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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Heading to Oz or Ossifying? The whirlwind of debate around Libraries

Doug Johnson and Joyce Valenza have written an article on School Library Journal that is tearing through the blogs of librarians and media specialists like wildfire this October. If you want to come to the cusp of the debates swirling around libraries and media centers like Dorothy's Cyclone that took her to Oz, this is the article to read because truly, the items here hit at the core of school change.

One piece particularly hit me as a teacher was the part on creative commons where Doug and Joyce say:

It is also time to share with teachers and learners the rationale for Creative Commons and other emerging concepts that are less restrictive than traditional copyright licensing.
Are we helping our students understand the issue of intellectual property from the point of view of the creator, not just the consumer? Librarians need to help students assign rights to their own creative works. They share information about a new world of sharing while respecting intellectual property.

Gosh.  We talk about creative commons but I'm not looking at them as Creators as I ought to!  I'm missing something here.  In the past, I've taught them how to pick the proper license but pretty much I sort of led the decision making for them -- I need to advise them and teach them to MAKE THEIR OWN DECISION.

If you read the article above and want to view the responses that are garnering the most attention, Doug writs over on his blog about "Practicing Visionaries" and the responses he has gotten as did Joyce in her forum post on her Teacher Libarian Ning.

I think what I like most about this conversation is how this is being hashed out in public with thoughts between librarians.  I think what I like least about this conversation is that truly public isn't public because it is on the Internet - on Doug's blog and Joyce's Ning and so many librarians, media specialists, and teacher librarians cannot access these things at school to be PART OF THE CONVERSATION.

Truly I feel that every librarian I know wants to do a good job and wants to improve their library but they just don't know how.  My favorite book I've read thus far is from David Loetschner The New Learning Commons: Where Learners Win because it just makes so much sense.  But again, I am NOT a librarian nor a media specialist and really can only reflect on what I see that I'm missing from my own teaching where it intersects with the teaching parts that are threaded throughout Doug's article.

So, pull the librarians and media specialists in and let them converse and not only let them converse but let them change. 

Wonder where this whirlwind will take things.  You know there is something to be said for talk, particularly among people who ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING as I believe so many of these are.  So, read up, learn, and decide which of these points apply to you and your organization and what you should do to improve your media center.
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