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SWON News: SWON Visits

SWON Visits - Seven Hills School

Tuesday, February 18, 2014  
Posted by: Melanie
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You’ve got a problem. You’re in a middle school library (and yes, this means kids are reading physical books, which they prefer) and your collection includes books that are prize winning and have received excellent reviews. But some of these books are not circulating. Not even once. And while you’re working on reading your entire collection, let’s face it, how much time do you have to read middle school fiction?

Suzanne Dix, the librarian for the Upper School and Middle School Library at Seven Hills School, was faced with such a dilemma.  She did not want to automatically weed these books because they are newer and again, they are award winning and/or highly recommended by an organization Suzanne trusts. So she came up with an idea which includes her community and she named it the Book Tasters.

How Book Tasters Works

  1. Suzanne pulls about 20 books with zero circulation.
  2. The sixth graders who have signed up to be a Book Taster, can come and pick up a book from this group.
  3. They write a review using a form Suzanne created on Google Docs.
  4. Suzanne prints the review and pastes it into the front of the book.
  5. Then the book receives a special sticker, indicating that it’s been ‘tasted.
  6. Suzanne has an area for recently Tasted Books on top of a low shelf.  Over time, Tasted Books would simply be shelved as usual, but the special sticker would remain.
  7. Once a month the Book Tasters are ‘paid’ in a lunch (pizza and pop).

On the day of my visit the Tasted shelf was empty. Suzanne says that no sooner does she put one on the shelf, then it is checked out! This is real work. Suzanne wants to know if the book is good as far as the kids are concerned and whether or not it should stay in the collection or be donated. The students learn how to write helpful book reviews and they’re rewarded not only with pizza but with recognition. Their reviews include their name.

And if you’re wondering if sixth graders are willing, Suzanne currently has 35 students Tasting Books. Sounds delicious to me. If you’d like to know more about Book Tasters, Suzanne would be happy to hear from you Suzanne.dix@7hills.org.


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