Yesterday as I was reading middle school superlibrarian Jennifer Lagarde’s post on The Future of Research, I was struck by item number 3 on her list: “Requiring “at least one print resource” is stupid.” It made me ask myself, why do so many teachers and librarians still do this? When I work with my fourth grade students on their research projects, they are usually required to use “at least one book.” I posted my thoughts to Twitter, and had the following conversation with Jennifer and also high school superlibrarian Buffy Hamilton:
I found myself wondering if using a print source might still be a good requirement for my young students — if they don’t learn to use print features like indexes in elementary school, will they learn to use them at all? And as Buffy points out, the reality is that there are still relevant resources in both print and digital formats. At the same time, I’ve seen students discouraged from exploring topics they were genuinely interested in because my library didn’t have any books about those subjects. I’ll definitely be having this conversation with my classroom teachers this year!
Teacher librarians, do you have this requirement at your school? And how do you handle it when it comes up?