Man, do I want to believe in the idea that school libraries should be as “free access” as possible, or maybe as public libraries…but in line with the professor’s “no fines” philosophy. My gut tells me that until the school gets on board with those kinds of ideals, the library will not thrive in such an environment. I had a similar frustration as a music teacher in the public schools. The other teachers and the administration are all about their love for music and how supportive they are of the music program and how much the kids love music. But when it comes to implementing and providing support for what works, what makes the music program survive, the structure is just not there. It is a huge problem rooted deep in the public education system itself, I think. Who in class was saying they wanted to go into school administration? That sparks my interest as well.
I had this fantasy that the public school library’s role in the school would have to dramatically change in the direction of “information commons” giving it a central role in the school itself. No more library” visits”. Rather, classes, lectures, workshops, cooperative teaching. I think even academic libraries (like the one I work in) are still dreaming about this and how to connect the faculty with the library in new ways — not just for their personal research, but for research and academia as a whole. Imagine what it is going to take to convince the community to buy into this for our youth.
Maybe a wedge in the crack would be for school libraries like this to provide more resources in the library for teachers in addition to students (like at academic libraries) by providing their curriculum tools, relevant literature and media, current issues facing the education profession, ec. Maybe also, have workshops for teachers on teaching practices or using media. Move conference rooms into the library for teacher meetings. Make the library the main domain for all information literacy aspects of the school.
Even thinking about marketing this is exhausting. But I wholeheartedly think it necessary to be marketing and educating our bosses, the administration, etc. A relative of mine — a former curriculum developer in public schools administration — had no idea what I would be learning to do at library school. Where do we begin?