Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

  • Tag This!

  • April 2010
    S M T W T F S
    « Mar   May »
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    252627282930  
  • Prior Posts

  • Copyright

It’s been an interesting few weeks

Posted by lpearle on 13 April 2010

Spring Break was, for me, just that: a break.  I traveled, did some work, and mostly just got ready for the sprint to the end of the school year (only seven weeks left, but who’s counting?).

Today I presented at the Alabama Library Association’s conference (thanks to Wendy for inviting me!), which meant updating my presentation on shelving.  I had the opportunity to reflect on what we’re doing, and where we’re going with our collection (particularly as our move to the “new” space draws nearer).  In conversations with the Head of our History Department, we’ve talked about where students can best find certain information.  YMMV, but at Hackley our students aren’t studying civil rights as a separate thing, it’s interwoven into the history curriculum.  So, all those books on slavery and the civil rights movement need to move from the 300s to the 900s.  This was reaffirmed during our recent 20th Century World project, when students were doing projects on how American culture helped end apartheid (remember divestiture?  I do) and on SNCC: without that cultural context, those movements might not make sense to younger researchers.

I wrote a blog post for AASL about our budgeting issues; looking at Shonda Brisco’s map of schools without librarians has given me pause.  Hackley definitely supports the library, for which I am grateful.  But what about the students here who live in a community that doesn’t have a good public library (or has one that is facing staffing or opening hours reductions)?  I know they can’t come to my library as much as they may need for research because they have other commitments (like sports, play practice, jobs, etc, not to mention classes), so closing their local library or making it less accessible will hurt them.

I wish we could overlay the map of schools and communities: how many students nationwide will be left with no librarians, and no library access?  How many will lose access to quality databases because neither their school nor their public library can afford them?  Who will teach them to locate information, or help them with reference questions?

In the town in which my parents live, there was no public library until about 20 years ago; people would go to the bookmobile or to the Utica Public Library to borrow books and do research.  Of course, that depended on good driving conditions and your ability to get there when the library was open (or the bookmobile made its rounds).  What will happen if the town (and country) shut down the libraries?

I’d like to think that, thanks to the support Hackley has given the library, we have a good collection.  Making the print resources accessible to our students is critical, as is pointing them towards electronic resources.  That they can use the electronic resources when they cannot physically come to the library is wonderful, but I do worry about their ability to find quality print resources when this library is closed.  I also worry that as they see their local school libraries and public libraries closing, they will start to think that society doesn’t value libraries, so why should they?

Advertisements

2 Responses to “It’s been an interesting few weeks”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Wendy Stephens, Laura Pearle. Laura Pearle said: It's been an interesting few weeks: http://wp.me/pJFEm-ZT […]

  2. […] I’ve been thinking about this, particularly since I’m guilty of not really knowing what my local public school board is thinking in terms of budget, staffing and library resources. Why should I, when you think about it, as I don’t have children? Why shouldn’t I, when this is a critical issue of access to resources for our students? That’s the critical part – the part that I suspect many older, or childless, taxpayers ignore: we need to be aware of the fallacy of duplication of library services.  Particularly when both public and school libraries are under the budget ax. UPDATE FOUR […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: