Daily Archives: February 22, 2013

Location in Libraries, as in Real Estate, Can Make All the Difference

We’ve had students coming in all week looking for books. That’s a good thing, but this has been more difficult than usual. Developmental reading classes have the assignment that students must choose a book to read (ostensibly for pleasure. But most students in these classes have not historically found reading pleasurable.)

So the week has gone something like this:

Student: I have to check out a book.

Us: Which book?

Student: Any book. It’s for a class.

Us: What kind of books do you like to read?

Student: (Shrugs)

Although this is obviously a great opportunity for us to promote the joys of reading, the process has been more than a little frustrating. Students often can’t choose any subject that might catch their interest. They wander through the stacks, but our library, small by most standards, still seems overwhelming to the poor student who is looking for one book that just might not be an absolute pain to read.

Then it occurred to us. When faced with an overwhelming task, it helps to have a small place to start. So we made one. We converted one bookcase to a special “library” just for this class. We all chose books that we thought would interest ‘reluctant’ readers. Now when students ask about this assignment, we send them to that case. If they find something, great. If not, they often, at least, have a sense of a subject or author that they might like.

We hope that students won’t feel as daunted and that they’ll see their first experience with the library as a positive one. And come back!