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Here is the second part of my HIT on ways to bring parents into the
library on parent night...

We had a family night and in the library I had light refreshments,
showed the parents the Accelerated Reader program, I displayed new books
the tables and I had a folder for every family which listed suggested
by grade levels and also the Caldecott and Newbery award books.
Have students done work that will be displayed in their
classroom/portfolio that was done with the library's resources?  If so,
could you give teachers a little form that might say something about that
and would invite the parents to come to the library to see what their
child was using?  It would help to really tie the library into what
happens with teaching and learning.
        I've always been in the library during open house and parent teacher
conferences since my contract is just the same as the classroom
teachers.  It is a good opportunity for them to see you as "just like
them" in that respect....it never hurts to reinforce with them that you
are a teacher too!  A few years ago I started having a pot of coffee and
some snacks on hand. I prop open the door and put signs on the doorway
and also in the main lobby near the enterance advertising refreshments.
I turn on the computer network and put out a display of new books that
parents and teachrs can browse through.  I am always around to answer
questions, explain materials, curriculum, etc.  I must admit it's much
busier on curriculum night (open house) than on parent/teacher
conference night but it's great PR and I do get quite a few on
curriculum night.  It's a great time to showcase something new or get
the word out to parents on the importance of reading and the wonderful
literature available now.
Have students at the computers to demonstrate your software and then those
kids will envite their parents which will bring in more parents.  Do you
have a library club?  They would be great.  It worked for me in a 5-8
school.  It's also good to have a power point slide show of photos of your
library in action.
You might have a "raffle" of some new paperback...almanacs do well,
Everyone who visits gets to put his/her name in a jar and the principal or
someone pulls
out a name.  Give it to the parent's kid next day.
Thinking off the top of my head--I've never been in your shoes but I've
many times in the shoes of the parents who attend Parents' Night and wonder
if they should make the extra effort to shlep to the library.

As a parent, I would love a good hand-out.  In addition to the list of
computer programs, perhaps a list of subscriptions and key reference books.
Or descriptions of academic programs where you have collaborated with
teachers.  I have never received a handout from my kid's library with
information about what the library offers.

Also, I wonder if some of the kids could be persuaded to do a 5-minute
skit--have two kids at a desk talking about their research or what book
report would be fun to do.  As they to read out loud, the other kids
actually act out what the kids were reading--complete with props.  As the
kids doing the research put down one book and pick up another, the other
kids do a quick change of costume and props--could be pretty funny.  This
would work if you have a sufficient number of parents throughout the
day--you could do 3 or 4 performances.
We are the informal art and project gallery for our school. When the
students want to show parents their projects they drag them on in. The
real trick is to station the refreshments in the media center. We avoid
red punch which stains the carpet, but feel some cookie crumbs and sticky
spots are a small price for the increased traffic. We often have a video
going which showcases a school project. This might give your PE or music
people a chance to show what is happening in their classes. Music students
may also want to provide live music. Our video morning announcement crew
love to demonstrate the equipment and kids like to try out being in front
of the camera in an open house atmosphere.
We have little to no parental participation during back to school night or
conferences.  During my first one last year we had under 10 visitors, annd
this included 2 Board members, my aunt and uncle (who had to come for their
daughter) and my parents (who wanted to be nice.) We decided to give out
$1.00 off fines coupon or $1.00 free photocopies coupon.  The few kids who
have them show the other kids and they in turn ask how to get them.  So, I
hope this will get more parents in.  Also, I want to put a flyer out by the
entrance inviting the parents to come.  Also, it helps when the principal
announces an invitation to come in also.  A previous principal did this
our currnet one) and from what I understand this brought more people in.)
Also, we have an easel I would like to put up by the library wing entrance
that invites them in.  We have such nice stuff, I want as many parents to
come in as possible.  The kids can't tell their parents we have nothing for
them when they see the stuff we have!  And, if nothing else, it would give
something to do during those 2 hours other than stare at each other.
Another thing I've done for parents' nite is get freebees from our state
They are on drugs, health, ecology etc. and put them out.  Sometimes, I've
put out magazines that have been donated.  and sometimes, I do nothing,
and just work on my books orders.
It may be a bit late for this session, but I've gotten
together with our head of guidance, so that when he sends parents their
schedule of when they'll meet with teachers, it incorporates an invitation
to investigate the library while they're here.  Also, I prop the doors
and play music in the library.
     In October we have Open House for all students and their parents.
(K-6, 485 students) I, too, am expected to be here, but with no
prescribed responsibility except to stand around and look good...SO:
     It's mostly the younger students who bring parents in to meet the
"Library Teacher", but I have some who have come every year. This year
I counted about 80 student visitors who brought their parents that
night. I didn't think that was too bad.
     Bribery is always useful: give-aways for parents including
booklists (ALA, etc.), bookmarks for the kids, (I'm thinking of library
pencils for kids next year).
     --New books displayed
     --tables with samples of library projects planned for the year
     --our critter,"Mr. Booker" is probably our largest draw.... He's a

        large, long-haired guinea pig in a rather elaborate cage, and
        quite remarkable according to the kids...!
     Of course, if I could have the coffee pot going and a plate of
cookies, I'd probably be the most popular spot in the school that
night...I don't know that I'd have enought space in my tiny library,
We are about to have a Parents day at our elementary school. Classroom
teachers will be involved in "Student Led Conferences" but specialists are
not. So we have planned a series of short talks, sited in the library, on
topcis of interest to parents. Various specialists will present them eg
counselor, Learning Needs, LMS, etc. (We LMSs are doing The Role or LMS
in Information Literacy, and Parents Helping with Homework) We have
timetabled them to fit around the conference timetable. Oh and yes, food

Again, thanks so much to all who responded, and I hope that all these
wonderful ideas will help out others as much as they have helped me!!

Julie Purdy
Mt. Ararat Middle School
Brunswick, Maine

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