The school library media center is a place where students have access to materials that interest them and challenge them to think and grow as individuals. The school library has the unique responsibility of introducing young citizens to the world of information and story.
Students bringing home books to read and discuss with family is an important ingredient of nurturing understanding of the diverse world we live in. Students' ability to self select what they read cultivates kids who can read to be kids who do read.
Becoming aware of how much we have in common and not allowing our differences to separate us helps to reduce bullying and lack of respect for others in our communities. Stories shared bring insights that reduce fear and resistance to the unknown. We engage through story. Hearts are stirred. What is it like to be ...? This develops understanding and empathy for others. As we embrace and celebrate our differences, we expand the safety net in our schools and neighborhoods.
Ubuntu is the age-old African term for humaneness, for caring, sharing and being in harmony with all of creation. As an idea, it promotes cooperation between individuals, cultures and nations. As a way of life, Ubuntu fuels a world that puts smiles on faces, invites gratitude and peace, and generates constructive possibilities. Ubuntu in schools builds self-confidence and empowers individuals.
Freedom to read is essential to our democracy. Libraries are democracy in action. The fundamental premise of democracy is that the ordinary citizen, by exercising critical judgment, will accept the good and reject the bad. Censors assume they should determine what is good and what is bad for their fellow citizens. Students reading a vast range of points of view, then discussing and questioning, develop critical thinking skills and discernment that strengthens their voice with the choices they make.
Schools promote parental involvement in their children's education and should never impede a parent's ability to take part. It is the librarian's responsibility to provide a diverse, balanced, and high-quality collection that represents all points of view on controversial issues. Students having easy access to these materials, without restriction, promote learning and growing. All parents have the right to choose what their family reads, but not to make that choice for another family. School boards need to know that many of us feel that children should be exposed to a variety of ideas and be encouraged to question and think for themselves.
Enjoy a book by Patricia Polacco, or another author, together as a family. Read it. Discuss it. Celebrate the freedom to read and promote that same freedom for all.
Gambles lives in South Ogden.