So I finished my grade 6 GS LRC Orientation this week. I tried my best to make this one different from their previous orientations. They have had orientations like this in the past and I'm sure that at this point in their grade school lives, they would want to experience something new.
That's why, I divided the class in groups of five. Each group was assigned a topic and set of questions for discussion. The topics varied from the staff of the LRC, to borrowing guidelines, our school's discipline plan and the LRC's plan as well, to the areas and services we offer, and the many library tools and information sources available for their perusal. And true enough, they know the rules, the guidelines and procedures, the references and information sources we provide and the expected behavior in the LRC. However, they do not seem to put these concepts, ideas and skills in practice.
Circulation statistic among grades 6 and 7 is very low. They do not borrow or read books at all. They still perceive that the computers in the Reference and IT Lab can be used for fun and recreation. And if the librarian or the staff isn't looking, they can check on cheat codes and play Ragnarok.
We have softwares to monitor the computer use in our library. We have a staff, though limited in number, who are flexible in adjusting their coffee and lunch breaks to attend to the needs of the students. There are five librarians who are not only expected to do regular routine and technical work in the library, but must also teach information literacy skills. But why do our boys couldn't internalize the importance of the LRC in their academic life?
What else do we have to do?
In the end of each orientation, I pointed out to my grade 6 students that the challenge is two fold. One, they must realize that the library is not only a place where they can borrow books or hangout during free time. Their library is a learning laboratory, an extension of the classroom. And two, their GS LRC can offer them resources that will help them prepare and complete assignemnts, projects and reports that are well thought of.
I do not know where we will go from here. There may be a structured program and a curriculum that guide us all. But the reality of teaching chidren rest on uncertainty. You'll never know what they will bring into the fold no matter how scientific the approaches and methodologies are employed. Then again, the voice of experience will always come a calling.