The inspiration for change came from two books I read over the summer - one being a powerful picture book, and the other being a dynamic professional book about reading. There is something beautiful about summer reading, soaking in the sun and ideas without the pressure of lesson planning and deadlines looming. I read, wrote and thought about Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst well beyond the time it took me to “read” the book. It planted seeds and I spent much of my summer cultivating them. What surprised me was I “thought” I was reading about reading. What I ended up thinking about was change.
My goal was to make changes in our library (big and small) that would serve the ultimate purpose of creating a place of safety, escape and comfort where everyone felt welcome. That being said, I don’t think that we had a negative or toxic library culture, but a few individuals in each class challenged the positive attitudes of others. When I read All Are Welcome, written by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman this summer, I knew I found my inspiration. I was armed and ready to start my welcoming campaign.
Upon entering the library, students and staff find a picture of me on the door with a “Mrs. Garland is reading” space that changes on a weekly basis. Here I make my reading visible and open a door for conversation about books.
I also sent every child home with an invitation to the library, not just the students who were new to our school.
I am ultimately looking to help students create a relationship with books. In Disrupting Thinking, Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst state, "Too many students still seem to think of books as burdens imposed upon them, rather than as invitations to experience new thoughts" (56). When books are viewed as an invitation, when our library is an open invitation, what does that look like for our school community? How will that change the culture? What changes can I expect to see? I can't wait to find out!