Be it the preparation for a university examination or a power nap, a library serves the purpose of both! The uncompromisable factor however is the set of rules that govern the library, also called the library etiquette. Library etiquette is in place to ensure the good behavior of folks visiting it.
More or less, all libraries have similar etiquettes to ensure no disturbance. At first, students may find it a little difficult to get acquainted with these etiquettes, but with time, like everyone else, they will be able to follow them quite effortlessly!
To make this experience a little more seamless, the high schooler has curated this article consisting of six activities that you can engage the students in, to make them well-versed with library etiquette.
The need for a library in schools
Libraries are an essential source of information for students. Besides, they also help them in building a ‘reading habit.’ Every school must have a library. The concept remains the same, only the books, the design, and the platforms are different.
Giving students access to a library within the school premises can promote individual as well as group learning. It also has the potential in vocab building, improvising comprehension skills, and other important etiquettes such as the habit of reading in the mind, maintaining silence, and much more.
Having talked about libraries, what is essential is following the code and conduct or etiquette of the library. To help instill the same within children, read the next section and understand how you can do it in a way that is not only efficient but also fun!
Activities to inculcate library etiquette among students!
Etiquette 1 – Never talk in full volume in libraries
Ideally, students must try and avoid talking unless really necessary. Even when the necessity arises, students must whisper instead of talk. This is because others are either reading or working and talking in your usual volume can only hamper their concentration. If one breaks this rule, they are likely to be faced with a loud and strong ‘shush’ coming their way.
One way to train students for whispering is to make them play the famous activity of Chinese Whispers. Chinese Whispers, also known as ‘The Telephone ’ requires students to pass on a message by whispering it in one another’s ear. Divide students into groups of 6-7 and make them stand in a circle and say a word or a phrase in the first student’s ear. The same student must pass on the said phrase or word to the next student’s ear by whispering. The activity continues until the last student has gotten the message and must speak it out loud.
The idea is to give students a difficult word or a phrase and see if the last student is able to speak out the same word. In most cases, the word or phrase shall be something different. The group that comes up with the most accurate word or phrase wins. Students are required to listen and speak carefully. And in this activity, they will only speak the said word or phrase and nothing else, which pretty much is one of the library etiquettes – whispering out the essential.
Etiquette 2 – Read quietly, preferably in your mind!
The library is a place for those reading and researching. You may not know but the person sitting next to you may be preparing to publish a research paper or maybe simply reading a picture book or a novel. In either case, you cannot disturb them by reading out aloud! You must and should read quietly and in your mind.
To help students with this etiquette you can organize a book review. Since every student picks up a book or two during the library hour, you can ask them to give a review of what they have read once the library hour is over. This will promote two things: Concentration of the student while reading and Other students will get a taste of various books that the library has to offer.
The only thing that may pose a hindrance is the genre. While some students may pick up novels, others may pick up encyclopedias and research publications. In such a case, you can still ask the students to give a brief of the research paper or list amazing facts from the encyclopedia. You can also reward the best book review with chocolates or any other gift you think the students may like.
Etiquette 3 – Build a book tower, but don’t hoard them all!
When students know their library inside out, they are likely to spend less time on the floor roaming around to pick up books. Ensuring students are off the library floors is necessary because it can be disturbing when a student leaves the seat every now and then to pick up a book or two. Now, imagine all the students doing it! Disturbing, right?
To help students with this etiquette, you can make them play a ‘get to know your library’ activity. This can be a group or individual activity. You can ask the students a few questions like ‘Where are the biology books placed?’ or ‘Locate the encyclopedia based on the animal kingdom.’ or ‘Where is the rack containing fictional books?’ etc. This will be trivia wherein it is required that students know their library quite well to answer the questions.
On the other hand, since students need to prepare thoroughly for the quiz, they need to have the library mapped in their brains. Not only will they excel in the quiz, but they will also roughly have an idea of what book is where which thereby eliminates constant movement for bringing in more books. This will keep them off the library floor and will reduce overall disturbances, thus contributing to a peaceful environment in the library.
You can conduct this quiz at the beginning of the library session. Or, you can club it with any other class quiz under a separate section and it will add to the fun factor. You can make the quiz more interesting and tricky by asking specific questions which would require students to pick up specific books or books by a specific author. You can also include questions on the do’s and don’ts of the library.
Etiquette 4 – Respect the librarian and the staff!
This etiquette goes without saying, but it is still important to ensure that students are respectful of the librarian and the library staff. Respectfulness ensures that students greet the librarian and library staff, register their books before borrowing, return the books on time, and more!
To help students with this etiquette, you can appoint one student in each library session as the librarian, and two more students as the library staff. The appointed students must carry out all the duties of the librarian and the staff and ensure that the library has no disturbance.
Participating in an activity like this will give students an idea of all the duties of a librarian and how it is important that the other students respect the librarian by following the etiquette of the library!
Etiquette 5 – Always return the books on time, or ask for an extension before the due date
Returning borrowed books on time in the library is essential. Failing to do so can incur a fine, which can increase over time if not paid. In case students want to prolong the due date for returning a book, they must go and renew it. Most libraries have a system in place that records essential details of the student like name and grade every time they borrow a book.
An important underlying aspect is time management. Students should be aware of the due date of the books they borrow and accordingly, either return or renew a book. To help students with this etiquette, you can ask them to set ‘reading goals’ for them, wherein, they will set a goal of reading a certain number of pages or chapters.
Once done, you can ask them to give a written book review of whatever they have read. This will also help them get their hands on creative writing. In case they are not able to read a chapter or section completely, they are free to end it until where they have read it. They need to conclude by listing out their learnings from the book. This will ensure that they try to stick to the self-set goal and adhere to it. If however, they want an extension to complete their self-set goal, they can always ask for an extension!
Etiquette 6 – Ensure the desk remains clean after the library session
It is essential that the desk is cleared and chairs are placed properly in their place after the library session is over. For this, every student is responsible. It is done to ensure that the library is clean and is also ready for the next batch of students to accommodate it.
To help students inculcate this etiquette, you can appoint a secret discipline squad by selecting a few students each time. The duty of the squad is to ensure that every other student clears out his desk, does not bring in edibles into the library, and places the chair back into the same place where it initially was.
In case a student fails to do so, the squad can assign a duty to the student, such as maintenance and clean up, volunteering for school assembly, etc. Meanwhile, it is essential that the squad keeps the teacher in the loop of all these.
How can high schoolers contribute to the well-being and development of their school library?
Given how the library plays a vital role in nurturing students and inculcating life skills in them, it shall be highly appreciable if students decide to contribute to the well-being and development of their school library.
Following are some pointers that students can incorporate with the guidance of their teachers:
- Placing indoor plants.
- Taking up a clean-up spree at the library that checks for the condition of the books.
- Installing posters of motivational quotes around the corners to promote a healthy learning environment.
- Making section cards for each genre such as ‘fictional books’, and ‘encyclopedias’, etc., and pasting them at sections where the designated books are present.
- Putting up hand-made posters such as ‘do’s and don’ts’ at a library, ‘library etiquettes’, etc.
To conclude, library etiquette not only have an importance within the school premises, but also help students later with their university. Going ahead, students will also find daily use of these etiquettes in their life. Reading in the mind, ensuring that the desks are clean after use etc. find use in day-to-day life and are essential life skills. Hence, having access to a library is not only limited to increasing knowledge but also paves the way to inculcating essential life skills.
Sananda Bhattacharya, Chief Editor of TheHighSchooler, is dedicated to enhancing operations and growth. With degrees in Literature and Asian Studies from Presidency University, Kolkata, she leverages her educational and innovative background to shape TheHighSchooler into a pivotal resource hub. Providing valuable insights, practical activities, and guidance on school life, graduation, scholarships, and more, Sananda’s leadership enriches the journey of high school students.
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