Monday, April 6, 2009

Good ideas for school libraries: 19. Plastic sleeve diplomacy

OK, realistically, how much does a plastic sleeve cost?  Less than five cents apiece, or even less if you're buying in school bulk from specialist suppliers.  Or at the start of the school year, when everyone's selling them for tuppence nothing.  So stock up.
Then, as the year goes on, and a kid prints an assignment ready to hand in, and you helpfully say, "Would you like a plastic sleeve?", you'll sometimes get a, "No, I'm fine," and sometimes a heartfelt, "Yes, please!"  And every "Yes please!" is a kid you've helped, and a kid who will know and maybe remember, or forget that they remember, that the library is a place where they can find help, where their work is valued and their success is supported by the best presentation of their work.  No lecture, no advice, we never know if it's forgetfulness or financial straits or any other reason.  Just simple help.
Despite our limited library budget, we've not yet been bankrupted by supplying either free tissues or free plastic sleeves, but we've garnered a bunch of goodwill that's a valuable thing to have.  I don't have them on a 'take me' basis on the desk like the tissues (heck, I want as many tissues as are needed to be taken to be TAKEN!), but as something that is a personal interaction with a member of the library staff, a moment of thought, recognition and kindness.  I haven't noticed kids taking advantage of us; just asking when they need and we can help, or taking the help we offer.
It's a small thing in itself, but of such small things, I am learning, a library's philosophy is composed.
What you need: a box of plastic sleeves/page protectors.  And another one for when the first runs out.


Alison said...

Thank you for your blog. As a second year teacher librarian, I really enjoy reading it. We are replenishing our plastic sleeves and looking into ways to redecorate on a budget at present and your blog gives plenty of inspiration. Thank you!

Ruth Buchanan said...

You're very welcome!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wondeerful ideas you have posted. I have certainly taken note of a few.

Wendy van Dongen
Elizabeth Park School