ARCs Float On

*Edited to add: Bloggers and teachers who are interested in being a part of the program, fill out the survey

ARCsFloatOn Matchmaker Survey

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Since starting at my new school, I have not been blogging as much.  I’ve been working on my curriculum, getting to know my students as readers, and grading a lot!  I have been trying to keep up with my reading, though, and I’ve been posting reviews here on the blog (with more to come).  My to-be-read pile of books continues to grow exponentially, adding titles from blogger reviews, student suggestions, and review books that I receive.

I get a lot of books for review.  At least twice each week I come home to find packages on the porch.  Right now, as a Cybils panelist, I am receiving review copies of the nominated  YA/middle grade nonfiction titles.  Some of the books I receive are finished copies and others are ARCs (advanced readers copies).  I read as many as I can, posting reviews here and on Goodreads. Publishers value the “buzz” that is generated by these early copies and my students love that they get a chance to read books before they are officially published.  I start the year by explaining what ARCs are and showing them some unfinished copies.  My sixth-graders and my high schoolers both understood that ARCs are not finished works and may differ from the final draft.  But ARCs work wonders with readers.  Even the most reluctant reader can be swayed when they realize they are first. They are holding a copy of the book before almost anyone else.

After I read, my ARCs and review copies are put in my classroom library.  Upcoming books are shelved separately, drawing in reluctant readers.  ARCs that have been published (and physically survived my classroom) are moved onto the general shelves  of my library.  Books that are not a good fit for my classroom are given to other teachers.  My sister teaches high school special ed and is just starting her classroom library.  I brought her boxes of high-interest but low-level books this summer.  I also give middle grade titles and elementary titles to other friends who teach those grade levels.  The teachers are always extremely grateful. Plus, my husband is happy because the books are out of our house!  (Honestly, it is only temporary because more books soon replace those that are gone).

Classroom libraries are a vital part of students’ lives.  According to Scholastic’s Classroom Libraries Work: Research & Results,

By providing access to a rich classroom library, teachers promote greater amounts of reading, increased reading frequency, and more diverse reading experiences among their students, thus helping them to attain greater levels of reading achievement.

Unfortunately, almost all teachers fund their classroom libraries on their own.  This means ordering from Scholastic, visiting warehouse sales, soliciting donations from students/parents, and looking longingly at those new titles in the bookstore but knowing it’s impossible to buy them all.  I am extremely lucky; as a reviewer, I have access to the newest titles.  But for most of my friends, this is not true.  The economy has hit schools and teachers hard.  Spending extra money on trade books for the classroom library is hard to justify when it means your own family might do without something else.  Schools are spending their money elsewhere, unable to fund classroom libraries.

While joining in the monthly Twitter chat for #titletalk, Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer) and I started talking about this issue.  I brought up the fact that I know many bloggers who are inundated with titles and have nowhere to donate them.  ARCs can not be sold or cataloged by an actual library, so many are thrown out.  Most public libraries are unable to accept donations of review copies, or finished copies.  (I know mine can not, and I have tried, and tried!)

I suggested that we start a campaign to encourage book reviewers and bloggers to donate their review books and advanced reader copies to classrooms and charities in their communities. I know many of the reviewers already donate their books to local schools, libraries, and literacy charities.  However, I talked to many on Twitter who did not know what to do with their copies.

This is my plea- find a worthy charity or a local classroom teacher.  Give them your ARCs and review copies when you are done.  Tweens and teens NEED access to good books, new literature.  Reviewers are in a special position here and can really help out in these tough economic times.  If you receive free books from publishers (ARCs or review copies!), please consider donating your review books. By donating the books that you receive for free, you are promoting awareness of great books and authors, helping teachers and librarians, and encouraging more reading. Learn more about this initiative or connect to a classroom through the Twitter hashtag, #ARCsFloatOn.

If you are interested, and don’t know how to get matched with a local teacher, feel free to comment here or Tweet me.  I would be happy to do some matchmaking!

*Please remember, ARCs can not be cataloged by an actual library.  However, personal classroom libraries can accept ARCs!

Edited to add:

Want to be matched?  Fill out the survey!

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29 Responses

  1. As a classroom teacher, I love your idea. I teach 8th grade reading and struggle to get students to enjoy reading. There are so many fantastic books I would like to have in my library but that can add up. I work in a district in Ohio that does not have easy access to a public library and our school library is extremely small. I have funded my classroom library by myself because I fell it is so important to get good literature into the hands of my middle schoolers.

    I would love to be matched with a blogger. I follow quite a few and when I come across a good book, if it is out, I borrow it from my public library and bring it into my classroom. If it isn’t out yet I have created a list of good books and I am constantly updating it and checking to see if the books are out.

  2. As a teacher and book blogger, thank you for writing this post! Since I started teaching a few years ago, I’ve built a classroom library that I’m really proud of, and it’s been costly. But our students need great books to read, so it’s worth every penny! I’ve never received any ARCs, and I’m happy you have and are able to include them in your room :) I hope more bloggers help their local schools and libraries.

  3. I saw your post on Twitter & just wanted to say I love this idea! I have a daughter in middle school and will donate some ARC’s to her classroom library.
    Thanks for posting this!

  4. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and would absolutely love ARCs for my students. I am always digging, hunting, and searching for ways to get new books on the shelves of my classroom library.
    I would also like to know how to become a reviewer.
    I love good books.

  5. I am a sixth grade teacher in a high poverty school with a pretty decent classroom library, primarily funded by me. If some matchmaking efforts get rolling, I promise books that make it into my classroom make it into the hands of kids who need them.

  6. Wow! How cool! I teach at a small alternative high school. When I arrived there almost 2 years ago, there were no books for kids to read. They spent their time on an online curriculum. I’ve pieced together funding and donations and donated books to put together a small school library, so regardless of whether kids have me for English, there is a place where kids can get books. I have my own class library also. Some of my kids are reading more than they ever have! They tell me I am out of titles they like! If anyone wants to put books in the hands of my awesome students, we will give them a good home! Our school is a high poverty school. The library has become their favorite room. We’d love to fill it up. My kids blog about their books also, so we would be happy to share our thoughts about books we read!

    Thanks, Sarah and Donalyn!

    Teresa @rdngteach

    • I’ll gladly cover shipping costs as well! Much cheaper than having to buy the books on my own. We’d love your support! Thanks for helping kids love to read!

  7. I am a 7th and 8th grade Reading Language Arts teacher. I not only spend the faculty senate money I get each year on my classroom library, but I also pour my own money into it. I love reading the books and then sharing them with my students. When I was younger I worked at a bookstore and would occasionally have the opportunity to read ARC of books and foundit so fun and exciting, like I had some special present that other people didn’t have. I want my students to feel that way. I would like to be set up with a blogger if all of your hard work to get these books into teacher’s hands works.
    BTW…I follow you on Twitter(even though I don’t tweet and really can’t seem to grasp the idea of it) and love all of the information you said about Goodreads. I’m thinking about setting my students up with accounts later this year.
    Thanks for all of your great ideas!

    Jennifer

  8. My former students used to LOVE it when I’d bring in ARC’s, especially the ones I got from NCTE!
    Speaking of NCTE, will you be there again this year? Hoping to catch up with you in person one of these days.

    • No NCTE for me this year. :( I will be living vicariously through everyone via Twitter. Someday we will meet!

  9. Oh my this would be amazing!! It is tremendously costly to stock a classroom library, but I also am addicted to books for my kids. My district has recently gotten some money for a few class sets, but almost all of my books I have purchased myself. I spend my summer days lugging my 2 year old to garage sales and salvation army stores looking for cheap books for my kids. I can’t tell you the last time I read an “adult” book, because I would rather read another book to book talk to my kids. I MISS you being in 6th grade, as that is what I teach!!

  10. I wish public libraries could take them. I’ve been hitting up my library’s children section and they don’t have many of the newer titles due to budget restraints. I wish I got more children’s books for review but I tend to focus more on YA.

    This is a great project though!

  11. Hello, I’m from Brazil, and I read your post by Meg Cabot retweet that his loved your approach, it is wonderful. Keds and I think teenagers need training early, and nothing like reading to make them better people. We live in a world full of violence and misery, and reading plays a key role in this phase, which is to transport us to another universe!

    Really loved your idea, and I can let it spread around here!

  12. I’m here via Meg Cabot’s tweet. While I’m not a book blogger, by nature of being a librarian-in-training who adores YA I’ve managed to accumulate a reasonably-sized stack of YA ARCs that I haven’t been able to figure out what to do with. So while I’m not able to be consistently “paired” with a classroom because I simply don’t get enough ARCs, I’d love to find one to accept a one or maybe two-time (as I slowly work through the current stack) donation of a few books. Most of them aren’t still pre-pub, but I think all have come out within the last 2-3 years, and some of them have become quite popular.

  13. Thanks for creating the survey, Sarah. Let’s match those teachers and reviewers!

  14. I teach 7th grade Language Arts and my class is entirely based on choice in reading. I can never keep enough new stuff in. My classroom library is funded my me and any bonus points I can spend at Scholastic. One hates to think one is funding a classroom library over saving for my own kids to attend college, so I try to exercise moderation. This idea is much appreciated!!

  15. I am a teacher who would love to receive some ARCs (new or used) for my classroom library. I spend hundreds of dollars a year purchasing books so that my students have exciting YA to read. I donate all of my ARCs to my classroom, but there are some titles that I either cannot afford or don’t have ARCs of. This is such a great idea! Thanks.

  16. As a teacher & blogger this is exactly what I do with my ARCs & I have seen amazing things happen with my students reading since I started my blog last year! They love reading the new books & feel special that they have them before anyone else does! I love this idea & am more than willing to help with shipping!! Thanks so much for this :)

    xoxo
    Jennie

  17. This is such a great idea! I’m actually a school librarian and this would be great for my kids. :)

  18. I am a middle school librarian for grades 7-8. I pick up tons of ARC’s at conferences, plus I also review books for several publishers, and am on the Pura Belpre Award Committee this year, so I also get lots of packages at home. For the 3 yrs. I’ve been at my school, I have donated all my ARC’s to all of the English teachers’ classroom libraries in both grades. As you said, the teachers & kids love them. I donate high school books to a high school librarian friend in a poorer district, that she distributes to her students, and I give elementary level ones to a friend who teaches on that level in another poorer district. So, “spreading the love” with ARC’s is definitely a win-win situation for everyone.

  19. [...] from that discussion is ARCs Float On, a project to get books to potential readers. You can read Sarah’s post and subscribe to follow the #ARCsFloatOn hashtag. If you are looking to donate books or are a [...]

  20. This is a brillant idea! Libraries cannot catalog finish copies that are donated? I would never have thought that. Is that all donations or just review copies?

    I have two bags of books that I was going to take to a local library in the hopes they’ll be able to use them. Some of them not even published yet. If you know of a classroom in Eastern Oakland County, Michigan who would like them, have them send me an email.

  21. I feel like I should mention that most of my titles are urban fantasy and some random titles.

  22. This is brilliant! I donate all my review books and finished books that are sent for review, to an Indian Reservation that has NO public library. The college librarian distributes them for me. I’m working on my own project for that. But I love that you are helping out other teachers to get books for their libraries.

  23. Hey, just filled out your survey in response to your tweet for help. I don’t get lots of review copies in general, but have a bunch of picture books from past Cybils judging. I have a random collection of Random House middle grade and YA that I could pass on, but I just wanted to make my survey clearer in that my books in this area is a bit more – well, random.

  24. I enjoy reading your blog every day. As a male primary teacher I find that alot of the reviews on books are from female teachers and female librarians. My question would be how can I go about becoming a teacher who reviews books? Would there be any desire for publishers to have a different voice in the review process. I love the idea that you are starting with the ARCs. Thanks for taking my question and I would really enjoy seeing what you have to think about how to become a reviewer. Thanks

    • Just start a blog! I started out reviewing library books and books that I purchased. From there, the blog grew and I felt comfortable contacting publishers and attending shows like ALA/BEA. I also commented on lots of blogs and networked that way.

      Good luck!

  25. [...] from that discussion is ARCs Float On, a project to get books to potential readers. You can read Sarah’s post and subscribe to follow the #ARCsFloatOn hashtag. If you are looking to donate books or are a [...]

  26. [...] go to classrooms and libraries. If you need a place to donate your ARCs, consider enrolling in the ARCs Float On program, run by Sarah Mulhern [...]

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