Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Whole New Ball Game

In order to get a handle on this school, this library, and these girls, I put together a survey and asked 340 students to provide answers to questions about their reading habits, library habits, research habits, etc. The results were very enlightening. Stunning, really. Shocking, in fact.

This is what I found:

  • 64% of students do not check out books from the school library

  • 72% use the library's web page "rarely" or "almost never"

  • the top 4 reasons for visiting the school library are: printing, photocopying, using a laptop, and working on homework

  • the 2 least common reasons for visiting the library are to check out recreational reading material and to ask the Librarian for help

  • only 38% of students say they use the library for their history classes, only 18% for science, only 6% for fine arts

  • 32% say there are no books in the library that they want to check out

  • 51% buy the books they want to read from a physical bookstore

  • 34% spend ZERO time each week reading for pleasure

  • students prefer to read romance, mystery, and realistic fiction

  • 61% do not use a public library

  • 85% turn to Google first when conducting any kind of academic research

So, there you have it. A VERY different scenario from my previous library setting, where tons of kids read avidly, almost no kids could purchase their own books (there is not a single bookstore in that part of South Central), and the Librarian was the first source of information for research.

I suppose I didn't really use my high school library for much either. It was pretty outdated, and I don't have any memory of the Librarian, so I don't think she was a very dynamic member of the school community. I got my books from my parents or the public library. Perhaps I don't need to lament the low circulation here. Perhaps I should focus my attentions on the research skills the girls are lacking and the need to get them college-ready in terms of seeking information. If course, I want to cry when I hear that so many of them spend no time at all reading for pleasure. That, to me, is sad. That I want to change.

Next up, surveying the teachers. I am very curious about those results.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crime Scene Investigation

My new school has a Forensic Science class. How cool is that? This morning when I got out of my car, I noticed that a hideous and brutal crime had taken place right outside the school's entrance. Luckily, our students are on the case. What do you think happened?

It may be hard to see in this picture, but right above the chalk outline of the head is a long string of pearls, and to the right of that is a tiara. Clearly this murdered young woman was on her way somewhere special. The rose petals make me think she was possibly involved in the Rose Court for the Rose Parade, as are many young women in this part of the LA area. The one thing that really confuses me is how the car that ran over her made it out of the parking lot. If it was coming from the left of this picture, surely it would have crashed into the building after running her over. Unless the driver was so skilled that s/he was able to brake and reverse within inches of the stucco. And why is some of the rubber from the tire on the pavement? What can it mean?

This is what school is all about. Every student in the school is encouraged to submit her theories about the crime. I can't wait to hear the results. I'm a happy librarian.
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