As it approaches the end of the year, I already have some really exciting ideas for what I would like to do for celebrations here in the library, especially for the Class of 2016. However, since I'm not a classroom teacher anymore, I often forget just about how stressed out everyone can get at the end of the year. It's a crazy time for students and staff alike, and I have been toying with an idea of having quiet hours in the library as we approach finals as my library is usually very lively. I've done on occasion when forced to with pretty good success. Therefore, I think with a little warning, I could pull off my idea of a Zen Library.
That's a mantra I used a lot as a teacher and continue to use as a librarian. Give them guidance, back away, and then give them the chance to do the right thing. If you constantly hover or are paralyzed by how students may negatively react, you'll never take risks.
So I took my own advice given to me by my library tech, and I told her I decided to do a coloring table for the end of the year along with some coloring bookmarks I found on Pinterest. Then she said to me, "I wonder what other 'Zen' things you could do because that's really the point of the adult coloring book."
I love it when she says something that simply sends the wheels in my head turning! So then I began to think about all the things I possibly do to help kids through finals by destressing and becoming more Zen. Immediately I thought of simple things such as quiet library time to help students study and destress. In addition to this though, I began to gather ideas beyond just a coloring table and bookmarks. What else could the library offer to help students destress?
The idea would be for students to think of positive things during this very stressful time. It's a simple idea that could easily change every other day or have multiple areas where students could post answers and let it grow throughout the two weeks I plan on having a Zen Library.
In addition to the coloring and "journaling," we also have a meditation club on campus this year. How amazing would it be to ask if the meditation club wanted to meet in the library one lunch during these two weeks to have an open session for anyone interested in de-stressing and getting into meditation, a new love of mine. We'll see if it works out, but it's just another things to add to our Zen Library.
Finally, there's the idea of gathering various simple handheld game such as a Rubrick's Cube, stress ball, etc. and setting up a de-stressing area featuring these kind of simple games.
Overall, I think the idea of coming together nicely. Hopefully I can manage to pull it off. Future posts will tell!
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past three years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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