Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Research and Study Week Update: Libraries and Hope, Trauma, Teaching and Learning from the AAR

The very existence of libraries, librarians, and their community of learners are the best evidence that there is hope for our future. Adapted from a quote attributed to T.S. Eliot.

I don't know if Eliot actually penned these words but here's what's often attributed to him: The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man. I found this quote placed on the front of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, published in 2019. I'm currently reading this novel about Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project and as I'd used this real-life story to inspire us last year, I modified the T.S. Eliot quote to reflect my 1 year COVID19 experiences. I want to highlight the importance of people - those who care for the collections as well as our readers and users (communities of learning).

I shared the Pack Horse Librarians' inspiring story at our library training to move to work from home last year ~ this time. Faculty had made the historic decision to finish the rest of the semester online. The student librarians and I realized we could re-frame the pandemic, and find new purpose as digital and online instructional librarians during COVID19. The Pack Horse Librarians, through the government's book program, brought the joy of literacy, inculcated a love of reading, and opened a new world to previously illiterate and impoverished communities; similarly, we, a small residential library would discover new meaning and purpose by creating a new web-portal, instructional videos showing remote access and use of electronic resources. Even though there would be no access to our beloved print and physical spaces we would share the joy of digital creating, reading, and more! We have come a long way since then. Our physical library building, print materials, and the community they create, are indeed treasures to be cared for and nurtured. We have been doing that even while we created our digital library, With Much Love and the new online services; In 2021 we have reached 95% remote access success from 55 % in Sept. 2020. Now, we are slowly and safely, responsibly opening the physical building and its print collections for in house access and use.

It's a sunny day, in Research and Study Week; we welcomed several scholars to the library building. First year students, who've never been inside the building, were invited last week to one of four 'safe' tours that we're offering. We had the first tour today and we are delighted by our first guest and by the number of students learning in their carrels.

We’ve survived COVID19, but few of us, no matter how well we’ve pivoted, adapted or accomplished and productive we may have been, can claim to be thriving. The constant ambiguity can be exhausting. Thus, the American Academy of Religion’s Spotlight on Teaching this month is timely with its focus on trauma and practical strategies for a trauma-informed approach to teaching. Written by theologian educators Trauma-informed Pedagogies in the Religious Studies Classroom has 11 articles and a Compiled List of Resources. I've provided a summary in Trauma, Teaching, and Learning and invite you to check it.  

The Library Building is open by appointment and reservation ONLY to LPTS students and employees. Yes, a few carrel reservations are still unassigned, reference room appointments are welcome 24 hours in advance, this week Wed and Thur hours are until 8 pm and Sat. from 10 - 5 pm. Details on Help page and Phase 3 Responsible Reopening post. We look forward to helping your learning.