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Thursday, January 15, 2015

No Librarian – An Author Notices What’s Missing


by Dorcas Hand with P. J. Hoover 

Texas Lone Star author P.J. Hoover reflected recently on an author visit she made to a school where there is no librarian this year for 2014-15. There was a certified librarian in 2013-2014, the person who had so carefully planned the visit before she left, and only let PJ know after the details were set. 

It felt like all magic and life had been sucked out of the library. I know this is very subjective, but I can't really think of a way to better describe it. There were no starry-eyed kids who loved reading coming in to check out books. There were no student library aides, excited to have half a class period to work in the library. There was no personality in the library. And kids will sense all this, and realize that the district is putting less value on the library overall, and it will rub off on them. 

  • When the couple of students who came in looking for books arrived, there was no librarian available to assist them. The new media person has been busy with the Chromebook initiative to get a Chromebook in the hands of every student in the district. She was not even in the library. [Clearly, when there was a librarian, things were different and the expectation remains, like a ghostly echo.]
  • When students asked during author presentation if author's books were available in the library for checkout, the answer was no, with no promise of getting books in future. The school is spending money to bring an author in to get the kids excited about books and reading, and then the students are not able to check out the books of the author who presented. It is a very large disconnect. [Clearly, when there was a librarian, things were different and the expectation remains, like a ghostly echo.]
  • The media person in charge of the library gave the overall impression of being unenthusiastic about the library in general, possibly from being so involved with other matters. If the visiting author senses this, then the students will sense this, too. [Clearly, when there was a librarian, things were different and the expectation remains, like a ghostly echo.]
  • Okay, and because I think it is a reflection of the level of enthusiasm, the author visit was completely unprepared for. The screen wouldn't come down. The projector didn't work at first. The microphone wouldn't work. Presentations were in the cafeteria during meal preparation time. [Clearly, when there was a librarian, things were different and the expectation remains, like a ghostly echo]
  • The media person did not even attend the author's presentation until the second half of the last session. [Clearly, when there was a librarian, things were different and the expectation remains, like a ghostly echo.] 

[This editor is reminded of 2010 AASL President Nancy Everhart’s downloadable poster: 100 Things Kids Will Miss if They Don’t Have a Librarian in Their School. The poster is downloadable.]

 


3 comments:

  1. So sad, those students are being cheated.

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  2. I've had P.J.-- she's a thoughtful, engaging, prepared presenter. Our students loved her (and had access to her books for borrowing and purchase, too). I'm sad that lack of preparation and enthusiasm changed the experience for students at this campus. What a loss for them and for their teachers.

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  3. This just shouldn't be happening. Sad, sad statement on the state of things.

    ReplyDelete