Public library question

Discussion in 'General Education' started by catnfiddle, May 9, 2010.

  1. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    May 9, 2010

    This was posted on another forum (non-educational) that I inhabit. I'd like to know the general feelings of this forum:

    Every year a project comes up at one of the local middle schools (7th graders) where on the assignment sheet there is a box for a library stamp. It's a research project and getting the library stamp is worth extra points on the project. I appreciate what the teacher is trying to do. However she has never sent us an email warning us the project is coming, asking us to stamp her students papers (though after three years she probably thinks she is fine), or contacted us in any manner. We (as public librarians) have attending school district meetings, put info on our website, sent info to every teacher and principal in the district, all to the effect that when/if you have a project, if you contact us we'll be better equipped and so excited about helping your students when they come in. We've made it easy to reach out to us, we've indicated we're willing and eager to help, and this teacher has never contacted us.

    My question is: when students come in and want the stamp, do we verify that they've actually done research here? Some students are walking in, getting the stamp, and walking out. Parents are coming in without their students, getting the stamp, and leaving. Should we ever refuse to give out the stamp? The last kid who just walked in and seemed about to walk out, I questioned gently: do you have everything you need for your project? Can I help you find anything? She said she'd checked out books yesterday and forgotten to get the stamp.

    Ultimately my coworker (and I) feel that if they physically are in the building, we should give them the stamp. That is the extent of our responsibility, but I thought I'd run it by other forum as well.​
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    May 9, 2010

    So, does it say on the handout the stamp actually means something more than they just entered the library? If the teacher has indicated on the handout it means the library was used for research, then the teacher should contact the library beforehand to discuss the matter.

    I do feel that the publlic library and local schools should collaborate together...
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 9, 2010

    I think I would send a letter to the schools in the district, letting them know that your stamp means only that someone was in the library requesting it, not that you can verify that anyone actually did any research.
     
  5. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    May 9, 2010

    I think the library has gone beyond the call of duty. I think that anything like stamping projects should come with clear guidelines and those guidelines should be provided to the library staff by the teachers assigning the projects.

    If it were me, I would push for new procedures, and those procedures would include requiring teachers to provide an outline of the assignment and what is expected of the students, and what the teacher would like out of the library. If those procedures aren't followed, then the library would bear no responsibility to do anything.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  6. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    May 9, 2010

    Not knowing the town, this is a tough one, but I think the librarians should not be expected to do more than issue a stamp for entering the library. There are plenty of other job duties, besides watching students to see if they followed through with a project.
    Shame on the teacher for not communicating with the librarians. The teacher may also consider a type of "scavenger hunt" project, depending on the objective of the project.
     
  7. newbie1234

    newbie1234 Companion

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    May 9, 2010

    At this point, the librarian should just issue the stamp for entering the building. Without any input from the teacher, the librarian has no idea what's expected of the students. Obviously, the teacher should have contacted the library, but seeing as it's been three years without contact, the librarian should reach out to the teacher for clarification.
     
  8. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    May 9, 2010

    If I were the librarian here I would email the teacher, fairly easy to do by just checking the disticts website. Does the librarian HAVE to....no. As a librarian you want to be an advocate for your facility and show the students just how great it is and how helpful YOU are!

    If you were the librarian and as you were roving saw a middle schooler copying anothers project or HW, would you look the other way or contact the teacher<I bet most would not get involved, which is why students can get away with this and are dependent on others to do things for them>? (It is kind of the same thing because by just getting the stamp they are not doing the work themselves.)
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 10, 2010

    The thing is, the librarian has no idea what the assignment is. Maybe the kid is copying notes he missed while he was absent. Maybe the assignment is to view local architecture.

    Grading and monitering the work of the kids we teach is our job. It is not the job of the local librarian, who has a job of her own to do.

    I think the assignment is incredibly flawed.
     
  10. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    May 10, 2010

    I wouldn't stamp anything unless the teacher (or school) had first called, explained what they wanted, and an agreement between the two was reached.
    I also think assignments like this are hugely unfair to the poorer students in the district (or the more rural ones) who do not have their own car and have parents that need to work more than the 40 hour week. I used to get penalized in high school because I requested university books through the mail and interlibrary loan, as opposed to going in person, even though I had no means of transporation to get to a university library
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    May 10, 2010

    Thanks, all! I passed along your opinions. She has sent a gentle email to the teacher in question, asking that she receive more firm instructions next year. Personally, I think she should also gently request cookies as an honorarium, but that's just me.
     

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