With a whirl of the 2021-2022 school year technically in “rest” – there is so much to reflect on from the past year – and while that seems an impossible task to tackle, I think it is worth the attempt. Hold on, the next few weeks will be a visit into some take-aways from the 2021-2022 year! Being a part of the 2022 American Library Association Conference right now, I immediately look back at the thoughts I had in realizing over three years had gone by without any possibilities of this occurring due to the pandemic.
It seems fitting the return of ALA is back in it’s original place, Washington D.C.. Does it seem a coincidence that the overturning of Roe vs Wade occurred during the largest gathering of information (true information!) collectors of certified librarians in the world?
These were my thoughts leading up to a frenzy of trying to figure out how to cover the duties of a busy house – leading up to the days of the ALA Conference, 2022:
“It may shock people outside of our profession, but teachers’ knowledge of children’s and young adult literature and how to use books in the classroom aren’t skills that are universally expected or sought in many schools. Few teachers take more than one children’s literature course before entering the classroom. After becoming teachers, there is little encouragement or opportunity for many educators to expand their knowledge of children’s and young adult books. Ignorance of the types of books available for children to read or the importance of using authentic literature in the classroom limits children’s exposure to meaningful reading experiences.”
The lack of knowledge of the deep dives certified librarians, individuals that glean the skills needed from an Information Science Degree, utilize with students, for faculty, for administration, for their communities, and even broader, that lack of realization needs to change immediately so that all communities realize the role the certified librarian needs, can, and will fill in a time when it is needed the most.
Additionally, “Teachers’ lack of knowledge about children’s and young adult literature doesn’t rest solely on their shoulders, though. In many schools, reading for pleasure and regularly visiting the library are seen as frivolous pursuits in the scope of short term academic goals. School and district leaders lay off librarians, cut budgets for books and professional learning, narrow measurement of children’s reading ability and motivation to data points on spreadsheets, and question teachers who give their students time to read.”
In a time where mental health now not only rests in the shoulders of counselors and administrators that operate the areas where students come to need a place they can call their own, certified school librarians have for years, found ways to tackle the barriers often thrown in front of them to prevent students from claiming vitals spaces as their own and finding themselves. Just as the American Library Association a growing forum for strategies and opportunities to meet the barriers that are set up all over the world, so does that information need to be put into action to give students the protection they need, to feel welcome, strengthened, and empowered to overcome the same obstacles thrown in front of them for various directions.
Will the ALA 2022 Conference help the above and more? I believed it would and am experiencing the ways we can inform, create, rebuild and strengthen in many ways.