Checking out library books on sensitive topics....

Discussion in 'Library/Media Teachers' started by Caesar753, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 9, 2015

    I am working hard to add interesting and relevant titles to my new (to me, but very old and outdated in general) library. A fair amount of what I'm adding focuses on potentially sensitive topics, such as divorce, abuse, health and body, sex, GLBT, etc. I want my students to select titles based on their own interests, and I know that many of them are interested in these topics. The problem is that I think they don't pick up these books and check them out because they are afraid to be seen with the books. For example, I think it could be hard for a 7th grader in his English class to want to walk across the library holding a book with a picture of two boys kissing. I'm looking for ideas on how to fix this.

    Another librarian suggested that I make bags (such as reusable shopping bags) available for students for this purpose. I think that's a great idea, except that if I advertise this as their purpose, then everyone will still know what's in the bag and it might end up being an even bigger problem. I'm sure you can imagine the scenario: "Oh, guys! Timmy's got a book bag. What's in the bag? Hey, Timmy, tell us what's in the bag?"

    I've also thought about having "private browsing time", like where a student could ask his teacher for a pass to come to the library during class time. It is likely that there would be few or no other students in the library at that time (unless I had a scheduled class in the library), so there wouldn't be any privacy concerns. The main problem I see with that is teacher buy-in and, again, figuring out a way to advertise to students that this could be an option for them if they want some privacy while checking out books.

    What ideas do you guys have? And how can I advertise whatever policy/procedure I end up deciding on?
     
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  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Oct 9, 2015

    Maybe you could have them verbally tell you which book they'd like to check out (if they're there during class, etc.), and then they could swing by at the end of the day to pick it up (and quickly stuff it in their backpack)?

    Either that or you could extend the whole bag idea and use it for every check out. I just looked around and you can get custom bags made for $200 for 1000. Maybe encourage the kids to recycle their bags somehow. This isn't exactly the most cost effective or efficient idea, but it does solve the issue.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 9, 2015

    I like the idea of having students come to the library with a pass; our library is open about half of the day for students to be able to do this with a pass from their teacher. The buy-in from teachers is almost 100%; the kids know that they can't go during direct instruction, but can only ask during independent work time. She does limit the time the kids can spend when coming independently--they are expected to be in and out within about 5-7 minutes. Our librarian talks to the kids about the policy during one of their class library visits, and has communicated with us about it through email newsletters.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 9, 2015

    I already have an open library policy: any student can come to the library at any time as long as they have a pass from their teacher and as long as there isn't a closed meeting/class already present in the library.
     

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