Head for the Edge, Library Media Connection, March 2008
From: “Screwdisk” <email@example.com>
To: “Wormwood” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: How to destroy any school library program
Date: Thur March 6, 2008 :10:19 -0500
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook 9.2
My dearest Wormwood:
Once again it is my unpleasant duty to report that your job performance in the area of retarding human potential was unsatisfactory during the past year (only two brimstones out of five). At all the schools in your area, young humans are graduating at higher rates, are displaying a distressing tendency to do more of their own thinking, and are actually seeming to enjoy reading, problem-solving and even, Hades help us, learning. This cannot continue if we have an ice cube’s chance in hell of keeping mankind ignorant, cruel, and brutal.
The single common denominator among your schools is that they all have active school library programs. Once again it seems you’ve been playing Bejeweled instead being attentive at our staff meetings and have missed suggestions for crippling the school library program.
The fiendishly glorious thing about library programs is that their strength depends upon but a single fragile soul – that of the school librarian. You get to her, the entire program goes up in flames. [Evil chuckle, evil chuckle.]
You must convince “madam” or “master” librarian to:
- Think of the library as her program where she sets all the rules, knows all the best practices, and owns all the materials.
- Invite children into the library, but when they actually get there, set rules and expectations that make them feel uncomfortable, even unwelcome.
- Place more emphasis on getting stuff back and keeping it in order than getting it out and into kids’ hands.
- Consider the only productive behaviors in the library to be academic in nature. Pursuits of self-interest are simply a waste of resources.
- Assume that kids who like getting information in ways other than reading are rather slow. Oh, and treat them that way. Let it be known that books are superior to technology in every way, under every circumstance.
- Spend a lot of time making sure the cataloging meets standards. Stay in the back office while doing so. Don’t let people say “anal retentive” like it’s a bad thing.
- Ban the copy/paste command. Make students work for their plagiarized term papers!
- Ban cell phones. Ban mp3 players. Ban personal laptops. Ban games.
- Block YouTube. Block blogs. Block chat. Block games. Block Google Images. Block joke sites. Set as many rules on computer use as possible. For first time misuse, take away computer privileges for a minimum of a year.
- Only select and book talk items he likes to read. Make sure he ignores any nonfiction titles. Claim graphic novels are the devil’s handiwork.
- Make sure her library goals in no way relate to building or district goals.
- Assume teachers who do not want to collaborate are bad teachers and treat them as such. Assume administrators who do not automatically value the library are dolts and troglodytes and treat them as such.
- Always advocate for what is in the best interest of the library - not the library user.
- Never accept a task that she considers beneath her professional dignity - teaching a class, hosting a study hall, monitoring a test, keeping a website up-to-date, or managing a network.
- Develop an adversarial relationship with as many people as possible. Key are the principal, the custodian, the secretary and especially the technology director.
- Learn to play good cop/bad cop with the library aide, with the librarian being the bad cop.
- Make sure she is very, very fussy about her job title.
- Consider everything a collaborative effort, and take no responsibility for that which could be directly attributed to or blamed on him.
- Develop a good relationship with parents - after she finds out her job may be cut.
- Whine. At every opportunity.
Remember to invoke the pernicious imps of Fear, Powerlessness and Defensiveness at every opportunity. A confident librarian, one that both children and adults like and respect, is among the worst of Our enemies! If Earth is ever to truly become the devil’s playground, nasty concepts like critical thinking, tolerance for a diversity of opinions, the ability to empathize with others, and intellectual freedom must be stamped out faster than prison-made license plates. With even the least diligence and effort on your part, libraries which support these heresies can be rendered ineffectual by the simple corruption of a single soul.
Fire up, Wormwood! Fire up! Get these librarians in your schools heading down the wrong path. And do make sure it is “down.”