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Lesson Plan

A World of Readers: Libraries Around the World

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A World of Readers: Libraries Around the World

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Ridley Park, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Develop a global perspective and gain a broader understanding of the types of library services available throughout the world by conducting Internet research

  • Gain experience forming questions and seeking answers as they conduct Internet research

  • Develop skills in oral presentation by presenting research to their classmates

  • Gain an awareness of the public library services available to them locally

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Session 1

If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve time in your school’s computer lab for this session.

1. Open the lesson by telling students that you are excited about new materials that you have discovered. Show the books, DVDs, audio books, and other materials that you borrowed from the library and give brief, tantalizing summaries. Tell the class that you found these materials in your neighborhood public library.

2. Discuss the concept of a free public library. Ask students if they have library cards for their local public library. Discuss the policies of the community library. If students are carrying their library cards, they could take them out and read aloud any policies printed on the cards. Questions such as “How often do you visit a public library?” and “What services does the library offer?” will help you measure students’ familiarity with the local public library. If your local library has a website, you could use an LCD projector to explore it with your students to learn more about the materials and services available. This step would give your students experience looking at library websites and provide a model for the research they will conduct later in the lesson.

3. As you talk with students, use large chart paper or a PowerPoint slide to help them compile a list of the policies and services offered by their library. Address topics such as library hours, policies for borrowers under age 18, types of material available for loan (e.g., books, films, audio books, magazines), and special services such as homework help, book clubs, or storytelling sessions. (You will refer to this list again in Session 2.)

4. Initiate a discussion about the availability of library services in other countries. Pose questions such as
  • Do other countries offer free public libraries?

  • How do people in places such as Kenya or Ireland get new books?
5. Encourage students to form additional questions regarding library services in other countries. List their questions on the chalkboard or whiteboard.

6. Write the names listed below on the chalkboard or whiteboard. Tell students that they will have an opportunity to investigate and compare the availability and types of services provided by public libraries in these areas.

Australia Bahamas Canada England Hong Kong
Ireland Kenya New Zealand Scotland

Activate your students’ background knowledge and interest in these areas before asking them to begin their research. Using an LCD projector, you and your students can explore the National Geographic Xpeditions Atlas, which has maps that can be viewed online or printed. Display the maps and discuss facts gleaned from previous class work, travel, or recreational reading to familiarize your students with each location.

7. Post sign-up sheets and invite each student to select an area for research. Students may have special interest in areas featured in their favorite books, countries of their ancestry, or places they have visited.

8. Ask students to form groups with classmates who selected the same area. Groups should contain two to four members.

9. Distribute the Group Research Worksheet and review the questions. Encourage students to predict answers. Ask each group to write two additional questions in the space provided on the worksheet.

10. Send the groups to computers and direct them to the websites for public libraries in their chosen locations. (Refer to the sites included in the Websites list.) Using the worksheet as a guide, ask each group to find information regarding library services in their group’s area of study. The groups should answer the questions on the worksheet as they explore the website.

11. Develop a compilation chart for the class using large chart paper or a PowerPoint slide. (You can use the Class Compilation Chart included with this lesson as a model.) Ask each group to complete their section of the class chart.

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Session 2

1. Display the list of your community library’s policies and services (see Session 1, Step 3) and the Class Compilation Chart, listing services offered in libraries throughout the world.

2. Gather as a whole class and provide time for each group to present its research using the Class Compilation Chart. Encourage the groups to make comparisons among the areas studied.

3. Pose the question, “How do library services in our community compare to the services available in other areas?” Lead a discussion in which students compare the services offered in their community library to the services offered in the areas they researched. For example, they could compare homework help at the nearby and far away libraries.

4. Students’ research has enabled the class to investigate and compare library services throughout the world. Ask students to write reflections discussing the availability and types of library services provided across the globe. Provide time for students to share their writing with classmates.

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  • Invite a recent immigrant to visit your classroom to discuss library services in his or her native country.

  • Many of the library websites enable a student to e-mail a comment or question. Encourage your students to use this option to interact with a librarian across the globe.

  • Visit the community library with your class. Bring the chart your class compiled showing the availability of library services in other countries. Encourage students to discuss their research with the librarian. Lend the class chart to the librarian for display in the community library.

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  • Visit the groups as they work, and observe each student’s participation. Note the frequency and content of each student’s contributions.

  • Use the Teacher’s Assessment for the Lesson to reflect on the students’ abilities to meet the lesson objectives.

  • Collect the Group Research Worksheet that each group completed. Examine the worksheets to gauge students’ abilities to form questions and conduct research.

  • Distribute copies of the Self-Assessment Checklist. Ask students to use this sheet to reflect on their participation. When students have completed their sheets, invite them to share their responses with the class.

  • At the start of the lesson students were asked, “Do other countries offer free public libraries?” As a culminating activity, engage students in a whole-class discussion regarding the availability of library services throughout the world. Use the discussion and the student reflections from Session 2 to determine whether they have developed a global perspective and a broader understanding of the types of library services available throughout the world.

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