Competency O - Statement and Evidence
Portfolio of Cathleen Elizabeth Ash
contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities.
By ensuring not only access to knowledge, but teachings in the finding, use and implementation of knowledge found, librarians ensure social well-being - or at least the possibility of healthy communities. As always, it is up to the end-user to utilize the tools and resources they have learned or found. What is critical is that all librarians provide equitable access to their services. In a world ever-more defined by class (socio-economic and ethnic) it is imperative that equity be maintained in the public service sectors.
As a liberal-minded teacher and librarian, my definition of equitable is to provide more for those that have less. In this manner, a more equitable community can be fostered. In the case of the school library, I ensure students have access to computers. I also keep an eye on students who use the computers, and make sure that students who do not have computer access at home can spend extra time completing their assignments - most of which must be typed and turned in online.
In these times of upheaval, it is even more critical to contribute to the community. In my case, this takes the form of not only providing for those who need more (researching current high-interest, low-reading level print materials for our struggling ELL students and their teachers) but also making a stand in the political process as allowed by our constitution. I took the liberty of approaching a local Assemblymember and provided him with the statistics and figures of library services to indicate not only the requisite need for librarians in the high school, but also the need for funding to ensure the library could provide up-to-date information and technology for student use.
Pleading a case with a public official, providing extra resources for new or struggling teachers, and allowing more computer time for students who do not have home access isn't enough, either. It is important to be aware of groups within your community that you can support. At the high school level, this includes all student and teacher groups. Some of the ones I have supported recently (and annually!) include our GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) and the Spanish Club. The activities for GSA include booktalking new and relevant titles in the library during their weekly meetings, and encouraging them to request books they might find interesting. The Spanish teachers and The MECCHA Club on campus put on an "Day of the Dead" celebration every year that has become a huge event in our library. We coordinate resources and open the library so that students can teach students about the history and importance of this day in the Latino culture.
Legislative Visit A visit with California State Assemblymember Alberto Torrico to discuss library funding. ELL Annotations An annotated list of articles discussing ELL students and teachers. GLBTQ, GSA support
A website created to support the school's GLBTQ population; pictures of a GSA Club presentation held in the library.
Permission for use of the ALA Stonewall Awards information was granted in December 2004.
Day of the Dead Pictures of some of the Day of the Dead activities in the library.