Title

Is the School Library a Last Safe Place?

First Presenter's Institution

Susan Cordell

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Harborside East & West

Strand #1

Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

During my dissertation research, I discovered, by coincidence, that all the librarians I interviewed said that their libraries were informal safe places for students marginalized and/or bullied due to various reasons of diversity. As a professor, I have continued to follow this trend in the libraries of my Ed.S. students, and it continues to hold true. The topic relates to III. "Hands" because the librarians practice unofficial as well as official bullying prevention, and the library is seen as a safe space created for those who live on the periphery of the school community. It relates also to II. "Heart" due to its relevance to school climate, cultural diversity, character education, student empowerment and self-esteem. The librarians I studied worked with their marginalized students not only through conversation and providing an atmosphere of caring, but at least some of them also provided books, and other materials other resources that dealt with bullying and the students' individual needs.

Brief Program Description

Students obviously need places that are safe. For whatever reasons, many of them choose the library to either self-isolate or to protect themselves from bullying peers. I will engage the audience with facts and anecdotes that will cause them to consider if their school libraries are unofficial safe places and, if not, how can they cultivate that safe space or how can they enhance it if it already exists. The target audience is teachers and school librarians, particularly those who work in late elementary to high schools. I hope to stir a discussion among all the group regarding their experiences and how to achieve a safe school climate, bolster the students' self-esteem and empowerment, and become more active in recognized anti-bullying movements.

Summary

I am proposing a poster session, but I would also be willing to share in presentation format. There are no formal, nationally recognized or official strategies that are discussed or supported in this session. I will discuss with my audience strategies the librarians used, which were informal but consistent both among the research participants and with proven anti-bullying methods. Through the discussion of practices, sharing of ideas, and presentation of examples of materials the librarians can use with these students (no advertising), participants should be able to "take home" ideas for using their libraries as safe spaces for students who are marginalized due to whatever category/categories of diversity by which they are identified by the mainstream students and faculty who "other" them. There will be no advertising nor self-identifying information shared.

Evidence

Again, self-identifying information will be eliminated from the poster or presentation. I will share evidence with the audience from my doctoral dissertation research that supports the notion of the school library as one of the last safe places in the school for marginalized, bullied, "othered" students. There is little existing research published in this area, so participants will hear primarily the stories of the librarians in my studies, along with quotes and ideas from the few who have written in the field.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Susan Cordell, Ph.D., NBCT, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Instructional Leadership and Support at The University of West Alabama. Her primary instructional and research concentration is School Library Media. She also teaches graduate courses in Education Research. Dr. Cordell previously worked as a middle school librarian and high school Spanish teacher in rural Alabama, where she was, and remains, an active anti-bullying advocate for her students. Dr. Cordell earned her doctorate from The University of Alabama in Instructional Leadership, with a focus on social justice, equity and diversity.

Keyword Descriptors

bullying, safe places, marginalized students, school libraries

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-7-2017 4:00 PM

End Date

3-7-2017 5:30 PM

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Mar 7th, 4:00 PM Mar 7th, 5:30 PM

Is the School Library a Last Safe Place?

Harborside East & West

Students obviously need places that are safe. For whatever reasons, many of them choose the library to either self-isolate or to protect themselves from bullying peers. I will engage the audience with facts and anecdotes that will cause them to consider if their school libraries are unofficial safe places and, if not, how can they cultivate that safe space or how can they enhance it if it already exists. The target audience is teachers and school librarians, particularly those who work in late elementary to high schools. I hope to stir a discussion among all the group regarding their experiences and how to achieve a safe school climate, bolster the students' self-esteem and empowerment, and become more active in recognized anti-bullying movements.