AL Focus has a brief video summarizing the presentations of Dan Pink and Omar Wasow at the AASL conference. Nice (fast) food for thought if you missed them live.
Archive for the ‘AASL07’ Category
Doug Johnson’s excellent Blue Skunk Blog pointed me earlier this month to a Dallas Morning News editorial by high school student Andrea Drusch. Omar Wasow, in his closing keynote at AASL on Saturday, also discussed this editorial. (More on that keynote coming soon.)
Drusch wrote arguing that her high school library was not welcoming, whereas her local Barnes & Noble was.
A library is a place where you have to be quiet. All the time. You can’t have things like gum or water or anything made of metal on your person in order to enter … If this is going to continue, libraries need to make changes to stay relevant to the needs of 21st-century students. Schools provide computer labs for daily use in classrooms with open doors, but the book collection in the library is guarded like Fort Knox. Credentials for entry include, but are not limited to: photo identification, library card and a signed, dated, timed note from your homeroom teacher. Retina scans and criminal background checks can’t be far behind.
The overall atmosphere inside is akin to being told “make yourself at home” in a stranger’s exquisitely decorated living room. Mistrustful librarians peer from behind the checkout stand, clearing their throat uncomfortably as they watch books being removed from their homes … the walls aren’t exactly lined with Oprah’s Book Club selections …
Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble and Starbucks have students lined up out the doors, and it ain’t just for the coffee. At Starbucks, students can pile a table sky high with books and conduct study groups, or just decompress and chat. Barnes & Noble chooses the books it provides to its customers through something called the New York Times best-seller list, not through what 10th-grade English teachers think is appropriate.
Make school libraries more like these places … Faced with becoming relics, libraries can change. A 21st century library could truly lead schools into the future.
Wow … we don’t often get this level of detail from our patrons. This editorial is going to get a lot of discussion in my neck of the woods.
Join the Conversation
OK … here’s a scenario … you’ve just been hired to run this library. Your enlightened principal wants to see a change in the library, so he/she has offered $5000 from the school improvement fund. Your principal is so enlightened that the money is budgeted to you without restriction — you can use it however you see fit to improve the students’ experience in the school library media center.
After buying a digital camera to capture your school library media center’s transformation, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?