Hope for Troubled Teens
I just wanted to say how insightful I found Amy Cheney’s article, “Time After Time” (Oct. 2012, pp. 36–39). I learned a lot from the article, including tips on what’s hot in Street Lit right now and the names of the well-known authors of the genre. I also appreciated her call to action for finding and purchasing self-published memoirs. I am really excited and inspired by her article and will try to get approval to get Jerry McGill’s Dear Marcus: Speaking to the Man Who Shot Me into our large, suburban high school library. Thank you for publishing diverse articles.
Hoffman Estates High School, IL
Seeing is believing
Oh, my, talk about a reality check! More sobering than the arrival of my Medicare card! This retired librarian could barely read the graphics accompanying Travis Jonker’s otherwise excellent article, “Travis’s Excellent Adventure” (Sept. 2012, pp. 28-33) about how he rolled out an ereader lending program in his school library. Page 29, with good dark printing, is fine, but pages 31–32 with low contrast between the white background and the small, thin, pale pastel lettering, often over-layered by a variety of other pale colors, turned into an exercise in decoding. I’m not asking for large print, but for the same kind of clarity librarians strive for in their own flyers and brochures.
“Are Dewey’s Days Numbered” (Oct. 2012, pp. 24–28) still haunts me. Abandoning Dewey, who helped establish the American Library Association and promoted library standards is against everything you were supposed to learn in your Foundations of Librarianship class for your MLS degree. Raising children to learn this Metis-style classification system is completely irresponsible and dangerous. How can you consciously teach children not to use the Dewey system when 200,000 libraries in 138 countries use it? You are raising an incompetent generation who won’t even know the difference between fiction (or red) and non-fiction (or blue), and will be discouraged from using their public library.
What happens when a child has read all the books about “Machines” but wants more similar books? How will you get another book in his hand that is clearly marked with an “Adventure” sticker? What happens to readers when they become adults and want a thriller? How will they find one in the endless stacks in the fiction section without being overwhelmed and frustrated?
Teaching library science and information skills is hard work and it takes time for children to learn and retain the information. Spending six weeks reclassifying your library’s collection would have been better spent in professional development training. For this reason, it’s not a surprise that media specialists are the first on the budget chopping block.
Oliver Wolcott Library
I love the creativity displayed by the librarians. Certainly we all re-catalog books to better fit into our school collections, label and highlight sections to make them more visible. But how do we transition our young students to use the public library if every school has its own system? How do we teach them to look at a call number on a book in the school library and use that number to find additional books on the same subject.
Karen Leon, Librarian
Roslyn High School
Roslyn Heights, NY
Don’t tell my students that Dewey’s days are numbered. I’m a children’s librarian who has worked in elementary schools for the last 11 years. When I worked in Ohio as a public librarian, the students were at ease with the library because they had learned about the Dewey classification system in school. In Michigan, the students are frustrated because Dewey is not taught in their schools. Students who have trouble using the library don’t want to return.
My fourth and fifth graders in Michigan wonder how students in schools that don’t use the Dewey system will know how to use the public library. I start teaching Dewey to students in the second grade and tell the children that if they learn it they will be able to use any public library in the country. I can’t tell you how many of my students come back to school to tell me how easy it is to find books in the public library. I explain to my students that librarians divide the whole world into ten very big ideas and many subjects can be found within each of them. They understand it—but I do label the shelves as reinforcement. If you want life-long library users, material in school and public libraries must be arranged in the same way.
Anni LaPrise, Librarian
New Boston, MI
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