Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Fair Judgment

Last week we had our state library conference and today I set up my book fair. One librarian remarked to me that she hated that a certain book fair provider sold "toys" at the book fair. I could not have disagreed with her more. Here's why:

1) Making value judgments on what a child buys is not your place. That is a parent's decision.

2) At my school, many children cannot afford $4-5 for a book. I remember not being able to buy anything from the book fair in elementary school. It was not fun. With 50 cents, students can buy at least something. Yes, a few books are discounted, but they do not always meet a child's interest.

3) At my school, every dollar earned at the book fair benefits the library, and all the money is used to buy books that the students can then check out. I inform the students of why we have book fairs and let them know that even if they buy a 50 cents eraser, all the money adds up, and they are helping their library.

4) We use part of our profits for giveaways that all students are eligible to enter. This way if students cannot afford a book, it is possible that they could win one!

As a school librarian, I pride myself on creating a welcoming environment for students. We have an unlimited circulation policy, and I try to make instruction rigorous, student-centered and engaging. I want that to carry over to the book fair as well. We have one of those libraries open to the hallway and I have heard excited cries of "book fair" all day.

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