Each December in Mount Seskin Community College it is tradition for books to be given as gifts from students to their younger siblings at home. The books are ordered by the Librarian in early November, Christmas paper and tags are bought, Sellotape stocked up on, and the library is set up for all students with younger siblings to come in and choose books, have them wrapped up in Christmas paper and add a gift tag that they wrote. Not all students in our school community celebrate Christmas, so there is the option of non-Christmas wrapping paper so that all students can choose to gift books to their siblings.
What started as ‘Early Literacy Christmas Gifts’ by the previous Librarian Sarah McAllister, approximately 7 years ago, where younger siblings (aged 4 and under) of students received books as gifts for Christmas from their brothers and sisters, has evolved into the ‘Every Child Gets a Book’ initiative, where all of the students’ younger siblings receive books as gifts. In addition to this, the Librarian gifts a wrapped book to each student in the school, meaning that every child, both in the school and in their families at home, receives a book for Christmas. For the student gifts, the Librarian personally chooses each book with the student in mind, writes the tags, engages some staff to help with wrapping, then visits each class to hand out the gifts.
This December and similar to last year 314 books were wrapped and gifted to students, and just over 450 books were chosen for siblings, tags written by the students and then all wrapped up with help from some students and staff. Special thanks this year to Julian our German Language Assistant and 2nd year elves Kayleigh Murphy, Kaylee Farrelly, Yasmin Malone, Caoimhe McCarthy and Lovleen Kumar, and of course our JCSP Coordinator Caitriona Mulhall for organising an army of staff for wrapping student gifts.
It’s an honour to run this initiative and to have the resources to fund it. Getting books into homes and hands, gifting the joy of reading and fostering a culture of reading for pleasure and love of books. It’s a tradition that has been expanded on and that we hope will continue every year here in Mount Seskin Community College.
Since writing this blog post, Doreen has left the JCSP Library Project to take up an exciting new position in the library in UCC. We think the image below (showing Doreen travelling from class to class in Mount Seskin C.C. to deliver personal book gifts to every student in the school) very aptly depicts her heading off on her new adventures where she will undoubtedly continue to impart her love of reading and learning to everyone she encounters along the way. Thanks for everything Doreen. You will be missed!