Go ahead, pour yourself a cup of tea, coffee or cocoa. You deserve it.
I think it’s fair to say that our country is grappling with some pretty big questions about our identity, beliefs and priorities. As professionals whose role it is to work with and serve as role models to young people, it is inevitable that in addition to thinking about readers advisory and developing programs that will entertain and engage, the weight of what’s happening politically is bound to rest a bit heavy on our shoulders. There’s a fine line to walk between respecting differing opinions and ensuring that the library is a safe space for all patrons. What’s a librarian to do?
Here are a few things I’m doing to keep myself moving in the right direction:
- Youth Media Awards Display: I put up a sparkly bordered bulletin board with all of the awards and cutouts of all the covers. Below, I put any of the books that we currently have checked in. My students have loved looking at all the different titles that won, chatting about their favorites, what “should have” won, pointing out to me that March Book 3 is on there for 4 awards!, that Jason Reynolds has two books that were honored and noting their appreciation that Rick Riordan “finally” got the recognition he deserves. Celebrating the diversity of the award-winning authors and titles and talking about it with students gives me joy.
- Fake News Display: Inspired by some awesome displays others have posted about on the TSU Facebook Page I’m creating an interactive “Fake News”/”Alternative Facts” display to encourage students to think about where information is coming from and the motivations behind different sources.
- U.S. History Research Papers: Our 8th graders are in the midst of writing their history research papers right now and I’m embedded in their classes, helping them to formulate thesis statements, identify sources, structure their arguments and all that good stuff. One student is writing about Claudette Colvin and the role of youth in the Civil Rights Movement. Another about fashion as protest, and another about the separation of church and state. I’ve had some amazingly thoughtful conversations with students and had the opportunity to push them to think more critically about their arguments and it inspires me to see their minds at work.
- Planning an “Escape”: Our library just got one of the kits from Breakout.edu and its presence on my desk has been noted. The teens are ready for the challenge, I just need to take some time this week to put it together.
- This librarian video:
And this one. And this one. Because sometimes, I just need a break.
What about you? How are you, as a librarian, dealing with it all? Share what’s keeping you motivated.