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The time that I get to spend with my students when they come to check
out books-- even as a class can be made into a very important time for
students.  One of the 8th grade teachers in my middle school brings her
class on a regular basis for checkout and usually stays the entire
class.  During this time, I book talk a few books; share favorites; ask
the students to read and share their interest in books; let the students
review and read magazines and journals; get to know the students likes
and interests; and ask for their input into future book selection; and
the list goes on.  Students get to know me and trust me and ask for
recommendations because they feel that I know them and their likes and
dislikes. I feel that if they enjoy the time that they are in the
library with the class then they might be more inclined to use the
library independently. One student recently came with a class and told
another student who was having a hard time selecting a book to "Go Ask
Mrs. C because she always knows what the good books are."

Sometimes, they do activities related to the books or a particular
genre. Sometimes, students quietly talk about books and who knows what
else.  As long as they are not unruly, it doesn't bother me.

My school is an inner city school with 800 middle school students and
all almost are free lunch eligible. I do not have a library assistant
assigned to the library. She works in another portable and only works in
the library when I am at a meeting and need coverage. We are under
construction and the entire campus including the library is in portable
buildings (more than 70 portable classrooms in about 40 portable
buildings). When a class is there they take up almost the whole library
-- but it is worth it.  Since I have been encouraging teachers to use
the library, the teachers support me with projects that I initiate and
with getting the overdue books back.

Luci Cheatwood, Librarian
Whittier Middle School
San Antonio, TX

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