As I am about to embark on yet another book fair I am left to wonder why do I REALLY have one every year?
Is it because of the fact that we want to promote reading to our students? I love the idea of promoting independent reading to students but not all students and parents can afford the books and material at the fair. We are a Title I School and I have a lot of students who can not afford the materials at the fair. It always makes me sad to see these students want all these books but know they can’t get them cause they don’t have the money. The irony is also not lost on me that I am having the fair in my library and asking kids to pay for books when they could just check out books for free from the library. And let’s be honest, how many kids are buying books and how many use their money on the pens, pencils, erasers etc? I know at my school way more is spent on “junk” than books.
Do we have book fairs because it is one of the only ways we can get money and material for our school libraries? I know that is the case for me. My budget is small and seems to get smaller each year. I am left looking for ways to supplement it and the book fair, even though I don’t earn very much from it. It is though a sad commentary on public education today that we are not giving enough money to our libraries and we need to rely on book fairs.
Or is it because it is tradition and something we as School librarians must do? When I came into my new job I was told we always do the book fair during parent teacher conferences, so I am continuing that tradition. It does make me wonder, just because it has always been done does that mean that I must continue doing it. I am reminded of a quote from Grace Hooper that states, “the most dangerous phrase in the language is we have always done it.”
I really would love to honestly know why you have a book fair. Please let me know in the comments below.
Elissa Malespina is the Middle School Teacher Librarian in Somerville and a Presenter, Author and much more. The views are my own. Find my full resume above.