Thursday, August 7, 2008

Whew! Renovation and Renewal!


Shortly I'll post some photos of the new library. Oh -- but it's no longer a "library"! It's now got one of those new fancy names, decided by Higher Powers (not library people). For years I've resisted attempts by other people to call me the "media specialist" or the library the "media center," not because I'm an Old Fogey opposed to change, but because, as a native -born Yankee and of partial Quaker parentage I have an inbred disposition to plain speaking and a dislike of pomposity and bloviated verbiage. But the Powers That Be have overruled me, and I do think the results will be good. I'm working hard this week at trying to reshelve our remaining books on the small remnant of shelving and am consoled only by two thoughts: that our book collection will look much fresher and newer, and that the local prison system will be the grateful recipients of hundreds, thousand, of wonderful books. And when our book-loving parents visit ands say in shock, "What happened?" I will throw up my hands and my shoulders as if to say, "That's the Way It Is. Not my decision." I won't say much, out of loyalty to my school, but I will be sympathetic to their distress. (There won't be too many of those parents, but there are some who will be upset.)

Today a lot of the new furniture arrived, and it's beautiful. I agree that overall it's a Good Thing. The new place will look great, and it will serve our digital natives well. For those boys who still read or consult books, there will be a core collection which I hope will be attractive and useful.

This kind of change represents a huge paradigm shift in the life of a school. And it's upsetting, and a lot of work for those involved. But I do think it's good. Sometimes the sudden change is effective and is better than incremental change.

I'm just deeply grateful that the prisons want our books. Otherwise, it would be MUCH more difficult to lose so many.

They kept telling us in library school that "the only thing constant is change," and boy, were they wise to instill that idea in us. It's helpful both in school life and in regular life. But changes are painful and somewhat worrisome. We'll see how the year goes.


I hate to have a blog post without a picture, so I might just find one of my own summer pictures -- maybe a butterfly, as a symbol of change. For my one reader, and for me, who needs to write to understand things, here is today's post.

43 comments:

Robert J. Rubis said...

Jayne,
Oh, WOW!
I've gotten rather caught up in a whirlwind of personal things lately (my son's starting to walk and talk, my first novel's edging closer to release on Amazon:)), and one of my professional activities that's suffered has been keeping up with other bloggers who's opinion I've come to value. Boy, did I miss some changes at your library!

I'm sure you mentioned the coming renovations, but your story is so reminiscent of what happened in our ES Library that it sends chills down my spine!

I'm more determined than ever that we will adopt a different approach to the "renewal" of our Main Library when the time comes (probably a year or so off, as we've just begin construction of a new Fine Arts Centre). If you've not checked my blog recently, take a look at recent posts (Seeking the Middle Way, pt. 1&2, and "Devil's Advocate" at http://edgingahead.edubblogs.org.) Any suggestions for evidence-based resistance to a "slippery-slope" abandonment of traditional reading and research skills and programs would be more than appreciated.

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