You forget you're in public.
You cuss because the characters are pissing you off.
You cry because the book just broke you.
You make strange noises--causing those around you to question your sanity.
You laugh because of how cute (or funny) the book is getting.
You blush like a fiend when reading something you know others might not find appropriate for a public space--you're such a daredevil.
You look over your book to sneak a peek at what others are reading.
You feel amazing because you're reading while everyone else is probably bored.
You roll your eyes at the person beside you because s/he is so loud. (S/he is probably on the phone.)
You look up at the people around you when you reach a good part because you know they're not experiencing what you are.
You smile like a maniac when the main characters FINALLY get together.
A random person may ask you if you're okay once they notice how strange you're acting.
You curse the author's name aloud. Loudly.
You say, "Stupid (insert character name), why would you do that?!"
You close the book for a moment, breathe in heavily, and refuse to read the book for the next five minutes. All because you're pissed off with the story.
Have any more? Feel free to add!
How can you engage others to be advocates of the school library?
This question was posed to us as a part of our discussion for my course entitled “Information Technologies in Educational Organizations.” Of the readings we were given on the topic of advocacy, I found one particularly helpful in answering this question, the ALA’s School Library Program Health and Wellness Toolkit. Essentially, it states that in order to gain support for the library, we must consider what is important to those who could advocate for the library and try to address the needs of these individuals and groups through library programing. In the article, the ALA gives readers specific steps to follow in order to advocate effectively:
Step One: Know Your Stakeholders [Know who the stakeholders are and their “agendas.”]
Step Two: Alignment [Think of how the stakeholders’ agendas align with library activities and goals.]
Step Three: Program Promotion [Have the programs you implement be designed based on the alignment between stakeholder needs and library mission.]
Step Four: Evaluation and Evidence [Evaluate how the programs you implemented impacted the areas important to stakeholders.]
Step Five: Share Findings [Make the presentations of findings evident to stakeholders.]
While I found these tips to be extremely helpful, I also believe that there is something that librarians must have that cannot be taught: passion. When I think of advocacy, for me, it is this word—passion—that comes to mind. Although librarians can follow the steps outlined by the ALA, if they do not have passion for their programs and what they are doing in the library, it will be more difficult to win outside advocates for the library.
Earlier this fall, I visited the Cazenovia Public Library (CPL), and was extremely impressed with the programs that they have available to help the community. CPL has a great deal of support from the community for these programs, with many giving both financially and with their time in order to support these programs, and this library clearly has become a vital component in the community. I believe a major reason that the library has garnered such support is a direct result of the passion of director Betsy Kennedy as her passion to help others is apparent and contagious. Although CPL is a public library, I believe that, in this way, it can be a model for school libraries, as well.
This past week in my course on Information Technologies in Educational Organizations, we discussed Internet filtering in libraries, specifically in school libraries. One important point that was made was that many websites that could be used for educational purposes are blocked using these filters. This impedes learning.
While I would agree that filtering could reduce the number of resources available to students, thereby limiting the learning that could take place, I do not believe that all filtering is bad. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires schools to implement policies that limit the websites students can access and provides loose guidelines for this purpose. I believe that filtering, especially in elementary and middle school, can be helpful for two reasons:
(1) Students’ cognitive reasoning skills are still being developed—while we can teach digital citizenship and responsibility, students WILL make mistakes. Additionally, teachers and school staff may have difficultly monitoring all computers at every moment (just as they cannot monitor all face-to-face interactions among students). While a filter does not eliminate access to all harmful websites, it does make access more difficult. Because of this, I believe it is best to block the most obscene and harmful websites.
(2) If certain websites are not blocked, I believe that schools could be treated as if they are essentially giving these materials to students—this could lead to an uproar by both parents and the community.
For these reasons, I think that it would be prudent to utilize filters. That being said, I would agree with the stance of my classmate, Emmy. She advocates for a school committee to be formed to discuss blocked websites and make changes to the filter used.