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Elementary Library Joy

by Rebecca Erwin

I truly believe that as an elementary media specialist, I have the best job in the world. Even in the midst of difficult times like book bans and budget cuts, when I walk into the media center, I know I’m where I’m supposed to be. I have worked hard to create a positive environment and build a positive rapport with students. One of the driving forces behind this is because the elementary school library is probably the first library a child encounters, and it is important to me to make it a positive experience for them.

One of the ways I have tried to do that is with our makerspace. When students come to the media center, not only can they read and check out books, but they can also build, draw, make, and create using our makerspace materials. This has helped foster a sense of community and encourage students to work together. As a result, students are excited to come to the media center, and they often tell me they want to stay in the media center all day.

And it’s not just the fun and games that keep them coming. I make it a point to involve students in developing the library collection. At the beginning of each year, I ask students to share suggestions of books or book series they would like to see added to our collection. Then I make my purchases based on their recommendations.

But apart from the makerspace and even the books, students come to the media center for more. They come for help with tying shoes, fixing necklaces, and styling hair. They come for a shoulder to cry on and a counselor to turn to for advice. Sometimes they come for a safe space in which to calm down and take a deep breath. Regardless of the reason, they know that the media center, and the media specialist, is always open and waiting.

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