The teacher librarian must coordinate special events that promote the mission of the school library program.

Our third graders won at the media fair! We're going to Indianapolis for the state conference!

Our high school English teachers are reading banned books! They're going to do oral readings at a special event on Thursday evening at the public library!

Our middle school science classes are participating in Space Day. We've turned the library media center into the International Space Station!

Special events are an exciting way to promote your program and build powerful positive partnerships among members of the learning community. They provide meaningful, authentic learning opportunities and get students involved in activities they will remember for a lifetime. In some cases, these special events have such an impact that they affect the career choices of teens.

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What events can I join?

women's historyThere are dozens of events planned every month by national and international groups. Rather than developing your own materials, you can often make use of their promotional materials. Some of these are special days, weeks, or months. Many are scheduled annually so you can plan ahead.

Seek out the websites of organizations for ideas.

Example - The National Women's History Project contains many resources for celebrating women and women's history. March is National Women's History Month.

Popular Annual School-wide Events

Other Lists of Events

Consider things you could do every day in your library.

Go to Teacher Tap: Daily Resources. Think about how you could incorporate some of these ideas and resources.

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What are library specific events?

library weekThere are endless events that you can join. Many of them are probably being sponsored by various teachers, organizations, and clubs in your building already. However there are some events that are specifically applicable to school library media center programs.

Keep up with other events using the following resources:

eye means readRead about the Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant program for all types of libraries.

Also examine and skim through the Toolkit for School Library Media Programs from AASL.

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What are some "fun anytime" events?

Sometimes you, your teachers, and students need a fun way to celebrate. Consider some of the following ideas:

Acronyms. Try a DEAR Day (Drop Everything And Read), any animal (PIGS - Poke Into Good Stories), BEARS (Become Energized And Read Stories).

Slogans. Try fun slogans. Get ideas at the Slogans: Get creative @ your library from ALA and Vote 4 Best Slogan - Support School Libraries from Library Advocate.

Characters. Movie characters, book characters, and others are fun to celebrate.

Online Projects. From Flat Stanley and Book Reviews to Ask-An-Expert projects there are unlimited ways to promote learning through online projects. Explore the Online Collaborative Projects page for more ideas.

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What about other school-wide events?

Consider collaborating with teachers on popular state, national, and global events. These special opportunities many times have website support resources and opportunities to interact with students at other schools.

Reading Events. Consider joining with other schools to read the books that are nominated for special awards such as the Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Books Award or the Hoosier books. You may also select books that you think might be nominated for an award such as the Caldecott or Newbery Medals.

eye means readGo to Book Awards from eduScapes Teacher Tap. Brainstorm ways to get students excited about reading through awards.

Scheduled Events. There are many events such as the Olympics and the Iditarod that are regularly scheduled. Some things such as comets, eclipse, or migrations are other exciting ways to get students interested in a topic such as science.

eye means readGo to Online Annual Events from eduScapes Teacher Tap. Look for an event that might match the interests of students and the needs of the curriculum.

Contests. Students enjoy participating in contests. It gives them a real-world audience for their work.

From Media Fair to Science Fair there are many ways to get students interested in learning through fairs.

Many states have student media fairs or festivals.

Other related competitions:

eye means readRead She’s Got a Winner by Janet Woodward in School Library Journal, April 2001; 47(4), 43. (Access requires login)

Center As.. The library media center should be the hub of activities in your school. It's fun to turn your center into a historical village for a Renaissance Fair, a science museum for student-produced inventions, the planet Earth for a biomes unit, or the number Pi for a school-wide math project. It's a wonderful common space for teachers and students to collaborate across classrooms or grade levels.

Many traditional library media specialists "turn up their noses" at these types of events. They say that carpet might be damaged or students could be distracted from quiet study. Ask yourself, what's the purpose of the center... to "look pretty" and "remain silent" or to promote active, authentic learning?

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What are other sponsored events?

There are many groups that promote learning throughout the year. Many of these promotions are sponsored by professional organizations with corporate sponsorship. They often provide free materials, posters, and support curriculum.

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How can I get authors and illustrators to visit my school?

Authors, illustrators, storytellers, cultural representatives, and other interesting people can draw attention and interest for students.

eye means readGo to
Face-to-Face and Virtual Author & Illustrator Visits from eduScapes Teacher Tap.
Face-to-Face and Virtual Book Clubs & Reading Groups
from eduScapes Teacher Tap.

Also read Set Up a Visit - An online event kit from Random House.

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How do I coordinate a book fair?

Many schools have book fairs. Most use the Scholastic Book Fair resources. There's a good chance that the book fair program will already be in place when you take a position in a school. They are often set up and run by parent volunteers or the local parent-teacher organization. In some cases, the profits go to the library, in other cases they are distributed among other school activities. You'll want to become involved in this fair to promote reading as well as your school library media program.

Although these fairs are most popular in elementary and middle school, many high schools are now involved in promoting reading through building connections with the local bookstore.

Most book fairs are no longer just books. They contain computer software, bookmarks, electronic games, and other materials.

eye means readGo to Scholastic Book Fairs and Scholastic Reading Club. Learn more about how to set up and run a book fair. Brainstorm ways to get teachers and parents involved with this type of project.

Check out the Chairperson's Toolkit (Requires login) for ideas on running a book fair for elementary or middle school. Many of the ideas can be used with other types of promotions.

Check out a great Photo Album of Book Fair Events from Scholastic.


Check Your Understanding

info powerInformation Power: Learning and Teaching - Principle 9. Clear communication of the mission, goals, functions and impact of the library media program is necessary to the effectiveness of the program. (p. 100, 112)

Read the materials at ALA's Banned Book Week website. Use these materials to develop your own promotion for this event or to provide ideas for other types of events.

Or, plan another kind of event using the resources on this page to get you started. Some ideas are provided below:

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Make It Real

characters and bookParticipate in a school library media center event.

Arrange a visit to a school during a promotion. Try one of the following:

Read More About It

Meskauskas, Debora. Planning Special Events: Blueprint For Success. Friends & Foundations of California Libraries.

Vasicek, Bent (Feb 2012). Organizing a Student Lock-In. Scholastic.
Related Information:
Library After Dark: Lock-Ins 101 from blogsite: Lunanshee's Lunacy.

Young Authors Guide at
Selected list of children's, teens, and young adult publications that have open submissions; includes scriptwriting, films & filmmaking, and contests.

Promotional Events and Material

Blalock, Nancy. Holding a Poetry Slam from Learn NC.
Related Resource:
How To: Organize a Poetry Slam for Your Cause from Do
Celucci, Anita. Louder Than a Bomb: The Power of Performance Poetry.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month from American Library Association
Libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all.


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