professornana (professornana) wrote,

Time to Dismiss?

What? Another post from me so soon? I must be recovering more from the chemo and radiation side effect. I know this because I am more readily moved by some of the things I am seeing in social media. Censorship reigns strong still. Lexiles (which autocorrect changes to exiles) are once again rearing an ugly head. But it was a comment on a FB discussion that really hit me the wrong way.

"Thanks for your opinion." was the comment. It was in response to part of the discussion taking place about the role of the librarian in creating, supporting, and sustaining lifelong readers. One commenter had observed that this is a central role of the librarian in the school, a sentiment to which I heartily agree. However, another commenter asserted that this role is already a part of librarianship and what needs to be emphasized are the other components, most notable the role of technology.

Now I support tech as much as the next guy. Anyone who follows me knows I use technology. It is part of my teaching and part, a large part, of my learning. But, folks, we cannot simply assume that books and reading and readers do not need to be explicitly stated when we talk about the role of the librarian (or any educator for that matter). I am sure many of you know that school librarians are an endangered species in so many places. We also are seeing loss of shelf space (we can make everything virtual some well-meaning but quite frankly ignorant person will assert) and library space (need space for makerspaces, after all. I think I need a separate post on this). The school librarian and her/his collection has been demonstrated to have positive effects on test scores (and more, but test scores are often bottom lines). Loss of the school librarian and the collection, conversely, have adverse effects on scores, particularly for ELL learners.

So, the "thanks for your opinion" comment was dismissive whether the person posting it meant it to be. I am happy to report that there were plenty of people who chimed in (including yours truly). If books and reading and readers are not at the heart of what the librarian does, than we are in danger of redefining the librarian as a tech supporter or the supervisor of makerspaces. According to the dictionary, the definition of librarian is:

late 17th century (denoting a scribe or copyist): from Latin librarius ‘relating to books,’ (used as a noun) ‘bookseller, scribe'

Librarians RELATE to BOOKS. That is my opinion.
Tags: books, librarians, reading, school
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