Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Several things have me thinking this week about beliefs about school libraries and how they are "supposed" to be. It is better than it used to be, but oh, are they still out there. From time to time I just need to get these off my chest.
So here's my TOP RANT:
1. Libraries should be QUIET places. Okay, so sometimes they are. And, sometimes they are not. It all depends upon what is going on in them at the time. Are quiet places valuable in this busy noisy world? absolutely. Are places that allow students (who are more stressed out than ever before) to just chill and be and chat valuable? absolutely. Are places that allow folks to collaborate with one another (an act that requires conversation so often) valuable? you bet.
You know what drives me crazy? When teachers (whom I know mean well and are often darling people-only misguided in this area) march students down to the library and then proceed to shame them, ripping them up and down when they dare to speak. I have a young-person-in-my-life-who-shall-remain-nameless-to-protect-the-innocent whose ELAR teacher is notorious for this move, which is then followed by the whole visiting-the-library-is-a-privilege-and-I-don't-have-to-take-you move. The ole 1-2 punch. Ugh.
A classroom should not always be quiet. Well, the library is a classroom--it's just a really, really big one.
In the library:
Kids are allowed to smile.
Kids are allowed to laugh.
Kids are allowed to speak.
You know what? Teachers are, too.
I'm not saying let the class get out of control (we run into that, too) but really---can we all get off the silent boat now? Isn't it time for a happy medium, using our ability to pay attention, connect, and relate to the students to find better ways to remind them to share the space in ways that are positive for everyone.
I have found that teachers who behave this way truly truly often believe this is still the WAY libraries ARE or....that they OUGHT to BE.
I hope that if you find yourself in this category you will breathe deeply. I know change is hard. Sincerely, I do get it. However, sometimes...and in this case, I believe it to be true...sometimes change is AMAZING. Look around and see how much awesomeness is going on in the library when you release the grips of control and allow students to learn & collaborate in a way that makes sense to them in today's world. Then, come on aboard---let's cruise this sea of change together, shall we? The water is lovely.