Collections Policy Meets Hebdo


We met with our Head of School this afternoon after a copy of the most recent Charlie Hebdo arrived in our mailbox. Given the nature of our school and the attacks in Paris, I wasn’t surprised to learn the senior parents had decided to subscribe us to the magazine. Okay, I am totally surprised but I also see my reaction as being very American. Charlie Hebdo themselves asked readers to subscribe as part of the fight against censorship. I have a lot of conflicted feelings.

So, I am really glad that I wrote our Collection Development Policy a few years ago and was able to show it to our Head. It outlines what we do and do not collect, our challenge/reconsideration policy, and, most importantly right now, our donation policy. We talked about a few of the possible outcomes of having Charlie Hebdo available in the library and I feel satisfied the decision provides commonsense access to an important/controversial publication while also being sensitive to the potential for harm.

What we’re doing: Keeping the magazine in a container in the library, available for teacher and US student use. It will be weeded at the end of the year with the rest of the periodicals. We will not subscribe once this year runs out.




October Toggl-ing, or, What This Librarian Does

October toggling

So, here’s my the report for my first month of Toggl-ing.  I captured 120 hours of my work and learned some things about how I use my time and how I describe the way I use my time.  It took me a few weeks but I know feel like I have some controlled language about how I use my time and, moving forward, will be closer to capturing 200 hours of work a month.  One thing I’ve noticed is that even though I’m in the office from 8-4, I tend to only annotate 7:30 hours of work a day.  In addition, this pie chart doesn’t include the hours I spend reading teen fiction outside work. I’m reading much, much less at work this year. Between Toggl and my Asana checklist I’m feeling super productive and super BUSY. There is simply so much to do this year.  Is it that I’m getting better at my job?  Do teachers trust me more?  Am I feeling pressure to leave a legacy or prove my worth?  All of it.  But I’m also just straight up excited to be doing awesome projects with my peers.  I really, really love my job. [Hooray!]

Cover Flips To Save Us All!

I am obsessed with following the #coverflip tag on Tumblr since YA author Maureen Johnson challenged her Twitter followers to redo book covers.  Here’s an early collection from HuffPo and a later article from the Guardian about the movement.  As someone who must circumnavigate gendered book covers every day in my quest to get a great book into my reader’s hands, I really hope to see this go somewhere.  Will publishers respond?  I hope so but am not particularly optimistic.

Mock Elections and Internationalism

Good Morning!  It’s another beautiful day for democracy in America!

Our library hosted a mock election and here are our results.

As you can see, Mr. Obama won by a landslide.  One hundred sixty-eight students participated, which is about half of the Upper School.

We also added four state ballot measures to the ballot.  These are real voter-driven initiatives from States around the country.

Choosing our ballot measures was a challenge because we wanted the ballot to reflect a range of conservative and liberal initiatives as well as being appropriate for both Middle and Upper school students.  We discussed and rejected the Massachusetts Death with Dignity initiative and the Colorado legalization measure for their controversy.  At the same time, so many of our students don’t think of themselves as American, so it was fun to challenge them to think about the views and positions of citizens around this country.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the DP learner profile and the idea, embedded in the IB mission, that “other people, with their differences, can also be right”.  This idea is the polar opposite of the campaign we’ve just survived and I wonder how we reinforce this level of intellectual engagement and flexibility in students when they are constantly bombarded by small-mindedness.

Is the answer in engaged mindfulness?  Or in an equal bombardment of diverse points of view?