First off, I’d like to start this final post of 2012 by simply thanking you for supporting this blog—whether this is your first visit or you’re a regular reader.
If the latter, you’re probably aware that the keynote here is “media literacy” in all its flowering variations. With that in mind, might I humbly suggest joining, or donating to, the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE)? While the “national” in its title refers to the U.S., this non-profit has a reach and impact that is international in scope. Sadly, however, because of the relative lack of K-12 curricular focus on media literacy education in its home country, it is here that I feel NAMLE’s advocacy and resources are most acutely needed. Fortunately, this is an area where librarians and media specialists can really make their presence felt: they already deal with media, the teaching of it, and teaching through it, so more formalized MLE is a logical next step that many have already taken. In fact, if you’re a practitioner who’s already doing some neat work in this field as a school or youth librarian, you might want to consider submitting a proposal for NAMLE’s 2013 conference. (But please note that the deadline of January 7 is coming up fast.)
Oh, and because of this unabashed plug of a specific organization, you may wonder if I’m involved in a leadership capacity or have some other ulterior motive. Well, the answer to that is no… I just happen to be a lifetime member.
My second humbly offered suggestion for a year-end donation concerns your local library. The same way that pop culture media can bring people together, so does a library, both as a physical nexus of community and as a resource center for the culture more broadly. That’s hardly news, right? Well, these truths still hit me with unexpected force when Hurricane Sandy struck, leaving my town here in New Jersey out of commission for about a week. During that time, as in many places in the region, the library stayed open extraordinary hours, became a re-charging base and new home-office for countless residents, and provided a place of warmth and play amidst the devastation. And through it all, the librarians never took a break from programming, as when they regularly reminded us of screenings and other activities that were available for kids.
For these reasons I donated a few minutes ago to the library foundation where I live. Most towns and cities have similar non-profit entities, sometimes called “Friends of the Library” or something similar. Of course if you work at such a library, you’ve probably already given a lot of yourself over this past year… in which case maybe, just maybe, you’d want to do something a little crazy such as donate to a system in a neighboring, perhaps struggling, community. Just a thought.
In any case, I’ll see you back here in 2012. Peace.