Empathy in the school library


One of the things that I enjoy about my morning reading is finding things that I would never have discovered otherwise.  Such was a gem that I found this morning.

We’ve all heard and experienced the plight of the school teacher-librarian.  I’m sure you’ve heard the hurtful comments.

  • They don’t have any marking to do
  • They don’t do lesson preparation
  • We can replace a teacher-librarian with a technician
  • We can make the vice-principal’s teaching assignment in the library so that they’re always available
  • We’ll train kids to check out and shelve books
  • We can close the library and move the books into the classroom so that kids can get them easily
  • Can we really afford one?
  • and I’m sure you can add more

Next to computer facilities, I’ve always been fascinated by and make sure that I visit a library when I’m in a school.  It’s even more impressive when I can address both at the same time.

These very active places don’t seem to follow any of the traditional rules that other educational spaces do.  There’s no teacher desk at the front of the room; many times there aren’t sinks; there aren’t desks or learning spaces strategically placed so that you can see what every student is doing at every moment; …

There’s just this amazing person in charge who is responsible for facilitating learning for an entire school in all disciplines, including off the wall general interest, and this includes both students and educators.  It’s not an easy task when it’s done properly.

While many classrooms fade from memory, I still have visions of some of the great libraries that I’ve visited and the person who championed them.  These range from my classic high school library to some of the fantastic learning spaces that great colleagues had designed.

So, if you think you know libraries and the services that they provide, you’ll change your mind when you read this article.  “Transforming Teen Services: The Empathetic Librarian“.  By itself, it’s an interesting read – we’ve all read about how empathy is an important 21st century attribute.

But there’s a real gem here.  It’s right near the bottom and points to a wiki titled “Serving Diverse Teens @ Your Library“.

Now, it’s noteworthy that not all resources are directly applicable to Ontario libraries but a good teacher-librarian will tell you about the skill that it takes to weed and keep the best and most applicable resources.

Scan the list and then give your teacher-librarian a hug today.

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OTR Links 03/22/2017


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.