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SuperMouse's avatar

Do you value library education for your child?

Asked by SuperMouse (30713 points ) February 13th, 2013

Do you think children should receive lessons from their school librarian on topics such as finding books in the catalog and on the shelf, conducting research and analyzing sources, using digital media, etc.? Should library media specialists offer this kind of training or should it be left to classroom teachers?

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17 Answers

chyna's avatar

When I was a kid, we had a librarian that taught us how to use the library and to me she was the most wonderful person in the world. I would get so excited just to see her.
I think teachers have enough on their plate and that this should fall to the librarian.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My grandmother was the libraian in our village library. I would go with her there and spend the entire day there.

dxs's avatar

This is definitely an important thing to learn how to do. I think that classes in school should be focused more on useful lessons like this that you will come across in your daily life rather than theoretical or extraneous subjects.

bkcunningham's avatar

In elementary school, from my first grade year to sixth grade, my class went to the library once a week. Back in those days, we learned the Dewey Decimal System in first grade. We sat in a circle around the librarian and we had to listen as she read off the call numbers from the cards. We had to follow with the call numbers on the pocket in our books.

The librarian taught us so many lessons. Math, reading, organization, how to use the dictionary, sharing, patience. It was all age appropriate and, looking back, it went hand-in-hand with what we were learning from our teacher in the classroom. I’m sure the library break was a welcome break for the classroom teacher back in the day.

Do they still have PE and music in elementary school?

glacial's avatar

I don’t have children, but I do a lot of publication research, and I’ve taught university students… and I think that students at all levels should have more exposure to these types of research methods – because they actually don’t just pick these skills up on their own. In my experience, teachers don’t have the skills that librarians do, at any level. And I think that children can’t begin too soon to learn “how to search” and what resources are available to them.

Also, it worries me that most people seem to be accepting Google as the only way to access information, for any purpose. Google is just one tool, and the more people know about the differences between the tools they have access to, the better. Google removes choices from the user, and makes huge assumptions about what we do and don’t want to see. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of research tools are things that librarians should be teaching to kids as early as possible, because they use this stuff all day, every day, now (well, I’m mainly talking about teens here, but you know what I mean).

So yes, I’m a big supporter of having classes sent to the library for a workshop at the university level, but in addition to this, I feel that students often lack skills necessary for information retrieval , which they should have been taught long before they reach us. And the place to do that is in the school library.

SuperMouse's avatar

@bkcunningham I think it depends on the district. When we lived in California, the school was so strapped for money my kids only had PE once a week and had no music classes. Their school also had no librarian, it was only open a couple of days a week and staffed by parent volunteers. The only art they had was a program that was funded by the PTA. Here in the midwest my kids’ schools have art, PE, library and music weekly. My elementary schooler even has Spanish and ballroom dancing!

marinelife's avatar

Absolutely. I wish I had gotten it instead of having to figure it out myself.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yes, absolutely. I have taken them to the NY public library as well since they were tiny. My 6 year old now has a library card, since the school takes them there as well (they also a library in school).

dxs's avatar

@bkcunningham My elementary school (K-5) was like that too. We had PhysEd, Library class, Art class, Music class, French or Spanish Class, and Computer class once a week. They were our “Special”/“Fun” classes.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t remember ever learning anything from a librarian when I was growing up. I remember learning to decode the library mostly on my own. I suspect we did have a lecture or two from a librarian, but the theory never makes sense until you do it yourself.

As a librarian myself, I generally teach students as individuals, instead of in groups. I tell them go here, here, and here on the internet. That’s because I work with specialized collections that regular librarians don’t understand, unless they’ve had the specialized training. But I learned this stuff on my own mostly. I did go to a few conferences where I got some tips, but mostly, I never learn anything until I do it myself.

Should librarians teach people how to do research? I guess, but the kids won’t learn it until they do a research project, and that will have to be under the supervision of the teacher.

The librarian is a consultant. And teachers should teach students how to use consultants—when it is appropriate and what is appropriate to ask them and what isn’t. When I give a lecture, that’s a major part of my lecture.

But I prefer individual consultancies. That way I learn as much from my client as they learn from me. We trade—subject expertise for methodological expertise. It works well for me.

For me, google is the best search engine. If you learn to use google, you can learn to do any kind of search. The specialized searches for academic literature are always frustrating because they don’t work as well as google does. Google will take over the world eventually, if the specialized search engines don’t figure out how to compete.

Google and the internet are our libraries these days. More and more stuff is available over the computer now and in another generation, there will be almost nothing you can’t access over the internet. Traditional library skills will only be needed by specialists who do arcane bibliographic research.

My kids get taken to real book libraries. I’m not sure if they see anything other than books—movies, music, maps, manuscripts, photographic archives, data archives and what not. I seriously doubt they are shown why anyone would be interested in these other kinds of things. It’s just too much. Too overwhelming. A library is overwhelming enough on it’s own.

Understanding that a catalog number is a map that leads you to a location of an item in the collection is cool, and it should be associated with other geographic skills. What are addresses? This is information useful to find houses, books, websites and many other things. I don’t know if most people make the connection between maps, street addresses, card catalogs, IP addresses, phone numbers or any other way of organizing things by physical location. It’s really the same skill with many different applications. But I suspect people think libraries are different than streets or the internet. These things really are all the same in organizational concept.

SamandMax's avatar

A teacher’s job is to teach curriculum specific, subject related content from books, notes, or any other kind of media a teacher chooses to use to teach their subject/s. It’s not to teach how to go about using a library – I don’t think it would serve a particularly useful purpose when librarians are already around to do that, even though they don’t to my knowledge, they just assist.

glacial's avatar

@wundayatta “The specialized searches for academic literature are always frustrating because they don’t work as well as google does.”

You’re doing it wrong.

SamandMax's avatar

@glacial ”@wundayatta “The specialized searches for academic literature are always frustrating because they don’t work as well as google does.”
You’re doing it wrong.”

Doing it right on Google though I’m guessin’!

augustlan's avatar

Absolutely. There should probably be a preliminary library lesson taught in class in conjunction with a trip to the library and a more thorough lesson with the librarian.

wundayatta's avatar

@glacial Do you know what you’re talking about? Do you know how many academic databases there are? Why do I have to choose? Why can’t I search them all all at once? Tell me how I’m doing it wrong?

Google doesn’t care. Google searches everything all at once. Why don’t academic search services make it easy for that to happen? Why do I have to become an expert on over 100 different databases just to be able to decide which one(s) I want to search?

Please do enlighten me, with your vast expertise of academic search services. And thank you for being such a helper jelly in telling me I’m doing it wrong, but not telling me how to do it right. That’s the spirit we so approve of here on fluther.

One more comment like that, and I’m making a citizen’s jelly arrest. Hand over your card, bud. You don’t deserve it. If that was supposed to be funny, you just broke your nose.

SuperMouse's avatar

@wundayatta so do you think your kids should learn more about the library and its resources in order to keep from being so overwhelmed by it? Do you have a problem with Google being the research tool of choice for digital natives? Are you proposing one on one library instruction for all students? That seems a bit impractical for elementary students. Should they then just forgo library education all together?

wundayatta's avatar

I think teaching kids how to use google is good. It should be accompanied by teaching them skepticism at the same time. I think the basic tools of learning how to use maps are important, but they we should teach the basic tools, not just one specialized application. I don’t think the physical library is that important. I think learning how to find things is very important.

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