If you are a stakeholder in a school library, you don’t need us to tell you that it is becoming more challenging to encourage young people to read, particularly for pleasure. The ongoing Millenium Cohort Study by University College London (UCL), is following the lives of around 19,000 young people born in the UK, and a recent article in the Telegraph looks at a suggested link between ‘the amount of time young people spend on social media and their levels of literacy’. So, what can you do to encourage students to start picking up those books again?
Make your library accessible
The school day is a busy one, with lunchtime clubs and after school activities, let alone catching up with friends, so if you are going to entice those reticent readers through your doors, you need to be open when they want to come in. Perhaps open the library half an hour before school starts, even if it’s just for a couple of days each week, and later in the afternoon. If staffing is an issue, security gates and RFID tagging may be a cost-effective solution.
Get your colleagues on board
Don’t try to solve this challenge on your own, talk to subject teachers (and not just the English Literature ones!) and encourage them to use the library for some of their lessons. A change of class venue, an opportunity to do some independent research, and a chance to soak up the atmosphere of your library may be the catalyst some pupils need to get reading again.
Market your library
You don’t have to do this single-handed. Get those aspiring artists to design you some posters and the would-be journalists to write you some catchy copy, and you’re nearly there. Do you have library prefects? Maybe they could organise and lead some after school events to target your hard to reach audience?
If you can’t beat them join them
We’re not suggesting you fill your library with games consoles and burn the books, but perhaps a few strategically placed graphic novels or a competition to find the literary character that relates most to your favourite You-Tuber or game hero. Bring technology into the library: laptop loans for subject research and online homework, self-service checkouts to put the pupils in control (and free up your time to support more students) and security solutions with a rapid ROI, will help you to modernise the library concept.
Bring the library into the 21st Century
Have a look at some photos of your library from ten years ago, maybe even fifteen or twenty. How much has it changed? Then look at the lifestyles of teenagers today, compared to ten years ago. You see where we’re going with this, don’t you? Ask your students what would get them reading, make sure you have content to appeal to everyone and pull out the stops to inspire everyone to unlock the secrets that good literature provides.
D-Tech provides industry-leading, innovative technologies and products to enhance your library services, and optimise your efficiency. What sets us apart from many of our competitors is our competitive pricing and our exemplary customer care. If you would benefit from some industry advice as to how library technology can help your school to save money give us a call on 01394420077 or visit www.d-techinternational.com