My yearly library orientation for grade 7 students is scheduled next. The rest of the librarians in my department began orientation today. I marvel at how patient the Primary Librarians are to the lower grades boys (Prep to Gr. 3). Having been assigned to work and teach intermediates for the past six years, I'm pretty sure that if I get to handle the primaries again, I would be making a big adjustment. But, just the same, it would be a delight. Children, boys or girls, in all their toxicity, are a wonderful lot!
This morning, I saw how excited my nine year old son was upon receipt of his borrowers card. He borrowed four books, all from the Magic Tree House series. At lunch time, the library was a full house. Good thing we had very good (and new) air-conditioning units. Tony R., our circulation man, held out a five inch thick pile of book cards (Sorry folks. We're not automated yet). Now those were the books borrowed only for the day. Just imagine how many books we'll circulate in the next three months. And with it goes the pile of books Tony R (also our resident book doctor) will be repairing.
I don't know about your school library, but every year, we have carts and carts of books for repair. For boys, books are not only reading materials, they're like toys to tear apart. When they can't put it back together, enter the book doctor.
Don't think that we don't teach them how to care for the books. We do. And we never tire repeating the value of conservation and respect for intellectual property. You see, for us in our school library, intellectual property is also the understanding that physical books hold great value a smuch as the ideas and the content put in by the authors, illustrators and publishers.
But kids are kids. Boys will be boys. One teacher once sighed, "when will they ever learn?"
I'm keeping my faith on the boys.
Teaching is like gardening, you see. You'll never know if the plant will grow but, you tend it every way you can. A teacher can never really, truly assess learning, but a teacher does what needs to be done.
That holds true with children's libraries. It is better to do something than to not do anything at all.