Making Things Work

The main part of class was taken up by the a Skype discussion by Carl Harvey, which was really enlightening as he talked about how he makes things work in his elementary school. I think the thing that I found the most fascinating about what he talked about was how he really got himself into the planning stages of the grades and consciously went out of his way to say, yes, I’m not like the old librarian. When he spoke about the different parts of collaboration and how there’s a time when you let a teacher take over a project at a certain point even though maybe you created all the groundwork, that seemed to be a hard thing to do but something quite powerful.

When I was at a summer camp before my last year of high school, I was in a sort of leadership program where as part of crew rotations to do all the chores, I worked with a counselor/mentor. I remember so clearly one day when I had been trying to show someone how to do something in the kitchen and Sam, my mentor spoke to me about how I could be too teacherly and not let the person make their own mistakes and own it. Carl reminded me of that and how for collaboration or any partnership to work, both sides have to give up a little control and ownership because it all comes down to the end result. So as in the research projects that he mentioned, there are some clear lines of you do this, I do this, but the heart of it is people really figuring out what works.

In terms of looking at the library redesigns, I was amazed at all the different ways that people rearranged the space and presented their designs. As we spoke about our designs, I realized that I actually did have a clear idea of what my library would be like and that was a wonderful surprise. I’m not sure if I’ll ever have a chance to lead a redesign but I do know what counts for my library, which is for it to be a community space where young people feel safe.


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