Maximum Access: a Teacher Librarian Value

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Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.

-Robert Frost

A few days ago I read Justin Tarte’s blog post “What Do You Value?” about choosing and acting on one’s values as an educator. It didn’t take me long to decide my primary value as a teacher librarian is providing students maximum access to information. I find myself working hard to take down the walls between my students and all the interesting, exciting, awe-inspiring resources they can learn from:

  • I keep my library collection as attractive and up to date as possible, so the information in it is easily and enjoyably accessible for my young students
  • I check out thousands of books to students over the summer, because no one can access the information in books that are locked away for two months
  • I work extra hard with my students whose behavior is making it difficult for them (or others) to access the resources of the library
  • I do my best to communicate effectively with all my teacher colleagues, because my students will have better access to library resources if I work well with their classroom teachers
  • I buy and promote audiobooks, online books, e-readers, book apps, and reference tools with read-aloud features, because this makes books and the information in them more accessible to my students with print disabilities
  • I struggle with my school district’s procedures when they create barriers to student access: by making it hard for me to buy new books in the last few months of the school year, or hard to buy educational apps at all
  • And I cheer for my school district administrators when they loosen the network filters to make it easier to access websites at school

Teacher librarians, what are your values as educators? Is maximum access one of them? And how do you act on your values, whatever they are?

image by Erik at http://www.flickr.com/photos/calaveth/3776092840/ used by permission under CC license

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