Unfortunately, most high school students do not see the library as a cool place to be. Whether or not you can change that, you can plan some entertaining and enriching activities for them to perform during their scheduled library time. By putting some time into planning these library events you may be able to get them to voluntarily spend more time in the library.
Library Scavenger Hunt
This activity is for your students to better understand the library and to see all that it has to offer. Divide your students into several different groups in an effort to finish a library scavenger hunt first. Give each group a list of ten different items they need to find or list. Some examples of items on the scavenger hunt can be to "Introduce yourself to the librarians and list their names on this sheet," "List three bound magazine titles and explain what bound magazines are" and "Locate and list a reference book that represents one of your interests". The first team that answers all the questions correctly wins a prize. All the groups learn a lot more about the library than they knew before.
Get Caught Reading
This school-wide activity encourages students to read during their free time. Make an announcement to the school that the library will be giving out coupons and gifts to students who are caught reading by the librarians during the day. Students can be anywhere in the high school and be in the midst of reading to receive their prize. The prize can be a gift certificate or a coupon to the student store. The librarian can then take a picture of the student to add to a collection of students who were caught. If the prize is worthwhile, this may convince students who would not normally read to pick up a book and begin reading.
This activity can help students become more excited about material in classic works of literature that are found in the library. Select several groups of students in a class or grade to put on a presentation of a scene or two from a work of fiction. The presentation can be funny, serious or a mix of both. Try to encourage students who would not normally participate by making it a competition of some kind with a big prize. The students do not have to memorize lines, they simply can sit in their chairs and read the book, but they can use their voices to make the material fun and interesting. This can encourage those watching the presentation to read more after seeing the words come to life. It may just encourage the groups gunning for the cash prize to read a book out loud in a ridiculous way. Either way, more students read as a result of the activity.
The Book Buffet activity gives students an opportunity to read genres that they never would have picked up by themselves. Place a different book on each desk in a classroom. Tell students that they will be reading the book for 5 to 8 minutes and then you will tell them to switch with someone else. These books should be of a great variety with many different types represented. At the end of the class, students should have switched 5 to 10 times. Ask them if there are any books they started that they would continue to read if they had the chance. If so, make sure those students get a copy of the books they enjoyed.
Bryan Cohen has been a writer since 2001 and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double degree in English and dramatic art. His writing has appeared on various online publications including his personal website Build Creative Writing Ideas.