When I was growing up my papa read to my siblings and me every night before bed. He would read all sorts of things; poetry, picture books, short stories, novels, even comic books. We would pile around him, reading over his shoulder and studying every detail of the pictures. Those are some of my most treasured and impactful memories of childhood. I learned to love books; they contained worlds full of people, information, and truth. The contents of books have changed my life and I want to help children discover that magic.
Books have the power to take us places we will never go, introduce us to people we will never meet, and show us a whole new side of the world. Seeing the world through the eyes that books give us builds empathy and understanding for our fellow men, qualities that are crucial in our global society.
In my own life I have learned to understand the lives of people who are different from me by seeing the world from their point of view. Books such as Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry, Seedfolks, A Girl Named Disaster, and The Hiding Place have all taught me important lessons about the world and the people in it.
School librarians are in an ideal position to open the eyes of children through books. Helping students find books they enjoy, and encouraging them to explore the world through the pages of a book, is my passion. I want to create lifelong learners who see the world differently.
As a librarian I will have a responsibility to every student in the school and the opportunity to have an impact on their lives. Helping students to develop a love of literature and providing them with the tools and knowledge to seek out books and materials that will challenge and inspire them is the dream of my heart.
As a librarian, though, I have responsibilities beyond connecting students to materials. Without a commitment to advocating for the rights and intellectual freedom of my students I would be limiting them, directly opposing my desire to broaden their horizons.
The concept of intellectual freedom drives material selection and digital citizenship education. Librarians need to understand the laws, federal and state, and the district policies regarding intellectual freedom and use that knowledge to be an advocate for students’ rights. The school library media specialist is the most knowledgeable person on campus in those areas. Even administrators do not receive instruction in intellectual freedom, so it’s up to the librarian to ensure that students’ rights are being respected.