As I’m getting ready to begin the new year, I’m moving into preparing the library for patrons. That is a concrete job that showcases the learning commons’ resources. In my role as library advocate, I have to spend time on signage. I was chagrined by my lack of time to put into displays this year–there was funding last year for new textbooks, so I spent this week adding them and generating barcodes in Destiny instead of working on displays. I shared my frustration with the principal (she used to be the TL), and she reminded me that I will have plenty of time to get displays up in the first week of school. This encouragement helped me to remember that the STUDENTS have been the display creators in past years, and they do really well.
Two years ago, students from the Virtual Enterprise class took my print orders and made beautiful copies that I laminated and used for signage. I have since discovered a wealth of help creating gorgeous signs and displays from student aides and the Students for Literacy club. One student aide made a bulletin board for books that will be made into movies. My last student aide put together an origami border for the digital citizenship board, and another lovely fanime board.
Sometimes it’s hard to let students take on this job. My aesthetics approach to lettering involves peeling off stickers and sticking them to designated spots on a penciled-in line. Two years ago, one of my students spent an inordinate amount of time cutting out lettering for a graphic novels display. Despite the fact that the Gothic font was a bit difficult to read, and the letters were smaller than I would’ve done, I was at least thankful to delegate a job that needed doing, thereby supporting participatory culture. According to the 2006 MacArthur Foundation/MIT publication, White Paper: Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century by Henry Jenkins, “Our goals should be to encourage youth to develop the skills, knowledge, ethical frameworks, and self-confidence needed to be full participants in contemporary culture” (p.8). In addition, YALSA’s (2014) publication, The future of library services for and with teens: A call to action exhorts us K-12 educators to “Listen to teens and seek out ways to affirm [student] identities through connected learning opportunities with libraries that build upon academic, digital, critical literacies, etc.” (p. 27). What better way to engage students than to grant them the privilege to not only contribute to the running of the library, but also to build community? And what a great way to move a job from the librarian’s shoulders to the place where it naturally goes?
For those of us who either have trouble removing our hands from the task, or have students who want to help but can’t draw a straight line, there are places to go to get great, free, images. As I was searching the web for my last post, I came across the July 17, 2017 Knowledge Quest article by Becca Munson titled, “The Noun Project: Find icons for all your needs” . The Noun Project, located at thenounproject.com, contains “over a million curated icons, created by a global community.” And if they need ideas, have them check out Pinterest boards like this one by KarinSHallett. For lettering, if you want students to conform to your expectation of readability and coloring, you can go the sticker route, or you can get die-cut letters from your local RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching) store. I challenge you to let them take the reins, though. There is cooperation, and then there is collaboration. If you hand over a job and say do it this way (here are the letters, use these colors, etc.), the student cooperates by completing the job to your specifications. If you ask your student to come up with some display ideas and plans that you review and ask about (What font size do you plan on using? Do you need me to purchase supplies?), that’s collaboration.
Do any of you have go-to sources for images and lettering that you’d like to share?
Jenkins, H. (2006, October 19). White Paper: Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.macfound.org/press/publications/white-paper-confronting-the-challenges-of-participatory-culture-media-education-for-the-21st-century-by-henry-jenkins/
Munson, B. (2017, July 17). The Noun Project: Find icons for all your needs. Knowledge Quest. Retrieved from http://knowledgequest.aasl.org/noun-project-find-icons-needs/
Young Adult Library Services Association. (2014, January 8). The future of library services for and with teens: A call to action. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/yaforum/future-library-services-and-teens-project-report