Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Curbside Checkout" Brings The Library & Books To The Families At John R. Tibbott School .....This Is Something Every School Needs!

Last week on Twitter I saw a tweet from a new friend, @butterfli820. Erin Preder mentioned something about Curbside Checkout and I couldn't wait to hear more!

I sent her a message and asked Erin to share the story about this special addition to their school that is new this year.  Here is what she shared....
A little background...

This is my 19th year in education. I’ve taught Early Childhood, Kindergarten, and Second Grade before I took over my school library 10 years ago. I love my job, but I REALLY started LOVING my job about 2 years ago when I got on twitter and really started using it for useful PD. I got out of my comfort zone and I’ve never been happier!

John R. Tibbott School is located in Bolingbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The school is one of the district’s bilingual centers, 56% of my school is made up of English Language Learners. In addition, we are at 82% low-income. Tibbott is also part of the No-Excuses University Network (NEU).

I would LOVE to take TOTAL credit for the idea, but it was inspired by another forward thinking librarian I follow NEU on Facebook and one day there was a picture of a librarian with her cart near the parking lot with a caption about “No Excuses... getting books to our families” or something like that. The picture inspired me! 

I’m always looking for ideas to promote literacy to our families. I think it is extremely important in the school I work in. One of the first things I did as the new librarian at my school was starting a Preschool Story-Time. Once a week for the last 10 years, I have invited younger siblings of my students to the library for stories, songs, crafts, etc. This has helped numerous students make a positive connection with their soon-to-be-school. I’ve been called in to help coax my former preschoolers into school on the first day when they were hesitant about leaving mom or dad. I’m a face they know and suddenly school isn’t quite so scary anymore. Plus I get to share my love of books with the young kiddos and their parents. Now everyone is having a positive connection with reading.

I loved the idea of Curbside Checkout! 

However, there are stairs and a ramp leading up to the front entrance of my school. With a typical library cart there was no way my books would stay on the cart if I planned on wheeling it down the ramp. I had to get a different type of cart, a browsing cart, one that none of the books would fall off of. They are very pricy and I had just spent all of my money for the year. I wrote a grant and it was approved! I’m a very successful grant writer, so I was positive that my new idea would become a reality. My principals and I worked out “how it would work” and set the launch date for 9/1.

My plan is to allow the families who visit the cart to check out 5 books each time they visit as long as their child’s account is free from damaged or lost book fines. They can return the books to Curbside Checkout or with their child on his/her regular library day. I will use Destiny, and check out the books to the oldest child in the family with a note on the account that says “Curbside checkout”.  I check out books to my preschoolers this way, too. I like the note on the account, so when a child checks out, I don’t panic that they have 7 or 8 books checked out. I know that their family is involved in my extra programming.
In my head I see the parents of my primary aged students using the cart the most, so I have built my first cart filled with primary selections. In my head I envision parents coming to the cart to choose books to read to their children for bedtime stories.  I also see many of our bilingual families visiting the cart because they don’t always have the ability to visit the public library. They are the majority of parents that show up for Preschool Storytime each week, too. Half of the cart is books that are either all Spanish or Bilingual. I like that the Bilingual books can be checked out by all of the families at my school. I might be totally wrong, but we will have to wait and see who comes to use Curbside Checkout. And... that is the great thing, I can put different books on the cart each time I go outside.

I don’t have a set schedule, I’ll tweet on the mornings I’m going to take the cart out. For the first time, I plan on getting some balloons to attach to the cart to attract the parents. I’m so excited!

Reactions after my first Curbside Checkout...

Today was awesome! This is one of the reasons I LOVE my job so much! I get to share books and the love of literacy with my families here at Tibbott School. I had 14 parents check out books for their families. A few others asked questions but didn’t check out... maybe they will next time. This morning was filled with comments of “This is Awesome!!” “What a Great Idea!!” “Thank you!!”

I was really proud of what I accomplished in the parking lot today. Parents were checking out books for their families! My goal was accomplished, getting books to our families! I consider today a HUGE SUCCESS!! I can’t wait to do it again!

Here is a link to the article on the school district's website
After hearing Erin's story and seeing the pictures of what this means to their community, I have to ask this question and encourage all of you to do so too.

Thank you for sharing Erin....You are definitely making a difference, my friend. 

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