Popular Item #1
Up first, the new addition to our Makerspace. In March I asked students to vote on how to spend the rest of the year's Makerspace funds; they picked from the following options: a Cue robot, a sewing machine, a button maker or more Little Bits. Although the Cue robot ultimately won, the button maker was the second runner up, so I purchased it as well. I got the Neil 2 1/4" button machine, along with an XXL circle punch.
The kids looooove the button maker. It has quickly become the most popular Makerspace tool in the library. I think they're enjoying it so much because it allows them to express themselves in a really easy, convenient, and polished way. They like the concept of displaying their feelings, interests, ideas, etc. on a button, and they just.can't.get.enough.
Popular Item #2
Q: What's one of the biggest stressors faced by high school kids? A: A cell phone battery on 10% :)
Okay, so maybe running out of phone battery isn't awful enough to be considered a true crisis, but it does cause serious concern for a bunch of our students. It's especially a problem for students that are staying after school for activities, clubs, practice and games - they rely on phones to communicate with parents about pick-ups and also use the phones do homework on long bus rides to competitions.
For many of the kids, phone batteries don't make it until the end of the day. It's not practical for students to plug their phones into wall outlets and then wait there while it charges. Also, our code of conduct says: "Students will not be provided the ability to charge electronic devices, as electrical cables will create a safety hazard. As such, students should ensure that such devices are charged before bringing them to school." These lines were written to prevent students from plugging phones into school computers (potentially introducing technology problems) and plugging them into wall outlets, creating trip hazards with cords.
To solve this problem, I invested in four portable chargers. I bought these on Amazon for about $20 each, and picked them specifically because they have both Andorid and Apple charging cables built right in. We bar coded the chargers and assigned each a loan period of two hours.
The chargers are checked out to students all day, every day. I did a tiny bit of advertising with a few signs in the library, but then news of the chargers spread very quickly without me having to do anything else. Kids that don't normally use the library are showing up to borrow the chargers, so maybe they'll find some other great stuff while they're here juicing up their phone.
Any new purchases in your library that students just can't get enough of?