Like many teacher-librarians, I still struggle to dispel the tenacious stereotypes of what a library should be, and what a librarian should look like. In the past few weeks, one stereotype has really been bothering me, and I’m not sure if I’m responding to it well or not.
Overheard while students are in the library, either at centers or choosing books:
Adult aide/visitor to a student: You need to lower your voice. We’re in a library.
Chastised, but confused student: Okay.
Student proceeds to stop actively engaging and act more sedately.
Me: Actually the students are learning, and learning is sometimes noisy. They don’t need to lower their voices, just keep it to indoor voice level.
This REALLY irks me! I hate to criticize or “call out” other adults in front of students, but it’s unacceptable to me to allow a student to think the library is a place for quiet learning only. And almost every center I have in the library requires students to collaborate with, get feedback from, talk to, and learn from each other. On Friday, the writing center was abuzz with students editing each others’ work, and the makerspace is a noisy ruckus of buzzers and motors.
So what can I do to get the adults in the school on board with what a modern library is like nowadays?