Monday, October 12, 2009

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Almost two years into my professional career, I have begun to revisit the notes I took while a graduate student in library school. A week ago, I discovered this quote:

"I have lived on the work that other people have done before me."

This idea is one I have finally come to understand and appreciate.

As I now work at different locations in my library system and continue to network through professional listservs, my peers introduce me to so many ideas ... ideas that spark my own creative juices and renew my passion. Ideas that I build onto.

My early learning science correlations are building on the work of my former professors ... professors like Sue McCleaf Nespeca who suggested storytime "extensions" that went beyond crafts to include science experiments and other subject area explorations ... professors like Michelle Baldini who headed a book correlation project for the K-5 academic content standards that is now posted on the Institute for Library and Information Literacy Education website.

Following this interest of incorporating educational standards into libraries, I recall one session at ALA Annual that has influenced me. It was called "State Academic Standards + Library Programs = Educationally Enhanced Children's Programs."

While librarians do address the standards in the activities we do, we need to be aware of the language used in our community/state and reiterate it during our programs. With Every Child Ready to Read and Saroj Ghoting's Early Literacy Storytimes, librarians now have incentive and even scripts on how to outwardly address the early literacy skills. However, I believe it is important that librarians do this with ALL standards and subjects, not just the area of reading and language.

Librarians do support education, and while we may be conscious of why we do what we do, we need to articulate our rationale to the public. Not only does this raise a caregiver's awareness of a child's ability to learn, it raises awareness of the importance of libraries in the community ... and the awareness that libraries do need levy support to fulfill such services.

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