05 May 2010

In this month's School Library Journal

I talk about "The Unhappy Place" and the need to offer access to literacy to all students...

Libraries terrified me as a child. They were places with too many rules, with an organization system that made no sense, with intimidating counters and information stored in a form I couldn't access.

But I loved books. Despite having what would now be called a severe reading and writing disability, as well as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, I devoured everything from Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel to a picture book that explained how electricity was created at Niagara Falls. I loved atlases and encyclopedias with their images, charts, and graphs, and magazines, from Life to National Geographic. So I braved this unhappy place, and, secretly pulling books off the shelf, I would disappear into a hidden corner to sit on the floor for a look. I couldn't check out books on my own. To do that, the library required that I write my name and address on the application form, something I was unable to do.

Is your library prepared for a kid like me? Can it accommodate a child who struggles with print in every form or one with attention and behavioral issues, and help him or her become a successful, motivated consumer of literature and information?  keep reading at the SLJ site...

and while you are there, never miss Amy Bowllan's Blog

- Ira Socol




7 comments:

Wm Chamberlain said...

This is an amazing post Ira. The transparency you share about your difficulties really make me think about how I run my classroom and approach students that have different needs than the "typical" student.

I have learned so much in the last few years about meeting students needs and have been very fortunate that my classroom has had the technology to accommodate them. Posts like this are a great reminder for me to push myself forward to make my classroom a better learning environment for all students. Thank you.

Mrs. Mac said...

I think I get what you are trying to say, but it surprises me that this was written in 2010. I think that no one in the library world today would disagree with you. If you spent 10 minutes on the ALA website, you would see your own thoughts reflected there. That being said, I understand your goal...to remind people that libraries are places of equal access to ALL!

In my school library, we do everything from blogging to computer animation of knock-knock jokes! My EC students love coming to the library. But I am sure, out there somewhere is a 90 year old librarian who needs to embrace technology or retire!

In my community, there is a library that is set to be closed...and my first thought was Yeah! It is definitely an example of an outdated library system. I didn't feel welcome there with my children...(Well, we are talking about my 6 year old son who unscrewed and removed the little metal pole that holds all the card catalog cards together and brandished it as a sword:) But I can't imagine anyone with a child that could talk would feel comfortable there. So, I wish to say to you that libraries like this are on the way out!

narrator said...

Mrs. Mac,

Thanks for your optimism and refreshing report. I do hope your experience is more common than mine. I have visited about 50 school libraries this year without finding even one with text-to-speech software installed on the computers. Usually these school libraries also are simply equipped with default versions of Internet Explorer (often v. 6) or Safari, without accessibility features enabled. I don't see bookmarks to digital text sources on these computers, and don't see digital text versions linked in the library catalog (though this is common at public libraries in my area, even if the digital book links are to proprietary formats). I've never seen alternative keyboards available via easy access either. And few school libraries are wifi equipped, allowing digital book users to "get comfortable" on couches or in soft chairs.

So, yes, I hope these libraries are "on the way out" - but I also hope they're disappearing faster than what I see in Michigan.

- Ira Socol

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Jamie Spencer said...

In this month's School Library Journal<-- wow I loved it! :)
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Electronic Cigarette said...

In my school library, we do everything from blogging to computer animation of knock-knock jokes! My EC students love coming to the library. But I am sure, out there somewhere is a 90 year old librarian who needs to embrace technology or retire!
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