In these toolboxes are keys to unlock kingdoms of wonder and curiosity for the young patrons who walk through your door. Unlike standard school curriculums that are designed as if every student learns in the same way, thesetoolboxes allow your young patrons to discoverand explore their unique interests, passions and learning styles. The books, games, crafts, and creative ideas for enriching life experiences (poets, authors, puppeteers, musicians) will engage and motivate children and reassure them that theircuriosity and passions create the perfect paths to acquiring knowledge.
As a school and public librarian, I have had numerous conversations with other librarians about the downhearted child who comes to our library to research a classroom topic they have no interest in. O.K, we help the child find THAT book on THAT topic and then we turn and ask, “What are you interested in? Let’s find a book for YOU.” Suddenly, after the initial confusion during which the child processes what we are asking, a slow, shy smile appears, eyes widen and brighten and the child knows exactly the book s/he wants, on say, the holiday their family celebrates, or how to make a skateboard, or extinct animals and on and on. We have rescued another child from the terminal boredom of Uninteresting Assignments. Of course,they must do those assignments, and we must help them find the appropriate resources, but we can also show them that in the library there is joy in learning, joy and wonder to be had, new, exciting lands to travel AND a magical toolbox that will encourage exploration, creative expression, and the discovering the wonders of this small planet.
Let us not forget the biggest rescue job of all:the young patron who enters your library because they have nowhere else to go. This is the youngster whose trust we work hard to earn, so that together we can weave a safety net beneath them. Once we have helped them understand that the library is a safe place, we can begin to demonstrate the magic to be had through learning. Just open a CBN Toolbox and once again, at your fingertips, you have implements of joy and discovery to share. Librarians have the privilege and responsibility of making libraries safe homes for the hearts and minds of all our patrons. Need I point out that it is the Best Job in the world? The CBN Toolboxintroduction to the sheer magic of learning possesses the potential to create a model of futureinquiry for each child who passes through our doors. All this in one Toolbox! Librarians: you are in for the most thrilling ride of all, the opening of a child’s mind and heart to the infinite possibilities contained in their own unique selves.
Melissa Heckler, School librarian, USA
Melissa has also successfully run outreach educational projects in northern Namibia. Thirty years of consistent work in remote San communities has brought huge benefits to the children there.