February 12, 2008

A Slightly Different Wrinkle

Posted in Selection tagged , at 10:24 am by maf

There’s a lot I could talk about today! My feeling about blog postings, though, is that shorter is better. I’ll limit this to a couple of thoughts I’ve had since class Saturday.

True or false: The main purpose of a Selection Policy is to protect again challenges. My answer: False.

Yes, a significant purpose of the SP is to do just that. We certainly had that demonstrated to us in class Saturday from our guest speaker. But what if you live in one of those quiet places where challenges are unlikely to occur? It would be tempting to not bother with the chore of writing a Selection Policy.

The main purpose of a Selection Policy – in my opinion – is to guide  selection so that you will have the best possible collection for your students.

My second thought: many of us are opposed to profanity in children’s materials. Many people are, period. However, the intellectual freedom doctrine would tend to encourage us to ignore our concerns about profanity because it often constitutes a personal bias.

But here’s another wrinkle. We are also bound to avoid stereotypes in materials, or messages that oppress certain groups. Am I alone in believing that much profanity is gender-specifc? Are not many profane words depicting sexual acts cruel in their connotation, implying cruelty to a certain gender? There certainly may be arguments for including such language in a collection. There may also be important arguments against them that have little to do with prudishness. Unfortunately, this whole line of reasoning has been given a tired label: PC.

These are thoughts that occur to me as I read through your Drafts! Remember, there are still no right or wrong personal philosophies of intellectual freedom.

Update: I am 1/3 finished, and plan to do another third tomorrow and the final third on Friday. As I go, I’m sending emails to the teams that include any critical formative feedback, as in “Do not continue until you have fixed ___.”
I am pleased with what I’ve read so far.


January 24, 2008

Reminders for Jan 26

Posted in Intellectual Freedom, Selection, Updates tagged , , at 1:52 pm by maf

Plans are set for Saturday. It looks like the lunch plans are not the least of these!

Dr. Tallman will be there.  Beth will take the lead on the topic of censorship (have you done your private reflection yet?)   We will touch a number of selection tools, so don’t forget to bring your example for show and tell.

On the housekeeping front, summer course information is beginning to become available. I will start gathering preferences for my summer course meetings, as soon as I figure out the best way to do this.

And of course, I will answer all of your questions about the SP Draft and there will be group time.

The Exhibition list seems nearly complete. I am very happy with the balance and there is little chance that I will ask someone to shift.

My entire web site was down earlier today but seems to be working fine now.  It made me realize, for about 2 hours, how much I depend upon my own website as a representation of my brain!  Here’s hoping for no further technical difficulties.

Tomorrow I have the normal Friday round of meetings and will fall behind on email.  I look forward to seeing you on Saturday, 9a, A1880!

January 17, 2008


Posted in Selection at 2:05 pm by maf

I learn so much from your questions.

Saturday, during group time, several questions came up that I wanted to capture for everyone. (It’s a real danger, when working with cooperative learning groups, to say something to one group and think you’ve said it to everybody!)

One group sought to align selection principles and criteria with goals, objectives, and selection targets. I can certainly see where they got this idea! (I’m sure I give the impression that everything must be aligned with everything.) Let me clarify: annually, you set program goals and objectives, and from these come selection targets. Alongside, you have your general selection principles and criteria that do not change (much) from year to year. While you might refer back and forth, and use some to help justify the other, you need not align these. Said another way, do align your Targets to your Goals/Objectives, and then I think you can stop.

The same group looked through Information Power to find some Selection Principles. That works – just pick out the ones that have to do with the collection. For example: p.83, Principle 5 works as a Selection Principle.

Another place to look is Bishop p. 42. While reading through, I had marked out Selection Objectives and replaced it with Selection Principles. In the interest of a shared vocabulary amongst members of the class, I recommend that you do the same. This list of bullets works well as principles.

There is no hard and fast rule about these – your Media Committee (or equivalent) gets to decide what these should be. Your job in this class is to collect a starting list so that you won’t have to start from scratch on the job.

Keep asking questions! They keep me on my toes and make life interesting.

January 14, 2008

Walk a Little Taller

Posted in Diversity, Selection at 6:07 pm by maf

Thank you all for a great class Saturday.

Today, I:

  • firmed up the assignment due dates as we agreed
  • updated the agenda to reflect what we did – which was everything
  • reflected about things I wish I had said, which I plan to blog about (but not today)
  • wrote my Teaching Philosophy (for the award nomination) – this might explain some crazy things I do, if you’re interested
  • checked the Exhibition topics so far. So far, so good!

Some great questions came up during Group Time Saturday. I will blog separately about each of those that need sharing with the whole class.

Finally for today, I would like to share something I heard yesterday in a sermon. The topic was actually Harriet Tubman. Did you know (I didn’t!) that she was hit in the forehead with a heavy piece of lead while enslaved, and as a result she suffered from daily sleeping fits for the rest of her life? She would be doing something or talking to someone and just fall over, asleep. What a handicap that must have been, making her accomplishments seem all the more heroic. (This is the kind of detail that kids love to hear about, by the way.)
Anyway, there’s a museum in Macon called the Tubman African American Museum. Many school children have visited it for field trips over the years. A sign near the door says:

Some people leave here walking a little taller.

It occurred to me that this is an important reason for us to “diversify” our collections, as we discussed on Saturday. Regardless what the diversity itself may be, our students need to see themselves in school library materials – so that they can “walk a little taller.” This principle has guided media material selection for many years, but I particularly like the way the Tubman sign expresses it.