Call for Papers Issue 16: Children in the Library
Children represent one of the largest groups of patrons served by the public library. This may be one of the reasons why many positive associations are linked to these institutions in society. Despite their importance, children lack representation within the LIS literature or, if they are subjects of literature, authors refer to well-intentioned but more paternalistic strategies which result in one-sided approaches. For instance, literacy is one of the main issues at which libraries work is aimed. However, a short glance in public libraries reveals that literacy programs constitute only one small portion of the children’s interaction with the library – children mostly make use of a library as a playground and a place for adventure.
Apart from the practice-oriented discussion, LIS literature also lacks interdisciplinary connectivity to fields such as pedagogy, educational research, anthropology and sociology to name a few. One may assume that the already achieved knowledge which scrutinizes one-sided approaches to learning activities may influence the discussion. One may also expect a growing influence of the ongoing debate about new perspectives on early childhood education in the LIS literature.
Last but not least, recent demographic changes within western societies are changing the social structure that children inhabit. On one hand, immigration leads to a higher proportion of children with multi-cultural backgrounds; on the other hand children are growing up in a more distinguished media landscape. These developments are undeniable and cause new challenges in practise. Nevertheless, there is a striking discrepancy between reality and scientific discourse.
LIBREAS aims at shedding light on this discrepancy and proposes an interdisciplinary symposium held in Berlin complementing issue #16. Our purpose is to bring together representatives from the respective disciplines and librarians in order to debate the benefits and limits of library work for children.
General sample questions for discussions are:
• What is the impact of library work on children and how can it be assessed in an evidence-based manner?
• What is the relationship between libraries and educational institutions?
• Do librarians take enough advantage of educational research?
• What does an appropriate learning environment of children look like? What kind of needs must such an environment fulfill?
• What are children doing in the library and what keeps them there?
• Why do children stop going to a library when they grow up?
• How does library work reflect diverse cultural and social backgrounds of children?
• Are children really „digital natives“?
• What kind of media do children expect in the library and elsewhere?
As an E-Journal with an editorial board both in Berlin (Germany) and St. Paul, Minnesota (US) we aim to compare the situation in the US and Germany both on a national and on a local level.
• Social and demographic conditions
• Ambitions and realities of library programs
• The role of immigrants (e.g., in Germany it seems that library services are often aim at white, middle-class kids)
• Personal experiences of parents, librarians, teachers and children
• Best-Practises apart from read-aloud, gaming and Harry Potter parties
LIBREAS is looking forward to your fresh and controversial contributions on the topic of “Children in the Library”. Indeed, we welcome new perspectives on that issue not outlined above, too. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate in contacting us.
Proposed submission deadline: 31 January 2010