Who can be a Booklegger? Virtually anyone, provided they are available during regular school hours (8:30 a.m. through 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday). The main qualifications are a love of reading and desire to share that love with children. There are no educational prerequisites or financial requirements. Books on the Booklegger list are provided by the Alameda County Library.
What schools and what grades are visited? How often? Each Fremont Unified K-6 class is visited once every 1 1/2 years. Junior high English classrooms are visited annually.
What is the time commitment involved in the program? During training, class time is 3 hours weekly, and homework time is about the same. After training, Bookleggers are asked to visit, 12 to 18 classes a semester. A semester lasts 4 months, one in fall and one in spring. A Kindergarten class visit lasts only about 20-25 minutes; a third or fourth grade class visit about 30-40 minutes; a fifth or sixth grade class about 40 - 45 minutes; and a junior high class visit about 55 minutes. So, the amount of time involved depends upon the grade level a Booklegger selects.
Who chooses which school and which grade level a Booklegger will visit? Bookleggers indicate which grade levels they prefer. Each semester Bookleggers indicate their preferences from the schools being visited and the assignments are made based on those choices. Grade level preferences are flexible and Bookleggers can change them from semester to semester.
Who chooses which books will be used? There is a select list of books which the Alameda County Library stocks in abundance for the Bookleggers to use. Bookleggers have a wide variety to choose from within this list, but are strongly urged not to use books outside of the list. The books for this list are chosen by the Booklegger Steering Committee, which is made up of 9 members, librarians and Bookleggers. They carefully screen books for their "salability", and avoid choosing award winners (which are too well publicized), over popular series (Animorphs for example), curriculum books, or classics (which are taught in the classrooms already). The book list is updated annually with fresh new winning books.
How well are the books received? Do kids really like the program?Booklegger books are checked out 3 times more frequently than other children's books. Our greatest successes are with non-readers. We frequently hear from students who have never enjoyed reading before, and are now hooked! It is interesting that though adults view the Booklegger program as a literacy project, children regard Bookleggers as entertainment. This is probably because there are no assignments associated with Booklegger visits. Students are never forced to read these books, they can choose to read them in their recreational time. They always great their Booklegger guests with smiles and cheers - it's a wonderful greeting!
How long is training? When and where does it take place? Training takes 8 weeks to complete, 2 1/2 hours every Tuesday morning from 9:15 to 11:45. Normally training takes place in the Fall and again in the Spring. Sessions take place at the Fremont Main Branch Library, which is located at 2500 Stevenson Boulevard, Fremont. It's very important that trainees attend every class!
What is taught in class? What presentation skills are assumed? The Booklegger training class assumes nothing - all the skills necessary to be able to make an exciting classroom presentation are taught! We'll teach you effective methods of storytelling, how to booktalk, how to use props if you should choose to do so, how to mix genres, what books are effective at which grade levels, how to work with gifted readers, reluctant readers, and readers functioning below grade level. For several sessions we have experienced guest speakers give their tips and expert advice for successful booklegging. We'll have you practice your new skills in the training class and, towards the end of training, you'll be able to visit two actual classrooms full of kids!
Who pays for the Booklegger Program? What is the cost to the Booklegger? In the beginning the program was funded by a grant. When the grant funding ran out, Alameda County Library accepted responsibility for providing the supplies and financing needed to maintain the program. The books on the Booklegger list are provided to the Alameda County Library from donations to the Fremont Library Trust Fund. Bookleggers only have to provide their time and enthusiasm!
Who runs the program? The program falls under the auspices of the Children's Department, and is run out of the Fremont Main Branch. The Booklegger Office is located in the Fremont Main Branch, in the Children's Section of the library.