The Local Community as Story and Culture Strategies for the Better Integration of Community Resources into the Lives of Youth Bill Lukenbill, School of Information University of Texas at Austin Austin, Texas USA
Introduction • Folklore is found in all human societies. Because of common themes found in folklore, it reinforces a theory from biology and anthropology that individuals all over the world are linked culturally, socially, and genetically through community.
Hillary Rodham Clinton used this old African proverb “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child” as the title for her book describing her philosophy of modern child rearing and the role of community in that process.
Folklore and Curriculum • Anthropologists remind us that community structures and models that are found in folklore are also found in modern society. • Modern education and curriculum now assumes much of the role of traditional folklore in imparting to youth important social norms and expectations.
Curriculum in our school is a cultural and social statement. • Like traditional folklore, curriculum gives structure to expected social behaviors and academic achievements.
Behavior Codes • Traditional folklore presented codes for gender role behaviors as well as other relationship expectations. • Traditional folklore through its stories taught loyalty to clan, tribe, and family.
Folklore, Curriculum, and Youth • Modern-day curriculum and instruction fulfills some of the functions of traditional folklore. It offers: • For the very young views of the community life and all the players necessary for a workable society. • As student mature, the curriculum provides information about civic responsibilities and loyalties.
Critical Thinking • In modern, democratic societies, the curriculum teaches the importance of critical thinking and the role that the individuals must play in protecting democratic principles.
Stabilizing Influences • Sociologists and educators claim that together with curriculum and related instruction, the well-managed community can often serve as a stabilizing force in modern life by providing purpose and framework for youth today.
Overview of Curriculum Objectives • Overview of Curriculum and Community (American and Canadian schools) • For Younger Children: • Introduction to the neighborhood and immediate environment • “Members of Our Community” (ages 7-8) • “The Postal Service” (ages 6-7)
For Older Children: • Introduction to some of the complexities of social life and the importance of personal involvement and responsibilities for community life, including work roles and economic opportunities. • “Exploring Music Instruments Using the Internet” (ages 12-14) • “GI Bill” (senor level secondary students) • “Marketing and Adverting” (senor level secondary level) “AMHRÁN NA BHFIANN”
For Secondary School Youth: • Introduction critical thinking skills, ability to analyze situations and make informed decisions based on evidence. • Two points of view here: • 1. Personal responsibility and loyal to country, state, province, community, based on inculcation, not indoctrination. • 2. Use information in an analytical way understand situations, make well-informed decisions and to help solve social problems.
Information Power • The School Library and Community • The 1989 American school library media standards Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning (ALA, 1989) recognized the importance of community resources in the education of youth.
Sources of Information • The standards suggested that information can be provided by: • Public libraries; • Museums; • Government agencies; • Social agencies (both private and public); • Others resources.
Information Processes • The “Standards” also recognized important processes involved in providing community information: • Collaboration; • Networking; • Maintaining links to businesses and civic organizations. • The “Standards” recognized these as necessary for the intellectual and social development of youth in modern society.
Information and Personal Development • Historically, and in concert with these “Standards” the American teacher-librarian community has always emphasized the connection between personal development and information such as job and career information; reader advisement and reference services.
What is Community Information? • What is Community Information? • Community information is information that exists in the community and it is not necessarily in traditional bibliographic form with which teacher-librarians are familiar. This information can be found in: • The local neighborhood; the city, county, state, province, district or any geographic area.
Sources of Community Information • Community Information may come from: • people; • agencies; • groups; and • businesses.
Historical and Current Rationales Rufsvold, ca. 1950s • Historical and current rationales supporting community information for instruction and reference. • In 1949 Margaret Rufsvold described community information as important to school library audio-visual services. She advised that the school curriculum reached well into the community. • In 1954 Louis Shores recognized community information as a valuables reference resource (1954). • Later authorities such as Davies, Van Orden, and Bishop also advocated community information for school library collections.
The Vertical File: An Example • The vertical file is an example of community information • The VF has traditionally accommodates information [generally print] materials from the community
Newark Public Library, in New Jersey, published subject heading lists from 1917 to 1957. • Examples: • N.J. Unemployment. Relief Measures (State) • Essex Co. Rent (Local county) • Newark. Art Associations (Local organizations) • The Toronto Public Library • Examples: • Canada—Science Council • Toronto—Districts • Toronto—Festivals • Other examples are now available on the Internet. Search under “vertical files.”
Community Information in the Public Catalog • Hennepin County (Minnesota) Public Library • Examples of subject headings: • Child Abuse—Hennepin Co. Minn. • Free Clinics • Group Homes • Job Hunting • Physically Handicapped Hennepin County Public Library serves the greater St. Paul- Minneapolis area, across the Mississippi River
MARC Record Format • Community Information and MARC Records: • In 1996 and 1999 the Library of Congress and the National Library of Canada published MARC 21 Format for Community Information… • Included formats for organizations; programs; events; individuals; and agencies.
Using this format, libraries can include community information in their online catalogs.
Community Information on the WWW • Community information on library Web pages and Web sites:
Rationale for Community Information • Rationale for Community Information in the School Library: • Growth of information technologies makes community information in schools more feasible. • New technologies enable networking and linkages. • Reflects most schools’ missions and objectives (e.g., information literacy, critical thinking skills).
Growth and accessibility of new community information resources via the WWW. • Government support of library cooperation and collaboration (e.g., U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services)
Problems and Issues • Problems and Issues: • Labor intensive: • Identification of resources; • Evaluation of resources; • Recording, mounting, and documentation of resources; • Curriculum support and instruction; • Measurement and evaluation of student achievement; • Integration into existing examination structures • Technological support; • Budget support.
FIELD TESTED MODELS FOR DEVELOPMENT • The British Library Study by Terence Brake The Need to Know… (1979-1980). • Designed and tested a model for helping students better understand and use community information. • Defined community information as information found in the students’ neighborhoods and which could be used to help in everyday living.
Study considered students’ information needs as well as technical needs to implement the program. • Designed instructional units for teachers to teach community information. • Organized community information in the library around these components: • Community bulletin board; • Community information file based on appropriate subject headings;
Pamphlet or literature counter with free, give away materials; • Local reference section (directories, etc.) • Vertical file (based on local interests and subject headings)
Sources of Information • The local public library; • Community and government organizations; • Entertainment venues; • Recreation venues.
The Brake Model Brake, Figure 1, page 18. Redesign, with bulletin board added
Outcomes of the Study: • Teachers appreciated the content, but because it was not a part of national examinations, they were hard pressed to accommodate it; • Students enjoyed the instruction, but did not take it seriously because it was not a part of national testing.
Elements in a Community Information System • Important Elements of Community Information • Picture or Graphic File (print and electronic) • The Vertical (Information/Literature File) • Directories • Indexes (indexes to local publications, newspapers, etc.)
Clipping and posting services • Internet resources (identification and mounting, linking, etc.); • In-House productions (bibliographies, finding guides, photoprints, videotaping and editing); • Archives (of selected school affairs) • Self-help and personal counseling referrals
Marketing and Promotion • Promoting and marketing community information • Announcement and explanation of services offered; • Instruction in how to use services; • For information literacy instruction in classroom environments; • Announcements regarding information
Environments and Facilities • Providing an Environment for Communication information • Floor plans and arrangement of furnishings