Saturday, January 14, 2017

Elvis In The Library!

I have always loved the music of Elvis Presley. When I was a child, my parents frequently played Elvis records at our home. This music was a major influence on me when I became a musician as a teenager. From a library and programming perspective, Elvis is an important artist to share with the entire learning community since his influence made rock and roll music popular on an international scale.

A Spontaneous Idea Hits Big

Several years ago in January, we decided to put on an "Elvis Week" program in the library when I was the Jr. High librarian at Lakeside. I remember it being a success since most learners didn't really know much about Elvis (other than recognizing his image and some of his music). I have been wanting to bring this program back but wasn't sure how our high school learners would respond. We brainstormed the idea for this January (as a way to celebrate his birthday). We decided to have an Elvis "lip curl" photo activity. We thought we could get the younger students to attempt the iconic Elvis look as a fun activity. We also thought we could show a portion of one of his concert videos and have students answer essential questions about the performance (how the concert relates to modern performances, how the music relates to music of the present, etc). We decided to try the program!

The School Was All Shook Up

Peggy Schaeffer, one of our amazing assistants, decorated the library with Elvis cardboard models and a rock and roll theme. She also pulled our many Elvis books and displayed them around the library. Students immediately began asking about all the decorations. These made a great conversation piece for everyone. Students would get excited and share that their parents or grandparents had Elvis recordings or videos. Some shared that they had visited Graceland, his home in Memphis, Tennessee.

One lunch period, we decided to start asking students to show us their best Elvis "lip curl". We couldn't believe how students got into this activity! We all took photos of students attempting to look like the King of Rock and Roll. Ray Borel, our other creative library assistant, began taking photos and video of teachers and students in the hall. The activity quickly became a popular draw to the library. Ray even got administrators to pose! He created a video that was shown on all of the televisions in the school. Students and teachers quickly came to us and talked about the activity!

Check out the video that Ray made above! (It's fun watching students & teachers try the Elvis "lip curl".)

A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Impersonation, Please

A student performs an Elvis song during lunch!
Through all the excitement over Elvis, one 9th grade student told me that he did an Elvis impersonation! He showed our staff a video of his amazing performances. He also showed us a video of a Blues Brothers act he and his brother performed. We immediately asked him if they could perform for us in the library during lunch. They agreed and put on a fantastic performance on our stage a few days later! One of the assistant superintendents and the high school principal even attended the performance.

The Library Is Always On Their Mind

Lakeside Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Bruce Orr, poses with Elvis
This all started as a spontaneous thought for a simple library program and activity. As a result, it has opened up countless opportunities for conversations with students and teachers. I wonder how activities like this help change both student and teacher perspectives of the library program? I wonder how parents and administrators are impacted by seeing videos and photos of such events on library and school social media? Our hope is that the library stays on their mind as not only a fun place for a variety of programming but also as a place of information and literacy. We have decided to keep the Elvis theme for a few more weeks. We plan to show a portion of an Elvis concert and let students answer some essential questions (as mentioned in an earlier section). We want them to talk about how the music compares to the music of today. They can also identify differences in video techniques and clothing. There are endless possibilities!

I hope this reflection inspires you to try something new in your library programming this year! You never know what will hit big with students and teachers. With a library program, anything is possible since we have materials and information on all subjects. Start thinking out of the box and reaching out to the learning community in new ways.

Other Posts That Might Interest You: 

Adventures with OER and Google Groups.

Our Disability Awareness lunch program.

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