I've been subbing on the frontlines in school libraries these past two weeks. I've been at a high school library, a jr. high and elementary libraries.
My experience as a volunteer at my daughter's high school library has been to help kids print from their computers, assign computers and reshelve research material.
When I subbed at a new high school in our district I was so pleased that a lot of my work was helping kids find books, circulating the books to them, helping them use research databases and helping them look for books of interest to them.
It is a new school with only grades 9 & 10 this year. It will grow to full size over the next two years. When I walked into the library at 7 a.m., 8 boys were gathered and were talking about the manga books they were holding. There was no adult there to "guide" the discussion, they were just sharing their interest and enthusiasm for Rurouni Kenshin.
Later another young man wanted to know which book to read first in The Lord of the Rings? He told me that he did not read a great deal but he wanted to like fantasy so did I know any other books he might like? Sometimes you just feel like you are in the right place at the right time. We walked the fiction collection and I pulled out titles, and did a quick book talk about them. I also gave him a list of books they did not have.
They circulate a great deal of fiction. As I checked out one book to a girl, I exclaimed on the excellence of her reading choice, it was Joan Bauer's Best Foot Forward. We spent a few minutes trading book titles to try (I get the best suggestions from students.) She had not read Squashed yet but she said that will be her next pick. What fun!
Overall, I was so impressed by the culture of reading at the high school. Maybe that will change as the kids enter the world of AP coursework and move closer to graduation. There is nothing like the American Lit AP reading list (AR on steroids) to limit reading for pleasure time. They will have their first 11th grade class next year. It will be interesting to see if anything changes.
I hope not.