By Elizabeth Wroten
On 05, May 2015 | In Redux | By Elizabeth Wroten
Just a quick post today to share that I’ll be working one day a week in the lower school library next year. I got a contract a couple weeks ago and signed it.
I have a long history with this school (alumni, former employee, volunteer, my husband works there and prospective parent) so I’m very familiar with the campus and all the staff. I’m really excited to be so part time. It’s a little extra income and the job itself should be a lot of fun, but I’m still able to be home with my daughter. I really like the other librarian I’ll be working with, so that sweetens the deal. So far I know I’ll be working with the fifth grade, but the other grade I take is still up in the air. There’s a lot to coordinate with PE, foreign language, and music which the kids have everyday. Hopefully this will lead to some good fodder for blog posts starting in the fall, too.
By Elizabeth Wroten
On 11, Sep 2014 | In Redux | By Elizabeth Wroten
So last Wednesday I officially started running a makerspace! The opportunity popped up and I jumped on it and it all came together pretty quickly. I wrote a post about ten months ago about makerspaces, what they are and what their potential is and why I think they’re important. You can go here to read that piece.
I’m running it at the school where I used to work. Sadly the MakerSpace is not connected to the library (yet, some plans are in the pipes, but I need to get into the swing of things first). Space is really tight, especially this semester as they are building a new science and math building, so we’re currently based out of the art room. Last year, after going to several conferences that had sessions about makerspaces my husband and I tried to get one up and running. We just dropped the ball as life got busy (as it does), but we had laid a lot of groundwork and planning with both the art teacher and the after school enrichment administrator. So when the middle school head propsed talking to my husband about makerspaces he brought me, and our pre-planning, along. The art teacher is amazingly supportive and incredibly generous to let us use her space and the MakerSpace is being run through the after school enrichment program. It’s a drop-in alternative to study hall for middle school students and lower school kids can sign up for it as a class which means they will be there every Monday and Wednesday afternoon.
I’m still ironing out some things, like missing supplies, but the kids were so incredibly engaged. I’m really excited about this whole thing. It has a lot of potential. Now to get the kids circulating through! I’m going alternate updates on the MakerSpace with my Throwback Thursday posts, so hopefully you can see how it’s going.
By Elizabeth Wroten
On 13, Dec 2012 | In Redux | By Elizabeth Wroten
The high school students of the school where I worked recently decried the Internet filtering policies, claiming they are censorship. I’m glad they are not ignorant of the issue, but the article made some pretty frivolous points. Disclosure: the tech department of the school consists of one person who is also my husband. Read the article here. Below is my response to them.
Dear Students of the Sacramento Country Day School High School,
I know you don’t know me much beyond being the quiet girl in the library or Tom’s wife, but I want you to know I am someone who thinks a lot about censorship. I’m a librarian.
Admittedly that sounds trite, but it isn’t. In fact librarians are often the only ones who stick up for those being denied access and for those being censored. Our professional organization, the American Library Association, has an entire division devoted to dealing with censorship. They often face down committees, administrators, patrons, parents, and even their peers. It’s not fun; it’s not glamorous; we don’t win adoration or fans, but it needs to be done.
I applaud you for being concerned enough to confront the filtering problem. The best thing you can do to fight censorship is to stay informed and keep others informed in turn. I personally believe that filtering the Internet on campus is not ideal. However, as someone adamantly against all forms of censorship, I take issue with your argument.
The sites you are really upset about, especially those mentioned in your article, are filtered for the simple fact that they don’t currently support the mission of the school. You don’t have access to Facebook on school computers for the same reason you can’t watch TV during class- it’s distracting and detracts from the educational atmosphere. The sites are not blocked because Tom or Mr. Repsher or Mr. Wells or anyone else on campus find them personally offensive or morally reprehensible.
Being enraged that you have to wait to go home to log onto Facebook to post the latest gossip or read the SparkNote about The Scarlett Letter in an attempt to fool Dr. Bell into believing you did last night’s homework, does not make the internet filtering censorship. School owned machines and school operated networks may be filtered, but you have other avenues for accessing the content.
Most of you have smart phones, which I am sure you have used to access Facebook and YouTube while on campus. I watched you do it while sitting at my desk in the library. Most of you have Internet access at home which you also use to access filtered content after school hours. I have seen your comments through our mutual friends on Facebook. You all have access to the public library.
But, the most important and easiest access you have is through Tom. If you have a legitimate reason for needing a site to be unblocked, permanently or temporarily, you can request that the block be removed. He is very open to discussion and reasonable requests. I know because I went to him with requests to unblock various sites while working in the library.
I believe the best solution is for you to open a respectful and honest discussion with the administration in which you make a case for taking down the filter. Demonstrating that you can responsibly use these sites will also help- that means no more sneaking Facebook during class time or watching cat videos when you should be watching math lectures. Also, splashing black bars across the school paper and baiting the administration with sensitive terms like censorship only makes them defensive and reactionary. This needs to be a dialog not a power struggle.
I highly suggest looking into how China restricts and monitors its Internet. Or how the Arab regimes and dictatorships shut down access to the Internet in an effort to contain the Arab Spring. Or Iran’s fraught relationship with social and print media. Or how libraries sometimes choose not to purchase controversial and sensitive materials for fear of conflict. Censorship affects everyone no matter how far from or close to home it is. You, the next generation, need to ensure equitable and open access for everyone. Basing your argument for a freer Internet experience on campus in the culture of fighting censorship will only make your point stronger.
You are all extremely bright and capable students. I hope you will continue to stay engaged with and vigilant for censorship in all its forms.
“We change people through conversation, not censorship.” Jay-Z