Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Library Without Books

I hope Dr. David Loertscher won't mind if I quote his email of September 17th about the topic of a library without books:
"Ten Things Worse Than a Library Without Books:
1. A library without a credentialed teacher librarian.
2. A library without information in the formats users prefer.
3. A library that restricts access to information in any format.
4. A library that most teachers ignore.
5. A library that most students Google around.
6. A teacher librarian who is afraid of or ignores the impact of technology.
7. A library that only deals in print materials.
8. A library of antiquated computers and computer networks.
9. A library where tech directors have a big sign back of their desks reading: Just Say NO!
10. An empty library."

Dr. Loertscher has been a leader in bringing teacher librarians into the 21st century. He has inspired many young and not so young to embrace the new technology, engage students in how to use it properly, and so much more. When I studied in library school ten years ago so much of this new technology did not exist. I was slow (Turtle Learner) to embrace it, and now realize how much I could have done in my library had I known more. My school was the most requested Magnet school in Los Angeles unified. However, it had a library that was smaller than most elementary school libraries, and was trying to serve a K-12 population. I knew I needed to embrace computers but I only had space for one for student use. Teachers in elementary school brought their classes, but middle and high school did not. It was lonely and frustrating. I spent the bulk of my time as well processing and ordering and collecting textbooks. Of course, I provided many new materials (those were the days of S080 funding for school libraries) and displayed current and popular titles. I increased the multicultural content of the library. I shared websites constantly with my teachers, especially in middle school. But it was still frustrating. The students at my school were not being served. Now I know I could have provided a library website that students could access in the classroom, or maybe at home, to do research, play games, practice math, and so much more. So, yes, I had many books, but I didn't have enough of what the students wanted, even then. I allowed them to research and print their documents. But they needed much more.
P.S. The image here is an elementary library in the valley of Los Angeles that has a gazebo!

1 comment:

  1. Joani,
    My name is Ken Libby and I'm an education researcher (and currently unemployed teacher) from Portland, Oregon. I happened to see your comment about Green Dot on Mike Klonsky's blog. I'm extremely passionate about reading, literacy and libraries - and my interest was piqued by your comment about Green Dot not hiring librarians. I'm working on some articles about Green Dot and I'd love to ask you some questions about what you know about GD and your daughter's experience in the school. Could you contact me? KennethLibby06@GMail.com.
    I really hope to hear from you!
    -Ken Libby