I’m putting my 5th graders on notice this week that it’s time to start thinking about being prepared to move on to middle school next year, so they need to step up their game when it comes to library skills. I want them to be able to walk into their new library next year and know how to use the OPAC, how to use call numbers and library signage to find what they’re looking for, how to choose appropriate sources for research assignments, and how to choose books for pleasure reading.
Toni Buzzeo has written a great picture book on this very topic that makes a great read-aloud for older students. Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything tells the story of Robert, the new kid in Mr. Dickinson’s class, Carmen, the disgruntled classmate assigned to accompany him to the library for the first time who warns Robert that their librarian is NOT helpful, and Mrs. Skorupski, who wants all of her patrons to become Library Success Stories. She makes the most of every “teachable moment” to meet her students at their point of need and show them how to find the answers themselves, whether it’s selecting a useful online article, choosing a project idea, or locating snake books in the nonfiction section.
The ongoing feud between Robert and Carmen (who are assigned to the same research team) adds humor to the story, and things come full circle at the end of the book when Robert is asked to escort the next new student to the library.
After reading the story aloud, I introduce the students to Toni Buzzeo and the real Mrs. Skorupski. Finally I have my students complete an exit slip so I can see whether they understand what it means to be a Library Success Story. Isn’t that what we all want for our students?