As I was searching for articles for my Administration of School Library Media Centers course I ran across an interesting perspective in a blog post by Andy Plemmons about how we could include students in this process. As like most of you probably do, I always welcomed student suggestions for purchases and kept a spreadsheet of these recommendations. Plemmons goes one step further to involve his students.
Based on data collected from teachers and on his own observations, a lack of reading motivation was noted in students that were reading below grade level in grades 3-5. Again using data, Plemmons identified 45 students defined by this criteria. These students were invited to share their interests and provide feedback about how the collection did not meet their needs. Then each student was given $45.00 to select books for the library. Let the collaboration begin – students, teachers, the school librarian, and vendors all worked together to address this need in their school.
I love this idea of further involving the students in program administration aspect. The school library program is there to serve the needs of the learning community and the students are a major part of that community, so they should be a part of all aspects. This also reminded me of the way Sue Kolwalski involves her student in her program – giving them ownership in areas of scheduling tasks as library assistants. As we strive to build collaborative relationships throughout our building and beyond, I think building this relationship with students by giving them voice and ownership has to be a critical part of today’s library media program.