Monday, June 7, 2010

Don't be fooled: Librarians are 'true revolutionaries'

Re: Getting Over Easy Rider, Lorne Gunter, June 2. 

I was enjoying Lorne Gunter’s analysis of Easy Rider in my morning National Post when I was caught short by this sentence: “The teens who were prompted by its anti-establishment message to pledge themselves to change the world are today school librarians and public broadcasting technicians living in suburban bungalows, looking around the next bend at pensionability and wondering whether to open a B&B in Niagara.” 

Yikes! Now there’s a sweeping stereotype! I know he was trying to humorously make a point about becoming the essence of establishment self-focus. But clearly, he has not met many school librarians, nor does he fully appreciate what they do every day 

As a writer of children’s literature, I have had the great privilege of spending time with hundreds of school librarians across North America — from Nunavut to New Brunswick, from the Jane-Finch Corridor in the GTA to Lima, Peru.

Virtually every single one of the people I met are still honouring that pledge to change the world.

Don’t be fooled by the prim reading-glasses-on-chains cartoon image.

Teacher-librarians are true revolutionaries, trying to change and improve society by empowering the most vulnerable members of society: children. School librarians are professionally committed to freedom of thought and speech, and to the notion that teaching kids how to learn is the root of all education. If that’s not progressive, I don’t know what is.
Helaine Becker, Toronto. 

Like Lorne Gunter, I have always been unimpressed with the self-righteous inanity of Easy Rider. However, “the teens who were inspired to change the world” actually did contribute greatly to a decrease in racism and sexism in our society, as well as being instrumental in bringing an insane war to an end.

If some of them are now school librarians and public broadcasting technicians, are those professions less valuable to our society than, say, print journalism?
Kurt Weinheimer, Toronto.