The month of September is a big one for school librarians. The entire month has been designated “Library Card Sign-Up Month” by ALA, which can be a great way for students to meet their local public librarians and to learn how they can be a real partner when doing research for school.
And then there’s Banned Books Week and the new Banned Websites Awareness Day. ALA’s position (as I understand it) is that any time people are denied access to something, that’s censorship. Will Manley has posted on censorship and what it really means. And while I’m not convinced that we should support the Citizen’s United decision, I do think that many school libraries are selecting materials in a way that starts to verge on questionable, although it’s usually described as choosing books of value or merit; yet somehow no one can explain why Michael Moore or Al Franken have more value or merit than Ann Coulter, and I wonder how many are purchasing Cheney’s memoir.
But that’s not the reason for this post. As this is September, the start of the academic year in the Northeast (my Southern friends started in August), it’s a good time to put all the thinking and reconsidering vis-a-vis program and pedagogy into practice. I’ve always started my year with the goal of improving the program and introducing new ideas and ways to collaborate to colleagues, many of which I’ve read about during the previous year and spent summer time considering. It’s also a good time to rededicate myself to being the librarian I wish I’d had in school, or to emulating those current librarians that I admire and hold up as exemplars of good practice.
Most important, it’s time to energetically reject the hallmarks of the Disposable Librarian. Who is the Disposable Librarian? This person is an amalgam of traits observed in those with whom the author has worked, the type of librarian who makes me cringe to think of in my profession.
Here’s where the whole irony thing comes in.
Back in 2007, when Alice Yucht and I were co-editors/managers of the AASLblog, we published a post about the Disposable Librarian. Because the traits were based on real people, we agreed to anonymously publish the post (hoping of course that these people would read and recognize themselves and realize that perhaps these were not the best way to serve their schools and students). Here’s what the start of the post looked like:
Want to read it? Head over the cached version, because AASL has deleted the post. Yes, the same organization that encourages school librarians to create displays of books that have been challenged and to fight filters has deleted a post from its officl blog. Here’s what you see when you try to get to the post by clicking on a “regular” link:
To quote Alanis, isn’t it ironic?