Scandinavia has the best libraries.

I had another moment. You know, that moment when you hear a librarian talk about what she does and then you want to BE that kind of librarian. In my International Librarianship class today, we had a children’s librarian from Finland (via skype) tell us about libraries in Scandinavia. She showed us pictures from two or three different libraries but the one that really stuck out was Rum för Barn in Stockholm, Sweden. It is a library designed especially for children under the age of eleven. The shelves are made to be climbed on and in, there are special peek holes where crawling children can find butterflies and things, and there are very cool shadow boxes that show children what kinds of books can be found on each shelf. I was so jealous, looking at her pictures and thinking about how I’d never been to a library like that and now I wouldn’t fit. Also, at the same library the librarians, who are all coincidentally women, wear special skirts with many pockets. In some of those pockets, they carry slips of paper with words on them. Some of the words are real words and some are nonsense, but children can “borrow” the words to use as inspiration and “return” them in a special basket when they are done. How awesome is that?

The guest speaker also spoke about something called “book talking” which I had never heard of before. The way she explained it, it is exactly what it sounds like. Basically outlining the characters in a book and giving one exciting event that happens, then telling the children to read the book. Awesome! Tell the kids just enough to get them hooked on the story and then leave them with a “and you should read the rest of it yourself.” I think that’s a great strategy to get children interested in reading. I know I’d have to read the book to find out what happened.

But anyways, all three of the libraries she showed us pictures of are REALLY awesome. I now want to study Finnish or Swedish so that I can move to Scandinavia and be a children’s librarian in a totally amazing children’s library like Rum för Barn.

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margaretportier

I am a teen librarian. I am a learner of things and a doer of doings.

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