Sunday, February 20, 2011

What does a good library tell you about a school?

“Your library is your portrait.” - Holbrook Jackson

Had I any say in the decision, my grandsons would never attend a school that did not have a good library program.* You can tell a lot about a school's philosophy of education - in practice, not just in lip service - by what sort of library it supports.
A school with a *good library:
1. Believes that education is about teaching kids how to ask and answer questions, not just know the "right" answers.
2. Believes that asking questions is a sign of intelligence, not stupidity.
3. Believes that kids should have access to a diversity of topics and points-of-view and be taught the skills to make informed opinions of their own.
4. Believes that kids' personal interests are legitimate areas of investigation.
5. Believes that it is as important to create kids who want to read as to simply create kids who can read.
6. Believes that access to good fiction collections helps kids meet developmental tasks and reading fiction can foster empathy.
7. Believes that kids should be content creators and content sharers as well as content consumers.
8. Believes that it is important to have more research skills than simply being able to Google a topic - and that it is important to have a professional who helps kids master those skills.
9. Believes that edited, quality commercial sources of information should be available to all kids regardless of economic level.
10. Believes that technology use in education is about creativity, problem-solving and communications.
11. Believes that the classroom is not the only place learning occurs.
12. Believes that kids, like adults, sometimes need a "third place" where they feel welcome, comfortable and productive.
It's in times of budget cuts that a school's true values come starkly into focus. Which kind of school do you want your children or grandchildren to attend? With what kind of school do you wish to be affiliated as an educator?
* Good = professional and support staff, adequate materials, articulated curriculum, pleasant physical plant, up-to-date technology.

Taken from Blue Skunk Blog by Doug Johnson