April 4th is School Librarian Appreciation Day and of all the truly random holidays, this one is our total and complete favorite. Think back to your elementary school days. Did you have a librarian who let you check out as many books as you wanted – well above your reading level – without making you feel strange or different? Maybe your middle school librarian had a pet rat that lived among the stacks Wormtail-style. Or maybe your high school librarian let you and your friends eat lunch there, because she knew how much easier your day would be. We’re giving back to those folks who planted that literary seed. Because it’s never too late to say thank you.
Write a sweet and heartfelt note
You may not remember your school librarian’s name, but they sure remember you. They remember how you gravitated towards The Boxcar Children series and later – when you tried to read Fahrenheit 451 in sixth grade. They remember every handwritten checkout card, every book report, every hesitant look you gave as you checked out a book that was maybe too mature or too silly or too whatever else you feared. Take the time to write an honest and heartfelt thank you note to your school librarian for all the joy and kindness that they showed you. We’ll even get you started: “Dear Mr./Ms./Mx. _______, Thank you for instilling the love of reading in me at such an early age.” You can take it from there.
Pay off a current student’s library fine
Call up your alma matter and ask your school librarian if there are any students with unpaid library fines. Many schools will allow community members to anonymously pay off school lunch and library fines as a way of alleviating financial pressure from the students who need it most. Since many libraries revoke borrowing privileges from readers with large fines, your anonymous gift has the power to bring reading back into a student’s life. And if your school library is magically fine-free, ask if they have an Amazon Wish List you can contribute to.
Donate your gently used books
Most public libraries won’t accept used book donations for circulation because they’re unequipped to deal with a high volume of in-kind donations. But school libraries are often passed up in those Marie Kondo inspired purges. Shoot a quick email to your neighborhood school librarian with a list of the books you’re looking to give away, asking if they could use any of your gently used titles. Our favorite school librarians keep a running list of the books they want to share with their students – and you never know, it could be the perfect fit!
Donate your time
Call your local school librarian and see if there’s any way you could donate your time to what is, historically, an understaffed department. Maybe they need someone to come by and shelve books for one hour a week. Maybe they’ve been looking for someone to chair the annual library fundraiser. Maybe the elementary school just needs someone to read to the kindergarten students one morning a week. Whatever the need, you’re here to help! And what an incredible way to give back to the very same community that made you fall in love with the written word.