Saturday, June 21, 2014

Digital Divide Series: We Need Growth Communities & More Listening

Library Communities That Grow Together Stay Together

I think when teacher librarians are actively listening to each other and providing support great things happen.  How do you know if your library is growing to avoid the realities of the digital divide?  I have asked myself the following questions. Is your school community growing or is it faltering?  What is happening around you after you leave school? Are things in your library reflective of your community at large? Libraries are the heart of the school and a heart healthy school requires a strong school library program.  

Florida Power-Library Schools

Here are more questions directly from the Florida Power-Library Schools for a  deeper examination of your school library program.  “Is your school immersed in information literacy?  Do you have to calm the crowd of teachers who want to collaborate with you?  Does your administrator make sure the media center is a stop on every important school tour?  Do your circulation statistics and the consistent buzz of student activity make you smile?”


Another Question

I highly recommend reading this blog post that advocates for the growth of school libraries.

Building Blocks: A Culture Of Collaboration

Regardless of our collaboration track records, I believe that following questions from the blog Building a Cutlure of Collaboration are valid for all of us no matter if we are at the starting blocks or further down the track. "Who should be the leader?  What should it look like?  What is our role?  How do we define collaboration?  Who does it benefit?"

Another perspective from the post We Are Not Alone speaks to the challenges of collaboration, “We are not alone.  These are not questions that are unique to the teacher librarian perspective, but are being asked again and again by others who are trying to shift the paradigm in teaching and learning.”  

Setting The Stage For Cultures Of Learning

I’ll repeat this quote from the last digital divide post by Kate McDowell at the University of Illinois, “before you critique ask a question.”  I  believe that embracing this attitude of continually asking questions during tricky educational situations is a transformative way to guide us as we listen and learn from each other.

For those of you who are in productive and respectful cultures of collaboration and learning keep on keepin on.  If your learning community has significant room to grow here are some tips and lessons that I have learned to help lessen the digital divide and keep it from widening at the local level.

1. Stay true to your philosophies and practices in a community that you believe is not growing and ask lots of questions.
2. Find educators who have similar practices and ideas to make some strides.  There will be at least one interested and motivated teacher who is willing to try new things.  
3.  Share what you know in a positive way and market positive collaborative experiences to open the door for growth.
4. Rejection is hard when you have ideas that others don’t want to try but you learn what you can from the situation and move on.

What Kind Of Noise Is Your School Library Making

Even if your school is quiet to respond to your high levels of engagement keep trying. Continue the quest to obtain and share knowledge throughout your school.  Keep informing others and push them to think.  You never know when a light bulb will go off in someone’s mind. We can learn from all kinds of situations and ideas. Comfort zones can expand if you let them.  Since flow of information is increasing think about what efforts you plan on making.  

Steve Jobs: Embrace, Improve, and Change the World Don’t Just Live In It

Can we change things for the common good and move beyond a second-rate society? We are all in this together. I think that Steve Jobs sums it up best when dealing with unwillingness to grow or change, “you got to have a problem you want to solve or a wrong that you want to make right, got to have passion and perseverance to see it through...look at competition and not say do it better but do it differently.” Steve Jobs

Next time on the digital divide poverty and resources