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3/1/13

In Defense of Librarians

"I think I like librarians more than teachers," Joel says.

I cringe. "I thought you love your teacher."

"I do. But I like what librarians do. Teachers want to know how fast you read. Librarians want to know what you want to read and why."

"That's not always true," I challenge.

"But most of the time it is. In library time, we don't have wrong answers. We don't even have wrong questions. She just makes suggestions to help us ask better questions."

"Oh," I say.

"If I want to answer a question, I can go to Google like a grown-up does. If I want to know the right answer, I can ask my teacher. But if I want to ask my own questions and find out how to find my own answers, I can go to the librarian."

I'm not sure how accurate his observations are. I know that his thoughts don't even come close to describing the role of librarians. Still, in an age where librarians are being cut from schools and replaced by reading and math specialists, I think my son has made a great argument for rethinking our priorities.
JOHN SPENCER
Professor. Author. Speaker. Maker.
I want to see kids embrace creativity. As a teacher, this meant murals, documentaries, STEM camps, and coding projects. As a dad, this has meant elaborate pillow forts and home-made pinball machines. This is why I co-wrote Wendell the World's Worst Wizard and co-founded Write About. I am convinced that design thinking can thrive in every content area, which is why I am launching the free design thinking course this summer.

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