The Learning Librarian

A fine site

on February 13, 2013

For this week’s reading response journal entry, I decided to take a look at the blog entitled A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy ( The name of the blog appealed to me immediately; it is currently a cold, blustery day and those are three things I would be delighted to have. For now, though, I will settle for a water bottle, a computer and this blog. 🙂

After looking around the blog a little bit, it occurred to me: this lady looks familiar! Then I realized – I follow her on Twitter! (Don’t worry, dear reader, my Twitter Saga continuation will be part of next week’s blog entry. It is pretty exciting; make sure you stay tuned.) I have been following several librarians and teachers, and I recognized her face as the one behind many interesting Tweets I’ve followed. I hadn’t realized that she was also behind this blog – what a great discovery!

The purpose of the blog is to discuss and review YA books. Elizabeth Burns, the author, reviews YA novels and tells her readers the plot and “the good” about her selections. Readers can respond with their own thoughts and comments. She also has an “interviews” section where she prints her conversations with YA authors. I enjoyed reading several of these reviews and interviews; they are helpful to me as a future librarian and would undoubtedly be helpful for students looking for a good book or for more information about their favorite authors.

I noticed that she also posts articles that provide information and thoughts on current events/articles, like this one: I really enjoyed this article. It discussed Ms. Burns’ reaction to an article she came across on Twitter in which the author argued that students should be graded on their class participation. However, Burns retorts, for students who are introverted and are naturally wired to think (a lot) before they share, this grading policy seems a bit daunting and unfair. I especially like the article because she provides several links to other blogs and websites that discuss the same issue. She provides links to articles that argue both sides of the debate, not just the one she agrees with. When looking at this particular piece, as well as others on the blog, I thought about how wonderful this would be for older students to learn that there is not always one right answer to everything. From an early age, students are usually taught that there IS an answer to their question, even if it isn’t readily accessible – it’s out there somewhere, we instruct them; go find it. But sometimes there truly are not clear-cut answers or even answers at all. People don’t know/agree on the meaning of life. People don’t know how to cure various diseases. And people definitely don’t agree on controversial issues (I guess that’s what makes them controversial!) I really respect how Burns models how to research both sides of a story, and I like how she models respect for the other side. She doesn’t badmouth the author of the article she’s disagreeing with; she doesn’t put down people who resonate with “the other side.” She also welcomes comments, encouraging conversation and thoughts from anyone who would like to speak up, regardless of their opinions. I think modeling is crucial for students of any age – if we would like to see a certain result, we need to demonstrate exactly what that result looks like. When I become a librarian, I know I would like to see students who are respectful, thoughtful and articulate when conducting research and reporting an opinion, and I would absolutely use this blog as an example.
PS – if your day needs a little amazingness:

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