How much consideration do you give to choosing books that are popular with students?
Mentor Response: I keep a board in the library where students can request books they want me to buy for the library. I ALWAYS put those in my cart first! I do a quick check to make sure they are appropriate for our demographics, but barring any issues there I buy them. I keep popular books stocked and will buy multiple copies if there’s a long hold list. My goal is to get books in kids’ hands.
Do you emphasize literary merit or popularity?
Mentor Response: I stock popular books and I highlight (share, read aloud) books that I consider really good books. These may or may not be considered to have huge literary merit- I consider the message I’m trying to send in my lesson against what I think they will like. I know that I have a lot of power with books I share. When I share a book it usually stays checked out for a long time so I take advantage of that and balance sharing books I consider to be quality literature and books that I just know the kids will love.
Where do I stand on this issue?
My first instinct is that I am here to serve my patrons – including staff, students and parents. So, given this, I am inclined to take popular books very seriously. As an educator and a parent, I do sometimes think that my students are missing out on some of the magic of reading by gravitating towards books that are not what I might consider high quality, but these books are often the gateway to a love of reading and a love of learning. I cannot bring myself to question the selection of any reading that my students love. Like my mentor, I believe that the best way to introduce my students to truly great literature is to share it with them.