International Association
of School Librarianship

ISLM 2019 "Let's Imagine"


Letter from 2019 IASL Chairperson, Breege O'Brien

International School Library Month (ISLM) is an opportunity for those in charge of school libraries around the world to choose a day, week, or the entire month in October to celebrate the importance of school libraries and to celebrate everything great about them. 

The 2019 theme for ISLM is “Let’s Imagine”.  It is based on the 2019 IASL conference theme of “Convergence – Empowerment – Transformation: School Libraries”. This year we are inviting participants to think about and celebrate the link between books, reading and school libraries and the imagination. We have chosen a theme wording that we believe will be accessible to all our participants (aged 3 to 20 years). We are inviting them to celebrate ISLM 2019 by engaging in projects and activities to explore and express this year’s theme.  We hope that ISLM 2019 will be a wonderfully creative, imaginative worldwide celebration of the school library. 

The ISLM team facilitates a number of activities that you might like to participate in as part of the celebration and no doubt you will also  have your own ideas for how best to make the most of ISLM in your libraries.  No matter how big or small your school library please do consider getting involved.

ISLM is open to everybody, whether you are a member of IASL or not, so spread the word and  start gearing up for a super time for ISLM this October! And remember, you can tell everybody about your ISLM by sending information and photos to our “What People are Doing for ISLM” page.

For general queries about ISLM, please contact me at:

The ISLM Team is a group of volunteers whose enthusiasm for school libraries has prompted them to join the ISLM Committee to work together to organise and facilitate International School Library Month. We welcome queries about new members at any time and are particularly seeking members from countries not represented by current members. We look forward to working with you to make your ISLM a successful and enjoyable event this year.

Yours sincerely,

Breege O’Brien, Chairperson, ISLM

Your 2019 ISLM Team: Breege O’Brien (Ireland), Sunita Malekar (India), Hosea Tokwe (Zimbabwe), Chhavi Jain (India),  Abha Singh (India) Ms. Ramandeep (India) Seema Satti (India), and Inez Kinanthi (Indonesia).

July 2019

2019 ISLM Bookmarks

2019 Bookmark  1.5 inches x 4 inches (.pdf file) - Designed and Created by Dr. Chhavi Jain 

2019 ISLM Poster

2019 ISLM Poster A4 (.jpg file) - Designed and Created by Dr. Chhavi Jain

2019 ISLM Poster A3 (.jpg file) - Designed and Created by Dr. Chhavi Jain

2019 ISLM Poster (.png file) - Designed and Created by Dr. Chhavi Jain

  • Dr. Chhavi Jain writes: “Kaleidoscope patterns are endless and give wings to imagination. Every pattern is different and kids can imagine a number of things with these patterns. In this pattern I can imagine books in all four directions, and children with books. Every pattern can set a story ….

2019 Bookmark Exchange Project

NEW for 2019!!!!

Due to the very high numbers registering for this project in recent years, a slight change in project management and administration is being introduced this year. The project will have two separate coordinators, one to look after the Aged 12 and Under section, and one to look after the Over 12 Years section. Your coordinators are as follows:

  • 12 Years and Under: Breege O’Brien
  • Over 12 Years: Ms. Ramandeep

Contact details for both coordinators are given below.

NOTE: This project requires you to exchange bookmarks BY POST.  If you prefer to participate in a digital exchange please see the 2019 Digital Bookmark Exchange Project.

The following information may be of use to you in completing your project:

1.    Registration for the project is by online registration spreadsheets (separate forms for Aged 12 and Under and Aged Over 12. See links below. If for some reason you are having difficulty accessing the online form you should email your full details to the Project

Coordinators:  (for 12 Years and Under)

                 (for Over 12 Years)       

2.    Please make sure that the email contact details you give are correct, current and that there are no security settings in place that would result in your assigned partner or the coordinator not being able to contact you.

3.    For this project, partners are assigned by the project coordinator; registering groups do not select their partners.

4.    A number of factors are taken into account when assigning partners, including any wishes or requests expressed by participants when registering, but no guarantees can be given in relation to what partner/s are assigned.

5.    Partner details are recorded on both the Registration tab and the Partners tab of the online project registration spreadsheet.  

6.    All the contact details you need for your partner school/s are available on the Registration tab.

7.    You should NOT change your details on the registration form once you have inserted them.  If any of your registered details change, please contact the project coordinators Their contact details are at #1 above.

8.    Once you have been assigned a partner/s, you should contact them to arrange the exchange of bookmarks and the rest of the project.

9.    Please note, there may be slight differences in numbers of students matched and if this arises in your matched groups you are asked to send the extra bookmarks so that each students will receive at least 1 bookmark.

10. In registering for the Bookmark Exchange Project you are committing to exchange bookmarks with your assigned partner/s. Unfortunately, it does happen each year that a small number of groups are disappointed when the bookmarks they are expecting from a partner do not arrive. We all rely on each other’s sincerity and professionalism for this project to work to everybody’s benefit and enjoyment. PLEASE BE SURE TO CARRY THROUGH ON YOUR COMMITMENT.

11. Please note, the Bookmark Exchange Project is a separate project to both the Digital Bookmark Exchange project and to the Skype Project. Please see separate details for these.

If for any reason you need to contact the coordinator for your age group  about your participation in the project after your group/s have a registration form line reference, please include that in any emails to the coordinator.  This is for greater clarity and helps to reply more promptly to you.

Bookmark Exchange Project Coordinators:

12 Years and Under: Breege O’Brien,

Over 12 Years: Ms. Ramandeep,

The closing date for registering for the 2019 Bookmark Exchange Project is: October 11, 2019.


Click here to view the 12 & Under Registration list 


Click here to view the Over 12 Registration list

2019 Digital Bookmark Exchange Project

The closing date for registering for the 2019 Digital Bookmark Exchange Project is: October 11, 2019.

The following information may be of use in completing your project:

The information in relation to the Bookmark Exchange Project applies equally to the Digital Bookmark Exchange Project, in particular points 2 – 10.

The following additional points relate specifically to the Digital Exchange:

1.    Each student creates his or her individual digital bookmark and all are emailed to the recipient school’s coordinator, or shared via an agreed method.

2.    To economize on paper and ink when printing, the recommended bookmark size is: 2 and a half by 8 and a half inches (6.5 cm x 21.5cm).

3.    Guidelines re-size for printing: if the bookmarks were printed horizontally and the size was 2 and a half by 8 and a half inches (6.5cm x 21.5cm),  that would be 4 bookmarks per page.

4.    Using pastels or black and white will save on colour ink when printing. Recipients may wish to have the option of colouring in the bookmarks they receive in which case black and white is recommended.  When you are partnered you can check out whether your partner school would prefer this option. 

5.    When you are assigned your partner/s, partner schools should discuss and agree the best way that suits both for the medium in which bookmarks will be made and the format in which they will be exchanged 

6.    Some options for creating the bookmarks are MS Word, Google Drive, etc.

7.    Some options for sharing the bookmarks are Google Drive, Dropbox, or a document attached to an email

If for any reason you need to contact the coordinator about your participation in the project after your group/s have a registration form line reference, please include that in any emails to the coordinator.  This is for greater clarity and helps to reply more promptly to you.

Digital Bookmark Exchange Project Coordinator: Dr. Chhavi Jain


Click here to view the Digital Bookmark Exchange Registration Form.

Skype Project

The closing date for registering for the 2019 Skype Project is: October 11, 2019.

The following information will help you with your Project:

1. Register online for the Skype project. See Sheet 1 on the registration form at the link below.

2. Participants will need to install Skype on their devices and set up an account.

3. Skype sessions should be made during the month of October

4. It is recommended  that  participants arrange a Skype call test between Skype partners before the day, to minimize any technical errors that may happen during Skype time.

5. Participants are asked to please return to the registration link after their Skype session so they can write a comment about their experiences on the Response Form at  Sheet 2 of the registration form at the link below.

6. It would be fun for the participants to take pictures and submit them for inclusion on the “What Others Are Doing for ISLM” web page, so the others can see what you are doing for International School Library Month.

Skype Project Coordinator: Inez Kinanthi

Email:; OR 

Click here to view the Skype Project Registration Form.

Other Ideas for ISLM

If you do not wish to sign up for any of the activities being coordinated by ISLM for October you can still organise your own events to celebrate International School Library Month. No doubt will have plenty of ideas of your own but here are some suggestions based on the 2019 theme, Let’s Imagine!

1.     Creative Writing: organise creative writing activities for your students…. poetry writing, short story writing, descriptive pieces … To assist and support your students use tools such as writing frames, creative modelling, visual stimulants, etc. 
2.     A poetry reading: hold a poetry reading in the school library/in the classroom where students read poems they have written themselves OR read poems they choose in which the world created by the poet appeals to them  
3.     Posters: invite your students to create posters inspired/imagined by the books they are reading. This also works well for poems your students are reading.  A3 size works well for this.
4.     One hundred years from now….: invite your students to imagine their school library 100 years from now. Or, to imagine their village/town/country etc 100 years from now. Ask them to either describe it in words or present it visually, or in a 3D form or musical form. 
5.     Our World ……: place focus on the global issues of environment, climate change, conservation, recycling, flooding, or a  relevant local issue of your choice, etc. by inviting your students to do some research on one of these topics, and make a digital presentation on it in the classroom, in the school library or via an online medium.
6.     Our World …… imagine what our world will be like in 20 years time/50 years time etc. OR what your students would like it to be like etc.

The resources in your school library can provide a body of information to your students for #4 and #5 above. 

7.     A themed reading assignment: Choose any topic. Draw up a list of titles that contain that topic as a theme and invite your students to read from that list to imagine what life is like for people in different circumstances eg. themes such as disability, diversity, LGBT issues, racism, fighting adversity, being refugees, domestic violence, overcoming a challenge, etc.
8.     Reading broadens the imagination, so organise any reading activity of your choice.
9.     Book Buffet, to encourage the reading of a variety of books…. Here’s a reading activity that would give students an opportunity to read from books other than the genre they usually opt for.

Some organizational guidelines. …..

    • Choose an area that can accommodate separate reading points for the number of students in your class group. In a school library the number of participants is dictated by the library space and the number of spaced out reading points it can set up.
    • Select a number of different genres of books (if you know the reading preferences of your participants, select the kind your participants would not usually opt for).
    • Place a book at each reading point.
    • Seat each student at a different reading point and invite them to read from the book placed there for a period of uninterrupted time. The reader can start from any point in the book eg. the opening chapter, any arbitrary point in the book etc.  Usually they should read for at least 10 minutes.
    • After the reading period is up eg 10-15 minutes, the participants move on to the next reading point and repeat the activity.

In this way participants read from different genres and may be interested to read further in their own time from the selected titles or from titles of a similar genre.  

ISLM Team member Ms. Ramandeep organizes a version of this activity in her school. She writes: “Book Buffet is a time-based reading activity where students get to taste (to know) different genres. In the library, tables and chairs can be arranged to give it a look of a buffet table using table cloths, paper plates, name tags (of genres). Set a timer, say to 10 minutes or less (according to Library Schedule). Place the books of different genres on different tables and make sure that each child will get one book every time the timer buzz goes off. If you have placed 5 books of 5 genres then each student will taste 25 books. Do provide students with a piece of paper and pen so that they can write down a little about the book they have tasted. And during library period they can read the full book that they find the best during the activity”.

10.  Book Bingo: another version of a reading activity is to create a bingo card and invite your students to read a type of book. Once they have completed a row, vertically, horizontally, diagonally, etc they receive a reward for it eg. a book token, a greeting card, a postcard, etc, and if they complete a whole card they receive an appropriate reward eg. a book poster, a book, etc

An example of a bingo card would be as follows:

A book set in a fantasy world


A book that tells the story of a refugee

A non-fiction book.

A book set in a world very different to your own.

A book first published before 1980.

A book that has a pink cover

A book that has a teenage boy as its main character

A book about a relationship

A book about an animal

A book set in a country other than your own

A book written by an author whose surname begins with B

A book by an author from outside your own country.

A book in which the main character/s overcome a challenge.

A book that has less than 100 pages in it.

Any book of your choice other than ones you’ve chosen for the other squares. 

A book first published in or since 2018


11    Book displays: arrange a display of books in your library that creates awareness of authors who depict certain types of worlds in their books eg a fantasy world, a historical worlds, a parallel world, a world of war, etc
12    For seniors Focus on Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell: Orwell’s classic novel, first published in 1949 (50 years ago this year) imagined a future world in 1984. Invite your students to read Orwell’s book (or selected extracts from it) and hold a class discussion to compare how Orwell imagines life in 1984, with life as it actually was in 1984, and the way it is today.
13   Book Talk: organise a discussion between students and teacher/school librarian about their favourite books and/or authors.
14   Share a story/folktale: invite parents and/or grandparents with different cultural backgrounds to read a folktale from their own culture and to come to the event dresses in their specific national or ethnic costume.

A different version of this activity is to invite the adults to read a story in their native (primary) language.

15   Act Out:  organize senior students to go to primary classes to read and act out a story or selection of stories using props. This can be an interaction with a very imaginative element for both senior students acting out the story and for junior students as audience.
16   Author/Illustrator Visit: organise an author visit. Questions from students for the author could be prepared with a focus on this year’s theme eg. where authors get ideas for their stories from, what inspires them, how they shape and develop those ideas ie. the process from idea to published book. For illustrators, they could be asked to describe the process from idea to the page with focus on developing the visuals in the book.  
17   Library Scavenger Hunt/Treasure Hunt:  
  • Hide books, library material, etc.  in all areas of the school under supervision of teachers.
  • The activity is time-based.
  • Form teams.
  • Give team leaders a list of prepared clues, a kind of map, to help them find the hidden materials
  • The hunt begins and ends in the library.
  • To complete the activity, each team’s map, signed by each member, must be handed over.  

18  Storybooks:  Storybooks can be as simple or sophisticated as you wish depending on the age range of your participants. Students can create storybooks based on any theme or idea, ficion or non-fiction. For non-fiction they can gather information on a specific topic and create storybooks based on their research. Completed storybooks can be put on display in an exhibition.

If groups are participating in any of the partnered ISLM activities, a version of this activity can be done in conjunction with the partner group/school.  Students gather information about the partner school’s country, write their stories and made storybooks.


Prepared by the ISLM Team 2019

2019 ISLM Projects

Bal Bharati Public School, Noida (Uttar Pradesh), India

Bethlen Gábor Primary School Library, Hungary

Cambridge School Greater Noida,U.P,INDIA: 

Centre for Educational Media Resource Studies, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Children’s Centre Library, University of Nigeria

”D.A. Sturdza” Middle School, Iasi, Romania

’’Dusan Jerkovic’’ Elementary School Uzice, Serbia

“Gheorghe Sincai” Middle School from Floresti, Cluj, Romania

Gweru Schools hail Senga Primary School, Zimbabwe

Happy Home School-Karach, Pakistan

Ivana Brlić Mažuranić Elementary School, Koška, Croatia

Kasiga School, Dehradun, India

Kendriya Vidyalaya IIIT Jhalwa, Allahabad, India

Learning Paths School, Mohali, Punjab, India

Manipal International School – Anantapur- Andhra Pradesh; India

MAOU "Lyceum No. 77, Chelyabinsk"

”Mihai Eminescu” Library, from ”George Enescu” Secondary School in Moinești-Bacău; Romania

“Mircea Eliade” Theoretical Highschool; Intorsura-Buzaului; Covasna; Romania

Mladika Primary school, Slovenia

OŠ Toneta Tomšiča Knežak, Slovenia

Prathmik Vidyalaya Kamhariya,Block-Barhni,Distt-SIDDHARTHNAGAR,State-UP,INDIA

Sattva Vikas School at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

School #1 Slavutych, Ukraine

Slavutych school №4, Ukraine


"Vasile Alecsandri” National College from Bacău county, Romania

Hartzell Primary SchoolHartzell Primary School, Zimbabwe

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