Wednesday, August 15, 2012

We Added A Little "Spice" To Back-To-School Open House This Year!

On Monday, we invited our friends at Van Meter into the library during Back-To-School Open House to see something a little special.

We have brought a little "SPICE" into the library over the summer for our students, teachers, and school community.  You can read more about the project in the post, "We Spiced Up The Shelves....And Ditched The Dewey."  This project is going to make a difference in the lives of so many  by bringing new classifications, over 800 new print books and eBooks, and a new way of looking at the choosing books, browsing books, and the library as a whole.
In the Van Meter Library Voice Monthly (created using Smore), I told the story of "The Love Behind The 'Spice Up The Shelves' Project".  At our open house, Greta and her mom Jennifer loved seeing what a difference this project has brought to our library.  It will always be a special place for the two of them and all of us to remember Alex and his love for reading, books, spices, travel, cooking, and education.  
The shelves are really SPICED up and look so amazing!  Diana did just a wonderful job getting everything ready for the open house and school year.
We have only opened up two boxes of the new books from Mackin, and were so excited as we pulled each one out.  The students are going to love them too.
As I said in the newsletter, Greta chose a lot of books that were personal to her and her dad, Alex.  Iceland is a place where Alex had traveled, so she made sure there was definitely a new book for the library.
The "Spice Up The Shelves" Open House posters were hung all around the school.  After I created the little spice containers with the "Van Meter Library Shelf Spice" labels, I took photos and edited them in PicMonkey (which is a free online photo editing tool).  I then used Pages to create the posters.
I also put the "Van Meter Library Shelf Spice" containers around the library to add a little more spice to the shelves.
Since I had a lot of parents visited during the open house, I made sure to have places that they could go to connect with the library outside of school as well by creating a flyer with QR codes. I want parents to be able to access the Iowa AEA Online Resources such as Gale, iClipArt, Britannia, BookFlix, TrueFlix, and all of the eBooks that we have now in Mackin VIA.  By scanning the QR codes and having the username and passwords to these resources, they were able to see them quick during the open house. It gave me an opportunity to not only show them how to use QR codes and get to the sites, but also to explain the different resources as well.  They took these home for a quick and easy way to access them there too.

And by giving them links to the Little Van Meter Library Google Site and the Van Meter Library Voice blog, I am giving them one more way to connect with the library, resources, and me.  Parents appreciate this access and information so they can support their children in the best possible way at home as well as at school.
I created this fun little poster and handout called "Put the Library In Your Pocket".  I added several apps that our students, teachers, and families will find useful to have downloaded onto their devices to the "Library In Pocket" folder on my iPhone.  I then took a screen shot of that folder open and made it into a poster.  So now they can take a quick look and add apps such as Destiny Quest, EasyBib, a QR code reader app, StudyBlue, SymbalooEdu, and a few more.  This folder will grow, but this is a nice place for everyone to start.   I have posted these in the library and around school as well. 
I also created a schedule for the elementary and secondary library.  I listed all open library times and scheduled library times.  Every classroom and office in the school has one, so everyone knows what is happening in the libraries all of the time. 
When everyone left the library they saw a new display.  It now says in big black letters, "Where In The World Are We Connecting?"  This will show all of the connections with schools, students, authors, and others we will have throughout the year. There are already a few things around the map from last year like: the peach we rolled around the world, even to Budapest; a holiday card from our friends in Australia; and one from friends in Ireland.  I cannot wait to see how this display will fill up as we start connecting right away to others around the world.
So as you can see, the "Spice Up The Shelves" Open House was a very success night with lots of old friends and plenty of new ones too.  
It was so much fun to see all of the little people come in and try out the new couch, too.

I can't wait to see what the students think about the "new" collection and how we spiced it up!


  1. So many awesome things happening in your library! I love how inviting and accommodating you are to parents and families. Also, your bulletin board about global connections is a phenomenal idea!

  2. Hi Michele,

    Thank you so much. :) It is so much fun. And I do believe that involving parents and the community make your program and school so much stronger.

    The bulletin board display will be fun to watch grow this year. We had dozens of them last year and will add from those too.

    Have a wonderful school year, Shannon