The only drawback to school libraries is that, almost always, the books sit idly on the library shelves all summer, while little readers see their comprehension skills begin to fade during the months spent with fewer books.
Fortunately, that’s not the case here in the Boothbay region, thanks to a strong partnership between the Boothbay Region Elementary School Library and our local public library, Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library.
For the second straight summer, the BRES library has loaned its entire collection of Maine Student Book Award nominees to BHML. They’re all on display in the Children’s Room, ready to be taken home for some summer beach or tree fort reading.
BHML Executive Director Joanna Breen says this partnership exemplifies the way libraries build community. “Collaboration is essential to library work,” said Breen. “With this partnership, we are able to maximize the resources of the peninsula without duplicating the expense; as well as build a direct bridge for the students from their school library to their public library.”
Kerrin Erhard, AOS 98 district librarian, and Joan Chatterton, BRES librarian, brought the third graders to BHML to sign up for library cards and participate in a library-wide scavenger hunt last month.
“It's exciting to continue our relationship with the community library,” Erhard said. “Mrs. Chatterton does an amazing job at promoting the Maine State Book Award winners to BRES students during the school year and we are so happy to be a part of sharing resources so that more children can have access to award winning books.”
The Maine Student Book Award nominee list is put together by Maine Library Association, Maine Association of School Libraries, and the Maine Literacy Council; it’s pretty much the grade 4-8 equivalent of the New York Times bestseller list.
Circulation numbers bear out that popularity. Last year, BHML checked the books out to kids 53 times in just six short weeks. (The top three were “Armstrong & Charlie” by Steven Frank and “Refugee” by Alan Gratz, which each went out five times, and “Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus” by Dusti Bowling, which went out four times.) Gratz’s “Refugee” was the 2018/2019 first place winner.
This year’s nominees look just as gripping as last year’s: check out the complete list at https://msba.umeedu.maine.edu/.
And don’t forget that adults are welcome to check the books out too. After all, there’s no better way to bond with kids while promoting literacy than a dinner table discussion of books like “The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl.”