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Pandemic Musings from a School Librarian

2020-2021 Is Like No Other

This school year has been incredibly difficult, definitely the most difficult of my 14 years of teaching. I feel very discombobulated, constantly creating and restructuring lessons to fit online limitations, a shorter time block, and a different class rotation schedule. Then there’s the obvious; I’m not in the library. My students aren’t in the library. How can we teach library lessons with no library, or if you’re in school, without book browsing and check out? I’m also very aware of how strange this is for my students, their new needs, all of the new technology they’re using, and the stress that many of our families are feeling. I can relate! I have my own elementary age children, so I’m also juggling work and parenting responsibilities. When I stopped and thought about what would be possible this year, at first, I was at a loss. I had to take a step back and think about what we can do. What is my why? What are my strengths? What I can do to make all of my students’ experiences better in this moment?

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COVID-19 and the NEED for School Librarians

The Beginning

Recently, I started to notice something happening on my social media, something I’d hoped we’d moved away from. I saw a Covid-19 conspiracy video being shared. Not once, not twice, probably dozens of times over a few days. The people sharing the video were not the usual conspiracy theorists or on the political fringe. Some were relatives, some were childhood friends, some were teachers. A few worked in healthcare. They often made comments along the lines of “I’m not sure if this is real, but wow!”,  or “We really need to look into this!”, but the most common was something like, “It’s important to look at both sides of these things.” The video featured a scientist and various medical professionals making a variety of shocking claims, from the idea that wearing masks would make people more sick, to the story about how the scientist was fired and thrown in jail for no cause, to the hospital doctors that are being pressured into coding every death as a Covid-19 death.  It stated, as if fact, that we were weakening our immune systems through quarantine, that if we just lived our lives like normal we could develop our herd immunity. It talked about the money involved, about the researchers, doctors, and foundations holding back a real treatment in favor of making money off of an upcoming vaccine. I thought about it. I researched the video, the people in it, and the claims being made. Frankly, it was a whole bunch of nothing. Almost every part could be thoroughly debunked with just a small amount of research. I stewed. Finally, I realized what all of these people needed…a librarian!

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Building a Reading Community in a Time of Social Distancing

During a time of social distancing and to promote National School Library Month, members of MASL wanted to think of ways to connect people and share resources that would help others foster a love of reading. Using a forum called #TalkaboutIt Tuesdays, MASL offers a webinar where various topics related to school libraries and reading are discussed. On March 31, 2020, our first #TalkaboutIt Tuesday, librarians were encouraged to check-in, discuss #MASLreads and provide more suggestions for reading and literacy. 

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How Free is FREE?

Since Maryland schools shut down on March 16, my email inbox has exploded with offers of FREE resources for me, my teachers, and my students.  While I appreciate the support that so many of them have shown, I am hesitant to throw caution to the wind and sign up for everything just because… well… it’s FREE!

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