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The need to weed, Pluto style

January 12, 2010

I was a substitute in a 2nd grade classroom today. They were beginning research on the solar system, and each student had to pick an individual planet. This seemingly straightforward assignment has become much more complicated for student and teacher alike since Pluto’s demotion to dwarf planet. As I was helping students look through their books for information, I soon discovered that some of the information sources contained conflicting information.

This brought to mind one of my favorite library blogs, Awful Library Books. They consistently remind their readers to maintain current information in their collection. This point was driven home today by my experiences with these 2nd grade students. As evidenced by their steady stream of weeding candidates, and bolstered by my experience today, I can see that this is an aspect of librarianship that is never-ending. It’s also one I’m hoping to learn about this semester.

Spring semester starts in one week. I am taking IST613 (Library Planning, Marketing, and Assessment), and IST616 (Information Resources: Organization and Access). Both courses are part of the core requirements, which means I don’t have any school media courses this semester. I will be doing my fieldwork this semester, and I am looking forward to applying some of these skills in a school library setting.

(I’m happy to report that my story today has a happy ending. The school library has a new book series on the planets with the up-to-date information on Pluto. School librarian to the rescue!! And just to clarify, the outdated sources were from classroom libraries, not the school media center.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2010 7:24 pm

    Please do not blindly teach the controversial IAU view that Pluto is no longer a planet, as this represents only one side in an ongoing debate. Pluto is still a planet. Only four percent of the IAU voted on the controversial demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. For a good description of what to tell kids about planets, look at the appendix of Alan Boyle's new book “The Case for Pluto.”

  2. January 19, 2010 1:08 am

    laurele – I appreciate you leaving a comment, and also appreciate your viewpoint on this matter. As a future school librarian, it is my goal to provide accurate and informative resources for my students. I will take a look at Mr. Boyle's book when I get a chance, and I will keep this in mind. Thanks again.

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