Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You're Welcome?

August 1st - Tomorrow
August 6th - New teachers report
August 12th - All teachers report
August 21st - Students report

Between now and August 21st, we are going to think about policies and procedures.  As two new librarians, we're sure to have our own ideas - new ideas, different ideas.  Some will be good and some will need adjustments and tweeking.

I found these signs around the library, last year's RULES.

How do you feel seeing these signs?  What do they make you think?  Are you welcome?  Are you wanted?  What will you do in this space?  Is this somewhere you want to be?

So, in thinking about this year, seeing those signs weighs on me.  Our goal is that our entire school community feels welcome and wanted.  We want everyone to see the library as a place they belong - to sit, to stand, to relax, to study, to research, to read, to communicate, to create.  We need to develop policies and procedures that will encourage all of that (and things we haven't yet thought of!).  It's also important to be concious of the way we are communicating the ideas.  How can we phrase things in a positive way?  A welcoming way.  A way that says to the school community that the library is OUR space and everyone is welcome in it!

Our superintendant, Dr. Moran, shared this You Tube video on Twitter.  It was made by librarians and students at New Canaan High School. 

How do you feel seeing this video? What do they make you think? Are you welcome? Are you wanted? What will you do in this space? Is this somewhere you want to be?

What policies and procedures are vital to respecting the needs of all library users? 


  1. I had the privilege of seeing your library over the summer and I know how much you want to transform it, Erica. The question that comes to my mind is who are the rules for? Who do they benefit? Are they for the convenience of the librarian? For the benefit of students? Or are they a remnant of some idealized vision of what a "good" library looks and sounds like?

    Perhaps the first way to make students feel more welcome, aside from the cosmetic changes being made, is to scrap the rules that exist now and develop new ones, if necessary, with the full participation of the students. That way you can come to a mutual understanding of why the rules exist and, perhaps, times when they might be bent a bit.

    One role, and some might argue the only role, of the school library is to facilitate learning. One of the things that has most impressed me about your district is that under the leadership of Dr. Moran there seems to have developed the understanding that learning goes far beyond the written curriculum. The library should be one of the prime places where that other learning occurs.

    A school library should be a place of discovery, of imagination, and of creation, with the prime understanding that the main thing being created is each individual student's sense of self as a member of a society, in fact, many societies.

    I know Ms. Luthala, the New Canaan High School librarian, and I know how hard she has worked to develop relationships with the school's students so that together they could make the library the essential and vibrant one you see in that video. Knowing you, even as little as I do, I am sure you, too, will make your high school library a point of pride for the students, staff and, of course, librarians of Albemarle High School

    1. Thank you so much, Devin! I am so excited by the possibilities! I hope to get some kind of advisory group going.

  2. Take the signs down. Actually I have very few signage except to direct patrons to locations. If you want rules posted, do it in a positive way such as"Use earbuds when using a listening device so you don't disturb others."

    1. Thank you! I have always thought emphasizing what you SHOULD do is better than saying what you shouldn't :)

  3. I applaud your decision to revisit the rules of your library so that you can make it more welcoming for everyone! I posted about this very issue on my blog awhile back:

    If you have time, I hope you will take a few minutes to share this post on our #TLElem Twitter chat on Mon, Aug 5, 9:00 pm EST. Our topic is Back to School, and among other things we will be discussing ways to make our libraries more inviting. I realize you're at the high school level now, but since you have an elementary background you'll fit right in!

    Best wishes in your new job,

    1. Thank you so much for your comments and for sharing your blog post. I love the idea of what would your tag line be. Really makes you think!