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Susan -

I'm at a small school so I can't speak for every situation, but I found  that
saying yes to as much as feasible helps.  Break the boundaries of  what
the library is perceived to be and welcome everything,  gatherings,
meetings, exhibits, so that everyone in the school gets to see the  place.
Make sure what they see is warm, inviting and helpful, a place they  want
to return to.

As much as possible, don't close at lunch and don't lock up at the end  of
the last period.  I have trivia games and chess during lunch, and  students
may bring food in (the deal is they are careful with it and clean
so good).  I'm not crazy about spending time in the teacher's room  anyway.
I'd rather spend time teaching the kids something and getting them  used
to the library as the place to be.  There's a wide variety of quick  stuff you
can do with them.  I ask them about current events, what they've heard  on
the news, what they're watching on TV, their personal interests, etc.,  while
playing games.  The conversation flows more easily if it's  incidental.

Let them bring things in to show you.  I have kids who bring in  guitars to
play.  One is bringing in his new bike as soon as it  comes in.  Another is
bringing in his new
paintball equipment.  Anything they mention to you, invite them  to bring it
in if
possible.  They may not want to bother, but they'll remember the  invitation.

Have something going on often so that the library is included in the  morning
and afternoon announcements at least once or twice a week, even if it's  to
announce you're open at lunch for games, or looking for overdue  books,
or to announce upcoming events.  Keep the library in everyone's  mind

Keep the collection as current as the budget will allow so that people  see
new stuff all the time.  When my money runs low, I go to the public  library,
borrow THEIR copies of shiny new YA books for a month and circulate  them
until I can afford to buy my own copies.

Music, comfortable chairs and floor cushions, warm lighting, soft  music,
and most of all, answers to everyone's questions.

Best wishes -

Steve  Patnode
Grades 7-12 SLMS
Chazy Central Rural School
Chazy, NY  12921

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