Monday, June 1, 2015

All about the books or all about the readers?

Over the weekend, this video appeared on my Facebook wall and at least four (if not more) friends tagged me on it. They thought I would enjoy it, but I have to say - it hurt my heart a little bit.

While the video is a cute and well-done parody of a popular song, it just perpetuates the age-old stereotype that librarians are all about books and not about readers. 

Using phrases like "you've got my books and they belong to me" or "librarians don't mess around when it comes to fines" keep up the image of the librarian as the owner/keeper of the books whose wrath you will incur if "her" books are not returned.  

Shots of kids with sad/scared faces, teachers wagging their pointers in a shaming motion, and the librarian skulking around the halls trying to catch kids with overdue books - these are not the images that I want people to envision when they think of school librarians and what we do.

Instead, these are the images I'd like people to have:

  • librarians matching kids with the perfect book
  • happy readers visiting the library
  • groups of kids talking with the librarian about what they are reading
  • librarians sharing new titles with kids and teachers
  • books flying off the shelves and into the hands of our precious readers

It makes me sad that this video has over a million views on Facebook. I'm sure this librarian isn't really "all about the books." She's probably a wonderful librarian who connects her students with books and does all of the things mentioned above. She's obviously creative and talented, but this video doesn't show any of that. 

It's a wasted opportunity.

Did you get tagged with this video over the weekend? How did it make you feel?

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. I was tagged in this video, too, and it made me cringe. In fact, I typed out a long rant about the video on FB, but then I decided not to post it. So I will rant here.

    This video perpetuates the stereotype that I'm constantly trying to fight against: that librarians are "keepers" of the books and all about order and quiet. It made me shudder to hear the librarian in the video say, "You've still got MY Junie B..." She does not OWN that book. As John Green says, "Books belong to their readers." Our focus needs to be more on creating READERS and less on managing books. I'm so thankful to work in a district that holds on to that vision. Honestly, I think that's the vision that we need to have in this changing world of libraries.

    We've been checking out books for the summer to our freshman English classes (all 27 of them!). There are some students who REFUSE to check out a book because they are scared they are going to lose it. Sadly, these are the students who need the book the most. It breaks my heart, and it's got me thinking about how we can effectively reach our non/reluctant readers.