How do you involve your entire school in a library initiative? How do you continue to build a culture of reading? Molly Rauch, the librarian at Mount Notre Dame (MND) High School, ties into a personal passion and well known American phenomenon, namely March Madness. Her version is called MND Book Madness and features brackets such as Classics, Series (otherwise a Harry Potter book would win each year), Fantasy & Sci-Fi and Realistic & Historical. Molly and her student volunteers select books from those that have won awards, are on the New York Times bestseller lists, or have a high circulation at MND that year. Any that reach the final four are not eligible after that which keeps the selections fresh. Last year’s final four was:
· Classics – The Great Gatsby
·Series – Divergent
·Fantasy & Sci-Fi – The Giver
·Realistic & Historical – The Fault in Our Stars
The entire school may vote online each week for their favorites. Molly has used different software for this process and points out that Survey Monkey works just fine.
Molly works from the student’s needs outward. When it was time to redesign the library the question she asked first was, “What do the students need now?”. She’s ended up with a welcoming environment which includes a relaxed reading area, plenty of tables for small group work and a larger enclosed room for collaborative work for groups of two up to an entire class. This room (pictured) features two entire walls of ‘whiteboard’ painted surface allowing for plenty of writing space and two large sections of ‘pin up’ wall. This last is covered in a special composite that allows for pinning without the crumbled mess of cork. The room is used by students on their own but teachers book the room too. It’s a wonderful flexible space that just happens to be in the library. Hmmmm. I wonder how that happened.