© Scott Anderson
St. Patrick School Library Assistant/Educational Assistant Stephen Anderson reads outside the intricately designed entrance at the school's Book Fair.
Instead of letting books whisk readers away to a land of imagination, the entire Book Fair at St. Patrick School took students to a fanciful place.
Young readers at St. Patrick School were transported into the fantasy world depicted in JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit thanks to the extensively decorated setting for their annual book fair. The entrance way of the school gymnasium was turned into Bag End, with students beckoned into Bilbo Baggins' hobbit lair which had been creatively transformed from the school gymnasium by library staff.
Stephen Anderson, Library Assistant/Educational Assistant, has tackled a series of book fairs at St. Patrick School with flair and panache in hopes of encouraging students to get into books.
"If it encourages one student to read more, or to read the book that we're featuring, then that's worth it all."
"This is really meant to be the springboard," Anderson said. "With students growing up in a much more visual climate, with the technology that they're surrounded by, I really want to play off of that and give them the cues that they're used to, but the end game is that it brings them back to the book, and proves to them that the book is still better."
Anderson saluted the team responsible for transforming the gym into a fantasy world, noting it was a team effort to prepare for the school wide event. Everybody had a roll to play in the success of the book fair, starting with the creative team, to teachers who promoted the event with their excitement and enthusiasm, and including community businesses who assisted with decorations and supplies to make the event happen.
"I think it does make a difference in a variety of ways. It gets kids excited."
The creatively decorated entrance provided a welcoming invitation, and once inside there was a multi media presentation which created a fantasy atmosphere.
A November 2012 book fair boasted Jedi Knights and Storm Troopers during a Star Wars Reading All-Stars themed event, while another book fair boasted an Indiana Jones theme.
Seeing the student's reaction to the themes has been the most rewarding aspect of the decorating projects.
"That is everything for me!" Anderson admitted. "It's their expressions, that is the entire aim of this whole venture."
The themed events were originally designed in part to raise funds during the book sale in order to purchase books for the library.
"Since then its really evolved to the point where it's about the literary experience of being surrounded by text and being surrounded by visual cues that provoke excitement and really prompt kids to get into books."