PAHS Library introduces book review board

“Write a Review, Get a Clue!” challenges the student body to write nearly 4,000 book reviews to slowly uncover a hidden picture


Emmet Jamieson

The library’s new book review board conceals its hidden secret.

Nestled in the back corner of the high school library is an enormous bulletin board. Windows overlooking the parking lot paint it with morning light, and Chinese lanterns in primary colors swing faintly above like a troupe of balloons. Paper borders in these same shades line the edges of the tomato-red board, and on the board itself hangs a stark white grid embellished with a single teal sticker.

This, said high school librarian Sarah Peterson, is the library’s newest innovation: the book review board, titled “Write a Review, Get a Clue!”.

Peterson said at the start of the year, she realized the bulletin board sitting in the corner of the library had been empty for a while. In late September, she furnished the board with a paper grid.

She said the circulation desk now offers worksheets for students to use to review books, and when a student submits a review, they will receive a colored sticker to attach to one of the grid’s 3,996 squares. Because Peterson and the other librarians decorated with a “Friends” theme this year, Peterson called the review sheets “The One Where You Review a Book” to mirror how the sitcom names its episodes. Peterson said the stickers will form a picture once students have written all 3,996 reviews.

“It’s like paint-by-numbers, only with stickers,” Peterson said. “I wanted a way to make it interactive. Instead of giving them a sticker, they have to acquire a sticker through accomplishing something, which is writing the book review.”

Since the grid has so many squares, Peterson said, it’s unlikely students will finish by the end of the year. She added that she will keep the board until it’s completed, though.

Peterson said she introduced the challenge to encourage students to work together toward a common goal. She said she initially considered giving students stickers for good grades or checking out library books, but she ultimately required students to review the books to prove they actually read them.

Through collaboration and creativity, we can create a sense of community. And that’s really what I want. I want the kids to be a part of something bigger than just their classes.”

— Sarah Peterson, PAHS Librarian

“It’s to promote collaboration within the student body in an effort to overhaul the library into a collaborative, cooperative working area,” she said. “I wanted everyone to be involved in one social activity.”

Peterson said English teachers already provide students with reading incentives, but she added that the library will use the book review board and upcoming initiatives to augment them. Last year, the library held a “Day of Reading” during which students who came to the library during study hall had to spend the period reading a book. Peterson said she plans to reintroduce the event this year. Also, Peterson added that she ordered comfortable furniture for students to use for reading that will arrive some time this month.

Peterson said the library’s main objective this year is to help students connect. She said the library’s interactive activities like the KEVA Planks, K’Nex and Sphero SPRK coding robot inspire students to flex their creativity and work together, and she said she hopes the book review board will do the same.

“I definitely want to create an atmosphere of student collaboration and creativity,” Peterson said. “Through collaboration and creativity, we can create a sense of community. And that’s really what I want. I want the kids to be a part of something bigger than just their classes.”