The Library

Posted by Nancy Callan on 22 September 2012 | 0 Comments

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With September being back to school time, it's a great time for a field trip to the library. This is a destination that can work well for any class from beginner to upper intermediate ESL. 

New immigrants often do not have a library card, so getting a library card can be the task for a beginner level field trip. Preparing for the task in class would involve practicing filling in the application form, as well as practicing dialogues at the counter to request the card. 

With a beginner class, I also focus on identifying items in the library, such as a dictionary, an atlas, a paperback or a newspaper. I take students to the media section to find materials for learning English as a second language, helping students to find textbooks and cassettes or DVDs at their level to borrow for home study. 

If there is a multi-lingual section, it can provide a great opportunity to practice the names of various languages, matching them to the countries they are spoken in. 

With a higher level class, searching for various materials in the library catalog can be a useful activity. Preparing for that activity in class would involve learning vocabulary such as author, subject, title, sub-title, patron, copy status, and call number.

Before your field trip to the library, here below are some conversation questions I use for pair interviews, to get students talking about the library. Feel free to copy them and try them out in your own class. 


Let’s talk about the Library


1.  Was the library big or small where you grew up?


2.  Did you go to the library often in your home country? 


3.  Did your parents or grandparents ever take you to the library when

     you were a child?  If yes, what did you borrow from the library?


4.  Did your parents ever read to you when you were a child?


5.  How old were you when you learned to read?


6.  Were there fines for overdue books at your library in your home

     country? If yes, what were they?


7.  Have you ever been to the library here?


8.  Do you have a library card here?


9.  Have you ever borrowed anything from the library here?  If yes, what?


10.  What are your favourite kind of books?

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