Ethical Practice

Ways in Which I have Modeled Ethical Practices

Ethics- Treating Co-Workers with respect

The library must be a place where the librarian, and any volunteers or helpers are warm, welcoming and inviting to any of its users. Staff members are a large part of this user population. This means offering a friendly face to the ELA teacher when they walk in to their class, and taking a moment to ask how they are.

One event, in particular that allowed me an opportunity to build relationships with fellow staff members was when my librarian and I hosted a “Visit the Library” event with books on display and hot chocolate and pastries. This not only created a welcoming place for staff, but also allowed an opportunity for fellowship that does not usually occur. I found myself having never-before-had conversations with teachers about their favorite books, and favorite book genres

Ethics- Upholding principles of Intellectual freedom

In my first semester at UNT, I taught a lesson on intellectual freedom to my girls class. In it, I highlighted books that have been banned due to certain topics. I will never forget how upset they were. Some students asked, “what is wrong with that book? I grew up reading it?” while others took offense because “how can they ban a LGBTQ book when there are LGBTQ kids in middle school that need to be able to read theses books?” I have since not taught this lesson, nor have I taught a lesson on banned books, but I plan to carefully incorporate this very real concern in the library profession with my future students. Students deserve to be represented in the books they see and read in the library

Ethics- Encouraging Professional Development of Co-workers

For Black History Month, I found some webinars on race for fellow teachers. These ranged in conversations about upcoming book from Ibram Kendi, Four Hundred Souls and a candid conversation about race from author Jason Reynolds. I posted the information about these events in the library with beautifully designed posters along with QR codes. I look forward to doing more when I get my first library job.

Ethics- Enhance diversity and inclusion

For on of my practicum tasks, I was to create a mock book list to purchase. In this book list, I was to create a mock budget (1000) and select books with at least two favorable reviews. The topic that my mentor and I decided upon was the theme of social emotional learning or SEL. I selected books that ranged from characters dealing with emotion to mental health to grief. This project was important for me because students will come into my library that have a range of needs and with a range of experiences. They will need books and resources to see themselves in and relate to. This both validates their experience as well as allowing bibliotherapy where they can

ethics- accurate, unbias and courteous responses to all requests

The final lesson I taught in the library was all about Summer Reading and learning. In our district, the school library does not circulate during the summer, with books being due by students a few weeks before the end of school. With this in mind, students need access to books and resources. Therefore, my presentation mostly focused on the resources offered by the Plano Public Library. In my presentation, I highlighted not only the library collection, but resources such as Libby, take and makes, steam kits, Virtual book club and book reading challenges. During one presentation, there were a few kids who proclaimed they did not read and were not going to read over the summer break. However, when I mentioned the steam kits, hands shot up in the air, “Does every library have steam kits?” “What about the Richardson Public LIbrary (neighboring library), do they have them” “Are there steam kids about such and such topic?” While it is personally bothersome that so many students have such a negative attitude toward reading, it was wonderful that there was something that they were interested in. The way I modeled courteous responses to these queries were doing my detective work. I called Richardson Public Library and found out that, no they do not offer steam kits, but offer steam events, but no, not for teens, for elementary grades. When I went back to school, I found the kiddos who asked these questions and gave them their answers.

LBOR VII – protect people’s privacy

One of the tasks of practicum is to utilize the library automation system to make overdue notices. It was modeled for me that at the beginning of the week, run reports on their overdue books. This needs to happen when the librarian expects to see a student, whether during their grade level library visit or otherwise. From here, notices are written out, folded, taped and hand delivered to the student. They are folded and taped to secure the information of what book they have checked out. Each school in the district also has the option to make automated calls home informing the parent that there is an overdue book. Even in this case, the parent is not informed of the title of the book. This is to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the student.

references

American Library Association. 2006, June 30, Library Bill of Rights http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill. Document ID: 669fd6a3-8939-3e54-7577-996a0a3f8952

American Library Association. 2021, June 29. Professional Ethics. https://www.ala.org/tools/ethics

Say what now?

How would you react to ideas that go directly against what you thought to be true? In my time while obtaining my master’s in library science, I have come to consider the library the beacon of truth, a place that fights injustice and promotes equality. In addition, to this, my idea of the library has been a romanticized by my experiences. In my mission statement when I submitted my entrance documents to become a student at UNT in the library science master’s program, I stated that the library is a “piazza.” Weigand’s keynote address, and follow up comments and reactions from other library professionals challenged some of my preexisting views on the library, its history and its role in the school.

Romanticized library history

One of the things that Weigand points out is that his book American Public School Librarianship: A History, to come out in the Fall of 2021, there has not yet been a comprehensive history of school libraries in the United States. In his research, he found instances in which the library, “Most of our history shows our professional discourse to be very positive, to be cautious of addressing issues that perplex us.” (2021, 01:20). He then goes on to talk about a story of a black library supervisor, Carrie Coleman Robinson (See Image 1) who was in charge of black segregated libraries in the south. When bringing to light discrimination, and filing suit. Weigand points out that up until this point, the library associations had not dealt with the issue with segregated schools. Then, when the Black Caucus asked the ALA to make a statement about Robinson’s case, they refused. In my mind, this casts a dark shadow on what I believed about the school library as an organization. In one of my first blogposts, I commented on how impressed I was about the comprehensiveness of the ALA and AASL resources and statements. It is important to note, however, that these organizations have evolved. When George Floyd was murdered, and the Black Lives Matter movement was again in full effect, organizations, such as the ALA issued statements about this movement, definitions of terms, and links to resources to take action, from police reform to racial equity in the library. In addition, the ALA admits that in terms of diversity, “the librarian profession suffers from a persistent lack of racial and ethnic diversity that shows few signs of improving” (“Libraries Respond,” 2021). This, now to my understanding, is a transparency that is necessary to uphold the so called values of the library.

Carrie Coleman Robinson, Image 1

The Library is the Heart of the school?

The second challenge to my mind is the tendency to compare the library to a human organ. Ross Todd said, “I have read the school library being the heart…brains of the school….I cringe when I hear these terms…I think it is a really timely challenge for us all to think about the language and labels that we ascribe to what we value (01:54). Ross then goes on to suggest that using this way in referring to the library “puts us in competition…[and] isolates us rather than integrates us” (Ross, 2020, 01:55). When he said this, it really stopped me because for the past three years, I have been espousing this idea that the library should be the heart, and hub and brain, and piazza and skeleton of the school. While I still need time to reflect on these comments, I agree with Ross’s statement. Aren’t we lessening the vitalness of the music class, the ELA class, the science class. Perhaps then, we as librarians should start to view each class as its own person, as its own body with a heart, brain, etc. I don’t have an apt metaphor for the library in this new view that I have, but I’ll be working on that.

Maybe we shouldn’t consider the library as the heart of the school…just saying.
Image by un-perfekt from Pixabay

References

Weigand, W. (2021, July 12-16). Conference opening ceremony and keynote address by Wayne Weigand and panel [Virtual presentation]. International Association of School Librarianship, Denton, Texas, United States.

Libraries respond: Black lives matter. (2020, June 3). American Library Association. https://www.ala.org/advocacy/diversity/librariesrespond/black-lives-matter

Separate – and unequal. (2020, October 6). American Libraries. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2020/10/06/separate-and-unequal-carrie-c-robinson-librarian-challenging-racism/