started our Library Week yesterday. We were fortunate enough to have John Marsden, who wowed our yr9-13s and 11 boys from St Paul’s College up the road. If anybody is ever able to get him he doesn’t disappoint. We have teachers reading their favourite books today, bookmark making for the Intermediate students, quizzes, literature treasure hunts, book bricks, and the finnale is a character parade on Friday at assembly. Have a great week everybody. Cheers, Kaaren, St Mary’s College.
    This is the second year we have run the Library Week and the buzz is great, so much planning involved in which character and what costume. So much fun.


    1. Very jealous that you managed to get John Marsden! He speaks very well and I can imagine how the kids would react to him. I must note down for next year the idea of teachers reading their favourite books. Great interval or lunch activity


  5. This year we are having our Library Week at the same time there is a school-wide Mufti Day. Our theme is ‘One world, Many stories’ and students and staff can come dressed as either something from literature or in national dress.
    I’m going to have a Living Library for the first time – thanks to Colleen Shipley from Marlborough for all the excellent tips during her session at conference.
    I love our student librarians, as they’re organising promotions,competitions and displays too.


  6. I love the idea of a Living Library and was disappointed I couldn’t make it to Colleen’s presentation at conference. I shall look forward to hearing how it all goes …. maybe Library Week 2012 for me


  7. Hi Senga
    We will be celebrating Library Week at the end of the term. It is a big event at our school with most students, and some of the staff, dressing up as a book characters on the Friday. We have a Parade in the hall at lunchtime judged by a visiting author. This year our theme will be around sport and reading. I am thinking of calling it “Pass it on” or “Pass that book”. The ideas flowing at the moment are: cut-out balls shapes decorating the library that students can write book suggestions on; ‘team-up’ to discuss books at lunchtime; ‘play fair’ (promote Creative Commons and copyright); a staff v student debate; a league table of the most popular books; ‘know the rules’ (promote reading about sport); and much much more.
    It is a lot of work, but lots of fun too.
    Coleen (St Oran’s College)


    1. I really like the idea of choosing a particular theme for your school’s library week. I can see there being real benefit from that. Something to definitely be considered for future years.


  8. All of this sounds great! I really like your collaboration with the English Dept to make the recommended reads poster – fabulous idea!

    What is your costume for dress-up day?


    1. Hey Carrie
      My costumes are always kept under wraps (like the pun!?) and are a closely guarded secret until “The Day” ….. I’ll blog on Thurs about how Dress Up Day turns out and all will be revealed!
      Previous years I’ve been Mary Poppins, Bad Jelly the Witch, The Mad Hatter, The White Queen from Narnia and Little Miss Muffet – complete with spider and bowl. Of course, none of these have any relevance to this years creation …..


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