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At Woodland, students learn a lot about this good creation, and also about the brokenness and pain that have wormed their way into it. Students are challenged to join God’s redemption story, to use their gifts to bring healing and hope to a hurting world. This is why our school library is so important: at the library, we’re all about story.
An important library goal is promotion of the joy of reading and of the power of story to touch the reader’s thoughts and emotions. At Woodland, we’re always happy to add really great literature to our shelves, and about one-quarter of our circulation is for leisure reading. It’s always a thrill when the common query, do you have anything on…[subject]? can be answered by handing over a curriculum-relevant, age-appropriate and visually appealing book. Students deep into a book can use the quiet reading area filled with big easy chairs and a brightly coloured rug, or the curious may browse through one of the two-dozen magazines we subscribe to. When a student wants help finding a “good book,” I usually ask a few questions to determine their interests and reading level and then recommend a few options. And as a book drops into the return box, I often ask the student if s/he liked the book, and sometimes, great discussions ensue.
The library further supports classroom learning and research with resources like books and online databases, such as Christianity Today Library Online and the suite of databases available to us through the Region of Waterloo Library (ask your student how to log in from the Woodland Library site!). The ability to download books to an iPod is another way good literature is finding its way to students. Woodland students can access audiobooks this way from “download Library” and from “netBooks,” both through the RWL databases. Several students have told me how much they like this technology, and last week one international student told me how much she liked using an MP3 recording together with the book to read a novel in English.
A variety of efforts (contests, bulletin boards, movie-book tie-ins, morning announcements, posters of role models recommending reading, new book displays) are used to promote reading and the use of the library in general, but the most successful so far seems to be the now five-year-old Woodland Book Club. This year, forty students signed up to read from a list of ten titles, are meeting weekly to discuss the books, and will vote for their favourite in February. Four other Christian high schools have joined us to form the Christian High School Book Club, and we all read the same books and discuss them on a joint blog. In March, we’ll all meet at a wrap-up event highlighted by a guest author presentation—this year Eric Walters will be our speaker! All in all, when it comes to story, it looks to be a good year for the Woodland Library!
For further reading, check out Woodland’s Library Resource Centre: https://sites.google.com/a/woodland.on.ca/library-resource/