Operation World Literacy (OWL) is the cover name for an original Primary School Library promotion idea by Julie Gonzales1. The purpose of OWL is to promote reading at an early age by encouraging students to visit their primary school library. Key learning outcomes of OWL include gaining reading confidence and skill through positive reading experiences and regular reading habits; and wider general knowledge through effective library utilisation and research.
OWL is a multifaceted experience for young students from Prep to Year 6. It introduces a team of 40 colourful OWL Agents, each with their own name, class and personality. Students will discover (as the OWL story unfolds) that OWL Agents have flown in from all over the world and set up a Headquarters in the Library. With the aid of school-newsletter articles, posters and Library displays, OWL Agents spread news of their campaign. They have also set up an OWL Website with on-line interactive competitions including "Hoo's Hoo" and "Library Quest". Spreading out through the Library, the OWL Agents seek quality books for students in each class level. They leave their OWL ID Cards in the best books as a sign for students to discover. Students participate in OWL by seeking OWL ID cards and playing "Hoo's Hoo" and "Library Quest" (they may choose on-line or paper participation), these activities in turn promote visiting the library and borrowing books appropriate to the student's year level. Students may also collect OWL Merit Points to become OWL Agents and receive prizes during the term. The prizes help to encourage students at all levels and to reward their efforts.
The OWL Campaign will run for at least one year and will combine the following elements:
- OWL Posters: Laminated A3 size posters advertising Owls in the Library® will be placed in selected classrooms and corridors.
- OWL Wall Display: A 3m x 3m laminated Library wall display showing each of the OWL Agents and the OWL Emblem.
- OWL News: Regular school newsletter articles each from “The Professor” (Director of OWL) or his one of his OWL Agents.
- OWL Library Information Sheets: A4 size sheets explaining, for example: “How to become an OWL Agent”, “How to earn OWL Merit Points and win prizes” or “How to play Hoo's Hoo and Library Quest”.
- OWL Headquarters: An ornate 3D cardboard mansion will adorn the Library circulation desk. It works as a post box for retuning OWL Agent ID Cards.
- OWL Agent ID Cards: Laminated ID cards each with the OWL Agent’s name, class, picture and personality profile. These cards are sometimes hidden in library books to identify the suitable reading level and to reward frequent borrowers.
- OWL Library Displays including:
- OWL Agent "Snowy" with her OWLets in her OWL Nest.
- OWL Author of the Month: A collection of books by a selected author.
- OWL Feature Book: A laminated A4 poster displaying a selected book with front cover picture and a blurb.
- OWL Sounds, OWL Feathers etc will occasionally be found in the Library.
- OWL Website at http://www.owl.informationtechnologies.com.au covers the OWL Campaign, displays student's OWL Merit Points and contains many free downloads.
- OWL Games: Board games including Branches and Holes to interest young visitors to the Library.
- OWL Competitions: Including “Hoo's Hoo” - A name-the-owl competition; and “Library Quest” - A research competition with cryptic questions. These competitions are designed to improve student’s borrowing habits and research skills.
- OWL Student Borrowing Reports: Each semester a single page report listing all books borrowed will be included with teacher reports.
- OWL Merchandise to fund the OWL Campaign including:
- OWL Picture Badges: A 56mm pin-back badge showing your favourite OWL Agent.
- OWL Bookmarks: A laminated bookmark depicting an OWL Agent.
- OWL Stickers: A set of 40 self-adhesive stickers, each showing a different OWL Agent.
- OWL Library Bags: A calico Library book bag with the OWLs in the Library® logo.
- OWL Prizes: Will be available at the Library:
- OWL Agent Badge: A 56mm pin-back badge showing the OWL Emblem will be awarded to students when they earn their first five (5) OWL Merit Points and thereby qualify to become an OWL Agent.
- OWL Swap Card: A laminated ID Card similar to the OWL Agent ID Card will be awarded to students for each additional five (5) OWL Merit Points earned. Students may “collect the whole set” if they persist.
- OWL Agent Certificate of Merit: An end-of-term prize for the best OWL Agents will be available at the Library. The certificate may be accompanied by a small book.
- OWL Teacher Resources: Including the OWL Library Lesson Plan.
The total cost for the OWL Campaign will be covered by the sale of OWL Merchandise at the usual school fundraising efforts. Teachers can join the campaign by encouraging student participation in OWL, using OWL Library Lesson Plans and by linking library learning activities to regular class visits or class research.