Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It’s School Library Month, and I’ve Got a Library to Celebrate!

No, this is not a shelf at my middle school library!
It's a large portion of a one-room school library. Sometimes change is good...

Over the years, I’ve come to see the middle school library where I work as the Neutral Zone.

It’s the one place in school where no one expects you to know the answers to questions on a quiz or work well in groups. You just need to like being around books, keep pretty quiet, and not be destructive.

If you want to ask me to recommend a book, that’s great. I’ll try—although I get better at this as the day goes on and I drink more coffee.

I know who you are based solely on how you behave in the Neutral Zone. Since I’m a part-timer and no one remembers to cc me on all the reports, I have no idea if you’re ADHD, OCD, or EBD. I don’t know if your parents are divorced, separated, or unemployed.

Sometimes, though, I notice which books give you a sense of comfort. I notice which ones you check out over and over again. I’m also aware of the ones you steal.

And, as clueless as I probably seem, I tend to notice when you’re feeling alone or adrift. You might spend a few extra minutes in the stacks, leafing through a book that doesn’t judge you or ask anything of you. World records, graphic novels, wimpy kids. They’re free and you get to chose them for yourselves. Plus, you know I don’t give tests: the only question I’ll ever ask is, “Did you like the book?”

For more on School Library Month, check out the ALA website.

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