There are perhaps only Three States of Being in teacher-librarianship:
* the regular collaborative teaching mode
* a few weeks of stocktake mode – when I literally Zen out, fully absorbed in the appealing (to me) chore of annual stocktaking
* and a few consecutive days of Book Fair mode. (Pass me my money bucket, a pen, point the customers in my direction – and wake me when it’s over.)
In my current school, our Book Fair traditionally falls in the lead-up to (and on) Grandparents’ Day. After getting over the shock that the current crop of grandparents are actually younger than many of the staff members (yours truly included), these special event days have proven very popular – and a major boost to our annual book-buying coffers.
Not all teacher-librarians like the commercial book fairs for schools. I heard someone call them “slavery to the book company”, or they dislike the book selections – but I’ve found commercial book fairs to be very useful and successful.
With book fairs in K-6 schools, I’ve always promoted the selection and purchase of books, for a personal collection, as being a valuable learning experience for the students. Watching them engage with racks and tables of books for sale can be a valuable exercise. Some students have definitely seen book buying (and book reading) practices modelled at home – long before they arrived at school. But there are just as many students who’ll visit the annual Book Fair with a big wad of money, but then try to buy handsful of highly-decorated stationery items – but no book!
Bringing Grandma or Grandpa to the library for a Book Fair brings back some balance into the equation. Grandparents tend to have such a different type of rapport with their grandchildren than the parents do.
Roll on this week’s festivities!