A Gateway to Living, Learning and Reading

A Gateway to Living, Learning and Reading

by librarians Jennifer Gibson-Millis and Viki Radford


Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible.

-- President Barack Obama

Every book has its ideal reader, and every reader has their ideal book. It is the role of the library - and its librarians -  to bring books and readers together, to ensure a lifelong love for reading. The YIS library is a haven for independent readers and learners, who possess both a love for reading, and the skills to locate their ideal books. One of the ways we do this is by developing an evolving collection of books that takes into account requests and recommendations from all members of our school community. Having a genrified fiction collection from picture books through to Young Adult fiction makes it easier for everyone to browse the shelves and find the books they have been looking for. Genrification is an approach where books are classified by reader interest: realistic, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, horror, and so on. This makes it easier for all of our library users to find books that will interest and inspire them - and to be surprised by the books they find next to their existing favourites. Rather than being overwhelmed at the prospect of choosing from 20,000 books, students can go directly to the genre they prefer, and find books that are guaranteed to keep them interested. Since genrification was completed in August 2022, circulations have shown an increase of 26.5%  - that’s an additional 3500 checkouts just in the first term!

Besides the attention given to the collection and presentation of books, a vital component of fostering the love of reading is acquiring the skills to find books. Students in elementary and secondary enjoy classes in the library with our licensed Librarians, Ms. Viki and Ms. Gibson-Millis. A snapshot of an elementary class would be a captivating story followed by book talks, students browsing for books and the time to cozy up and read their books. Mini lessons on using the library catalog and navigating the library shelves are also peppered into the weekly lessons. For the secondary grades, a rotating schedule provides an opportunity for all subject area teachers to participate in the reading sessions. During the sessions, Ms. Gibson-Millis leads the students in sharing book talks, learning techniques to find books, and tools to record the books to read and ones that have been read.Through exposure to new and exciting books and the confidence to find their own books, the library fosters a love of reading that will last students their entire lives.

From playing games about books to quietly reading in a favorite nook to collaborating with service groups with a book drive, students have a number of after school choices to celebrate their passion for books and our library. Student-led library councils for all divisions are an excellent avenue for students to create the library that they envision based on their peers' interests. The events that are chosen, the books that are requested, - even some of the Sakura Medal book nominations - are acted on by students, who are uniquely placed to understand what students want from their library. Being a leader, collaborating as a team, planning and following a timeline are all skills that are developed through these focused groups.

So, step into our wonderful library, and find the gateway to living, learning, and reading well.