[kids-lib] Two great articles from SLJ

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Tue Oct 12 14:23:54 PDT 2010

Hello!  I just read the September issue of School Library Journal which includes two of the best articles I've read in a long time.  I think both of these articles apply to children and teens... and even adults!  The overall message I took away from both articles is try to better understand and respect our potential library users, and if we apply what we learn from them to our library services we may reach them after all.

Boy Story: Do you really want guys in the library? http://tiny.cc/8ig2g
This is one woman's story of how she transformed her run-down little school library that practically no kids set foot in to such a busy library she can hardly keep up with check-outs.  Most of her tips can either be applied in public libraries or adapted to the public library setting.  She has some great universal tips to remember like:

*         It's not about you, it's about the them.

*         Have consistent expectations.

*         If you give them the best materials and teach them how to take care of them, they will respect them.

*         Laugh at their jokes: "Mrs. Cox, you are in trouble with me today.  Give me all your books and stick up your bookmarks!"

Courageous Conversations: If we want every child to succeed, we need to talk about race http://tiny.cc/4qy1h
This is a one-page overview of Multnomah County Library's journey to address the issue of race within the context of the achievement gap and library services.  Here are a few ideas to consider:

*         Who is at the table?  In their meetings there are 6 African Americans and 2 Caucasians.

*         Are you asking the really hard questions?  Do you prefer to be called black or African American?

*         What are the cultural values and traditions that are in conflict?  The library's storytimes encourage children to ask/answer questions and be active, but the black community want to teach their young children to show respect to adults by having them sit still and listen.

*         "The achievement gap doesn't stem from a lack of ability; it comes from a lack of opportunity." We need to learn about each other and figure out how to provide more culturally appropriate opportunities.

Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528

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