Second Grade Library Stars

Next week marks the beginning of our field trip adventure for all second graders in our community.

The idea was hatched at a meeting between our public library youth librarians and our school district's LMC folks. Our LMC colleagues came up with the grade level suggestion and we looked into how to make it happen. We wrote and received a mini-grant from our local Community Foundation (combined with a small starter grant from our local Parents magazine Coulee Parenting Connection) to help us fund buses for so all kids could visit the Main Library Youth Services area.  The schools collaborated by providing us with class lists so we could forgive outstanding fines and send library registrations out before the tours.

When we wrote the grant, we noted that only 25% of our community's kids participate in SLP. And no wonder - as we are going through the school lists, almost half the kids don't even have cards. Those are statistics we want to turn around.

We are making this into a mega-big deal. We want to introduce the kids to the library but also encourage return visits to check out books.  We are calling the kids "Library Stars" and using that as a thematic thread. Stars are on the specially designed registration forms, bookmarks and in the room.  Kids who return to the library once and check out material will receive a cool flashing star pin. After three return visits between the time of the tour (scheduled in February - May) and August, families can enter their names into a drawing to win a free night at a Marriot Hotel.

The nuts and bolts of the field trip: we plan to welcome the kids and then divide the groups in three, with each group rotating between the three activities:  a tour of the Children's area; booktalks/stories; "background" tour of Tech and Circ. And, of course, there will be free time just to explore as well.

We have created a simple database to trace return visits and see if this kind of initiaitive results in better use of our library. We think it will!

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