For my final post, I'd like to share more about one way that we can focus on student voice to impact the growth of our students and bring to light the issues that they care about in a way that offers them.
As librarians we talk a lot about “safe space” - equity for all students and their individual needs. Providing opportunities for student voice has always been an important mission in my library. This year it manifested in a group slam poem - I coach the slam team with an English teacher. The team competes in the Louder than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival sponsored by MassLEAP.
The Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance Collective (MassLEAP) is dedicated to building and supporting spaces for youth to experience the transformative power of their own voices in community with one another. We exist as a platform for young people, artist-educators and organizers to foster positive youth development through spoken word poetry forums. We facilitate arts learning spaces and build relationships among communities throughout Massachusetts. We are a Boston Based collection of writer-educators who are united in our passion for social justice and youth voice.
I’d like to share the poem, Puppet Show, with you.
These students met weekly in the library conference room with us, their poetry coaches. We “held space for them”. What does it mean to hold space? In the therapeutic sense - “It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.” To me this perfectly describes the social emotional aspects of our profession.
Our theme this year was “Beyond the Binding” and I believe that what we saw presented throughout the conference show many of the ways that so many of our colleagues are redefining what it means to be a school librarian.
In closing, I'd like to say that I know that I am leaving you in good hands with Carrie Tucker as your incoming MSLA President. Carrie has a lot of knowledge about MSLA and brings great ideas with her. Please welcome Carrie as your new president.
Thank you for your support over the last 2 years, it has been an honor to work with and for all of you. I will be on the board as past president for the upcoming school year and I look forward to supporting Carrie’s journey.