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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

My Panel Presentation notes for What Box?

During the SLJ Leadership Summit panel of which I am presenting (What Box? More Opportunities than Obstacles – Professionals in the field share their experiences in approaching 21st-century learning), we are talking about the Box. What box? You could define it and describe it because a box is concrete, has walls, and these walls become limitations. My teachers were chatting with me about the tv show Mythbusters and we were talking about how much we enjoy watching them blow things up. I want to talk about blowing up that box

There are concepts that must explode:

The idea that only those who read fat fiction books or books in print are readers. 
The perception that nonfiction reading is not fun or pleasurable. 
The concept that different types of reading have different values. 
The idea that girls read only fiction and only boys read nonfiction.
The belief that incidental curiosity is trivial. 
The judgments that Wikipedia and google are inherently bad. 
The concept that checking out books from the library is optional
The idea that reading to learn is not fun
The idea that series reading only occurs in fictional titles. 
The concept of respecting hierarchies of bureaucracy.
The use of procedures as excuses instead of ways to help
The concept of self-sufficiency as an excuse to avoid interruptions to help. 
The mistaken belief about your visibility and your importance. 

Dispositions (from AASL) & Personal Assessments
Look at life goals

Judgments (Do you define and place value judgments on reading types?)

Curricular Reading 
Recreational Reading 
Pleasure Reading 
Personal Reading 
Leveled Reading

Change your viewpoint: 

Obstacles Opportunities 
Testing No testing environment very appealing in library
Controlled reading levels Personal choice, expanded interests 
Rewards Rewarding experiences; Celebrations 
Schedules Learn quicker, faster, more focused – 6 min scavenger hunt
Multi-tasking & distracted Connected; Invigorated by challenges, deadlines 
Routines ??

What could be a roadblock?

• Filters 
• Schedules 
• Pass systems 
• Time limits 
• Limiting # of books checked out 
• Food & drink rules 
• Nowhere to question or ask 
• Locations of the librarian 
• Displays & signs (do you welcome & encourage returns) 
• Talking & Quiet levels that prohibit group work 
• Low expectations


Library Clubs. Student responses show they:

• Want to help make decisions 
• Want to choose new books 
• Want to help others 
• Want to review new items before others 
• Want to be in our space 
• Want to be included and a part of something 
• Want to be cared about 
• Want to be in control of their privacy & what they share 
• Want to be contributing

Connections with the public library 

Exposure to other types of libraries (college, technical, virtual)
Other sources of learning (ComiCon, facebook groups, Online book clubs, TeenReads)
Our presence and connectivity virtually


We assess students 
With new standards we ask students to assess themselves 
We have opportunities for students to assess us 
Online forms 
Simple bag solution 
Reward participation 
What are we doing right? 
What are we doing wrong? 
What are you willing to do to help?

Expectations – let’s shatter them and throw them high in the sky 
Ask students to consider their perceptions and change them. 
Build trust through instruction for individual choice 
Link what you are doing to where you are going and how.

Create a little havoc – inclusive exclusivity 
We know something and we’re willing to show you so you’ll know something, too. 
Special helpers… it’s all about ownership, belonging, and controlling our destiny 
Create gaps between what they’ve always done or expected and what’s out there

Shatter complacency & Blow up that box