"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jane Austen Week in the library

Display case highlighting Jane Austen Week.
This is the second year in a row that I have hosted a Jane Austen week in my library and for the kids who attend it seems to be a true highlight.

Here's how I set it up:
  • Pick a week when there are no other conflicts on the school calendar
  • Advertising- Daily bulletin, fliers, display case
  • Word-of-mouth invitations to library loyalists
  • Pass out event tickets to kids who want to attend so that they can bring their food into the library during lunch period.
  • Select a Jane Austen DVD that is short enough to be shown in five lunch periods (no longer than 100 minutes.
  • Create trivia questions about Jane Austen and her books
  • Shop for prizes. I bought a used antique teacup and saucer for my trivia winner. Look for Jane Austen books on sale, Austen paraphernalia (this year I found note-cards and J.A. advice book.)
  • Invite teachers to attend also during their lunch period.
  • Get DVD and projector ready
Grand Prize
The event:
  • Greet students and handout trivia questions. Give them a few minutes, then go over answers. Most students know very little about Jane Austen and her books with the exception of Pride and Prejudice. Do a little "teaching" here and there.
  • Each day talk about some aspect of life during Austen's time (Regency Period), her books, manner/customs, etc. for less than 5 minutes.
  • Show one-fifth of the DVD.
  • Collect trivia for points.  The student with the highest point total wins the grand prize on Friday.
  • Give out daily treats like a shortbread cookie, a cup of tea, a J.A. Bookmark
  • Encourage students to check-out her books and/or any of the many sequels written in recent years.
  • Gush.  Allow kids to gush.  Many will fall in love with Jane Austen because of this introduction.
Grand Prize winner Alicia S. on 3/11/11 (Photo published with permission)

 Overheard comments in reference to this event:
  • "Let's get together and have a slumber party and watch all Jane Austen's DVDs in one night."-a group of girls talking to each other after events of the second day
  • "Jane Austen Week was the highlight of my school year last year." - a member of library club (official- sponsoring club) to another member
  • "Let's do it again next month!"-said to the librarian at the end of day five
  • "I checked out one of Jane Austen's sequels, The Diary of Mr. Darcy.  I'm so excited to read it."-said to the librarian by a new Jane Austen devotee.
  • "Remember being called a Janeite is like being called a nerd.  Can't hurt our feelings.  We like being nerds. Same thing goes for being called the derogatory term Janeite.  We like that label."- Mrs. Bennett to the group
  • "I love Jane Austen!  All her endings are so romantic!"- one girl to another
Such fun!

Note:  If you are a teacher/librarian and you'd like to host a Jane Austen event in your library, I'd be happy to share any of my trivia questions, bookmarks, and handouts with you.  Share the wealth!


  1. I want to go to your school so I can attend Jane Austin week...but almost every week is Jane Austin week in our house ;)

  2. Swell idea :) I love your enthusiasm & how you pass it on to your students. I'll keep your ideas in mind for myself. I have a huge number of file folders (both on the computer & on paper) of teaching ideas I can't wait to try out!

  3. Neat idea! One day this bookwork will have to read some Jane Austen. I'm reading a Beth Patillo book called The Dashwood Sisters that involves Jane's sister's diary. Does that count?


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