Visibility, Core Standards, and the Power of the Story: Creating a Visible Future for School Libraries

By Todd, Ross J. | Teacher Librarian, October 2012 | Go to article overview

Visibility, Core Standards, and the Power of the Story: Creating a Visible Future for School Libraries


Todd, Ross J., Teacher Librarian


INTRODUCTION: THE POWER OF THE STORY

I have always been inspired by many of the statements of novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie. In his essay titled "One Thousand Days in a Balloon," he says, "Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives--the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change--truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts" (Rushdie, 1993, 17). In a similar vein, the American poet William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) speaks of the power of the story: "Their story, yours and mine--it's what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them" (Williams, in Cole, 1989, 30). Ah, the power of the story, and the challenge to learn from them.

I believe in the power of the good story! Falling under the scholarly discourse of narrative intelligence, Mateaas and Sengers (1999) claim that a growing number of fields, ranging from history to psychology, law and medicine, education to social work, have embraced the use of stories and narrative forms as an effective methodology to hone in on findings not possible through traditional scientific methods in order to develop rich patterns of meaning and insights. Sandelowski (1991) posits that the narrative nature of human beings has often been lost in the data-driven research environment, yet it is these narratives that convey the richness, depth, and variation of experience and, through telling and selection, are given cohesion, meaning, and direction. According to Atlee (2003) of the Co-Intelligence Institute, the strengths of the use of "story" as a data collection and presentation approach include the tendency to understand things better when they are presented in the form of a story (and sometimes to have trouble understanding things when they aren't presented as stories); the capacity to sense the importance of context, character, and history in any explanation; the ability to see another's viewpoint when presented with the stories that underlie or embody that viewpoint; the ability and tendency to see people, places, and things in fresh, insightful, and functional ways in a story; and the ability to recognize certain elements as significant, as embodying certain meanings that "make sense of things.

As a researcher focusing on school libraries and how young people engage with them to learn, I am captivated by the stories that people tell about them. Story, as a data-collection approach, has been pervasive in much of my research. I remember when we collected ten thousand stories as part of the Student Learning through Ohio School Libraries research study (Todd & Kuhlthau, 2005). Students told in many different ways how their school library had helped them with their learning, as well as the development of life skills. Collectively these stories provide compelling, cumulative and deeply personal insights into the power of school libraries. And such stories, over the years, have provided me with claims, challenges, and questions about the role of school libraries in learning and their future in an evolving educational landscape.

Part of my motivation for documenting stories about the dynamics and future of school libraries centers on questions being asked about the sustainability of school libraries in many countries, with evidence of cuts in library budgets and professional staffing. With this decreasing visibility, there are also fundamental questions being asked about the sustainability of school in the increasingly digital information environment of school education (Hay & Todd, 2010), particularly the increasing trend of mobile technology as the dominant platform for accessing information content, the changing arena of content publishing, and development of new delivery platforms such as apps, ebooks and etexts.

FROM INVISIBILITY TO OPPORTUNITY

The question of visibility has plagued the school library profession for decades. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Visibility, Core Standards, and the Power of the Story: Creating a Visible Future for School Libraries
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.