Developing the Library’s French Collection

This year I am taking the time to evaluate our French collection and I am trying to fill in some curriculum gaps in order to help our French teachers give students at the school the best possible French language education.  Over the years there have been some beautiful books ordered, but were they the ones that the teachers wanted and needed?  That was the question I needed answered.

As I sat with each teacher, it was wonderful to hear about their specific curriculum needs.  English language arts teachers are often the first to tell me what books they need or want to help teach their topics.  But it is not something done as frequently with French language or Hebrew language teachers, probably because what was missing weren’t really topical books, but books that simply help teach French reading and comprehension.  These books are most often levelled readers that allow students to tackle reading one step at a time.  And this was by far the most requested type of resource that came up in these conversations.

Our teachers want to be able to have tangible evidence of our students progress by how well they can move from book A to B to C.  What’s more, having a hard copy of a book gives teachers the peace of  mind that students are staying on task… which isn’t always possible when work is assigned on a device.

There are numerous companies that have designed fantastic French readers that allow teachers to follow student progress.  But at the OJCS we need to streamline what system the team would want to use for assessment purposes.  For this reason a meeting with the team as a whole was required.  The November PD day was an opportunity for the French team to sit down and discuss their options.

I think going into this PGP it hadn’t occured to me how much this project could grow.  This became a really important conversationa about streamlining French language education at the OJCS.

It also illustrates to me the value of having these kinds of conversations more frequently with teachers outside of English Language Arts.  It is my hope that faculty in other departments will see the value of letting me know their needs so that we can together build the best possible collection of resources in the OJCS library.

Another big area that needs to be filled for our French department is French language Jewish holiday books.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if PJ Library published select titles in French for their big Canadian Jewish community!  That is exactly what I reached out to them to let them know.  I am sure there are many families in many of our French forward provinces who would love to have access to PJ Library titles in French.  If you agree I encourage you to also reach out to them and share your request.  Phone: 413-276-0800   Some of our staff who regularly travel to Montreal will also be keeping their eyes peeled for these special and rare books!

My next step in this project is to evaluate and reorganize the French collection we currently have and find out what we do have that meets specific teacher requirements.  I have worked to grow the French collection little by little each year and I know there are definitely curriculum matches there and I want to ensure that I get those books into the teachers hands who need them.  I also want to reorganize that collection in a way that makes it easy for French language teachers to come in and find what they need right away.

This has been a very positive undertaking and I look forward to continuing my work on this project as the year progresses.

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