Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

Libraries for a post literate society March 4, 2011

Do you agree with Johnson that students, and indeed younger teachers, are increasingly ‘post-literate’ in the manner that he defines and uses this term?


My passionate and indignant thoughts after reading the first couple of paragraphs: What a load of bollocks! “People don’t read anymore” (Jobs); “the ability to read written words, is no longer necessary”. The initial example was totally incorrect – people on spreadsheets, on laptops, on gaming consoles – they are all reading WORDS! Just because people  aren’t reading a hard copy book, magazine or paper, doesn’t mean they aren’t reading/accessing the written word.

I soon calmed down and was immediately intrigued with the concept of linking back to natural forms of multi-sensory communication (storytelling, speaking, debate); much like our pre-reading learners in the lower end of our schools.

I believe that students and younger teacher are as post-literate as we (fellow educators, parents, administrators of schools) allow them to be. In their personal lives, students ARE showing strong post-literate (as per Johnson’s description) tendencies and this is only worrisome if the way in which they ASSESS and THINK ABOUT the information they access this way is shallow. The possible strengths of acquiring information in this post-literate may benefit all learners, especially ESOL and SN students for whom large chunks of text is actually a barrier to learning.

There is no need to stop resourcing the curriculum as it stands, the written word on actual paper is still intensely and intrinsically valuable to all learners. We use need to ADD IN these new ways and means of accessing meaning.


Are school libraries and their collections already adopting the critical attributes that Johnson is proposing?

Wow, Johnson’s list of attributes reads like a teacher-dinosaur panic attack. As a youngish teacher who is hovering somewhere between a “digital native” and a “digital immigrant“, I admit I found the list a little daunting – it really does require a total mindshift when it comes to cracking open those ordering catalogues!

In my role as a LT, I am charged with the responsibilty of gathering resources for upcoming units of inquiry across the primary school. As a teacher, I look at these resources lists through a slighty different lens – I can make sense of a unit planner and see how the resources can be used in multiple ways in order to differentiate for all learners in the classroom. I try to add relevant websites and links to databases we have subscriptions to, as well as the more usual additions of DVDs, audio books, kits and print resources of all kinds including graphic novels. The idea of accessing concepts and content through gaming, and helping teachers find such resources, was an interesting and a little confronting point. Is this just because I am thinking Nintendo rather than Woodlands Maths? What other options are there? Please share!


Other thoughts after reading this article

“Culture determines library programmes; libraries transmit culture” – what does this mean for us as TLs, as humans? Whose culture? As an educator in an international school, does this mean the home culture of China, or does it mean celebrating and resourcing ALL cultures within the community? Or on a slightly different angle, does it mean the culture of LEARNING within the school – the curriculum itself or the framework the curriculum is within (the PYP for example)?

“Our greatest fears can become our greatest blessings”: Another key point for me was Johnson’s take on attitude – it’s up to us as TLs to lead from the front when it comes to becoming PL – show creativity, be a risk-taker, become knowledgeable -hey! It’s the learner profile!!




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