Goodwill Library – a fab idea for schools

Today Russ tells us about a fab idea for promoting reading amongst children and adults that is running his school:

My dad has always collected copper coins and has often been heard quoting from little acorns, mighty oaks grow…… a philosophy I hold dear in teaching and the motivation for a successful scheme being run in my school.
I am sure every school has been there, ask for donations for a Summer Fair and you become inundated with piles of stuff, that’s exactly what happened at ours and we were very grateful for it. The problem arose when the hook a duck was drained and the hoopla dismantled. We were left with a huge pile of unsold items, most noticeably books.
These books were not really the kind of book to grace a school library but more the sort of thing that children would enjoy to read at home.
It then dawned on me that we could merge an idea passed on from the Readers as Leaders scheme. We filled a few plastic boxes with books and at the end of each school day set up a “goodwill Library” outside entrances to school. Initially we discovered that the boxes emptied quickly and we were left with no books, however bit by bit day by day, parents would arrive with carrier bags filled with paperbacks. The plastic boxes were soon not big enough and we replaced them with wheeled shelves.
I found myself struggling at the end of each day to dash round each entrance ensuring each box was out. Then an answer arrived in the form of a small year 4 girl who, with a nod towards Cindy Lou Who from Dr.Suess’ The Grinch, held a door open for me and simply stated, “Why do you do all that on your own when me and my friends could do that for you Mr.Brown.”
And lo our library volunteers were created they are allowed five minutes out of class at the end of the day and stay five minutes after the bell. They are the reason this scheme works, they are the face of school and other children and parents look out for them. Children who borrow books go home and check their book shelves to see if there is anything they have read and no longer want and return it to school next day to be put in a box. The library volunteer children sort books into types (ks1 upper and lower ks2) and then ensure their trolley looks presentable for the end of day any unsuitable or damaged books are removed.
And that was that, simple, whole school interest in reading increased dramatically in the space of three weeks thanks to some donations to the school fair. No cost to school and a responsibility and independence to lesson to all the children in school.
This post may simply have ended there, however last week a parent very kindly donated a bag full of books unsuitable for children but perfect for adults, she said quite simply “if it works for the kids it will work for the adults”. Needless to say the goodwill library, both child and adult, has been a huge success with even staff lending from the bookshelves. This is a very easy scheme for raising children’s literacy and book awareness and it costs school, nothing.  Like I said from little acorns…..
Thanks for reading and if you have a scheme like this we would love to hear from you.

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