I have started my journey in Libraryland at a time when early literacy library programs are "research based" and "helping kids get ready for school." I'm all about research, when left to the professionals, and helping kids get ready for school is great, but I guess I'm wondering, where's the fun in all of this?
|I don't see any fun here.|
My colleagues and I have been thinking about what we want our children's department to be. I think we have overwhelmingly agreed that we are not here to do alphabet flashcard drills, or do STEM programs with massive experiments for the sake of saying "Oh yeah, we do lots of educational programs. Drop your kids off and we'll teach them something."
I don't think kids want that kind of experience at a library. I think the library, unlike school, is a place where kids should be free to choose what they want to read/watch/experience. Your kid likes to read Captain Underpants: He's reading. Get over the subject matter and let the child read. Reading is fun, don't mess that up for him by saying "No, I'm sorry. You can't read that. It's not educational enough."
On the flipside, there are parents that make their kids go to library programs, whether the child is interested in the subject of the program or not. For the sake of the sanity of everyone involved, parents, please don't do this. If little Jenny doesn't like dinosaurs, please don't force her to sign up for a prehistoric dinosaur adventure. She's not going to learn anything, OR have fun.
I was one of those kids that loved going to school. I know that many kids don't, which makes me feel sad, but I hope that the library can be the place that they like to stop by, check out a book, and learn something that they care about without feeling pressured that they should learn something (OR ELSE!).
I think if we as residents of Libraryland make programs fun-focused, we'll be giving ourselves, and our schoolteachers, the job security that we all deserve. And more importantly, we'll be giving the kids the fun (and learning) they deserve.