Archive | November 2012

The Need for Collaboration

I found another crucial work that should be read by all librarians, information professionals,  educators, administrators, parents, ans even politicians. this is major issue that needs to be fixed by the government all the way down to parents teaching in their homes. If today’s children can not read to evaluate, analyze, or comprehend the information that they’ve read how are we to survive as as free thinking society?

Readicide defined by Kelly Gallagher is “the systematic killing of  the love of reading , often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools”(2). This is a extremely harsh and eye opening book about how schools have centered their curriculum around test preparedness and have dropped the necessity of reading.  Gallagher has supported his argument with supplementary studies, research, and even his own experiences as a teacher.  Gallagher points out that Sustained Silent Reading is crucial in developing a habit of reading and also is a form of test investment. Gallagher even uses Stephen Krashen’s the Power of Reading to back up his claim. Krashen’s book is another influential work of the importance that reading can have on a child’s development.

Gallagher’s book is focused toward teachers and how they can implement these ideas into their curriculum however there is a message for librarians to take away from this as well. First off, if librarians understand what is going on in the schools, and how reading is dying then librarians can supplement literacy skills with the library’s materials. Second, librarians can see this as a opportunity to join forces with the teachers to reinforce reading in the schools.

Some of Gallagher’s advice can also apply to librarians as well. Taking a stand- as librarians we can go to parents, educators, administration, and community members and advocate for reading to be reinstated in schools, homes, and how the library can assist them. Use books with real world text- Librarians can acquire materials such as newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and online sources to give children and teens to read as current event material. Fight against summer reading loss-Librarians are instrumental in this situation by providing ample recreational reading for youth and a exciting summer reading program. This can help fight against the loss of reading levels during the summer.

And most of all, with each of these actions it is crucial for librarians and teachers to be collaborating on this subject. In Twenty-first Century Kids,  Twenty-First Century Librarians by Virginia Walter, she also values the collaboration of librarians and educators. Walters explains that there should be goals that the partnership sets like,  producing real benefits, have a network of communication,  and must have more than the exchange of getting something each wants.  Walters and Gallagher’s works go hand in hand for librarians because they both promote the same ideas; collaboration  outreach, reading, and the role of librarians.

If our society wants at all to become better and effectively educate tomorrow’s future, then Gallagher’s advice should be taken seriously. As librarians we should be aware of the impact of reading and include this in our agenda when we coordinate with other information professionals.

Information literacy

This is an important topic for youth services librarians to be aware of. Children and teens are coming in contact with more technology and media than ever. when they come into the library for help or pleasure we can use this as an opportunity  to teach them indirectly or directly.  Pierce’s Sex, Brains, and Video Games instructs librarians that their job is to educate teens and parents on how to be information literate.

The librarian could do this many ways by acquisition of materials, classes for teens and parents on this topic, and instruction at the reference desk or through print or online resources. Librarians should not only provide the resources but the education of it as well in how to use them. It is also critical to work with the people who also interact with teens, their parents or caregivers, teachers, education professionals, and community leaders. With a combined vision of how information literacy should be taught to this group can greatly increase the chance of a  positive outcome.

Pierce also recommends that librarians always be on the lookout of new information and technology so we can stay on the cusp of popular media and are able to provide information and instruction about the newest technology.  It is imperative for librarians to stay ahead of the game. This way we can be the information provider to children and teens, which in turn will lead to more returning patrons.