CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 13. . . .November 26, 2010
Ms. Reade, a school librarian, is in charge of a busy media center where her students are actively engaged in a variety of learning activities. One day, the town’s mayor drops by for a visit, and, because all of the children are out for recess, the library is peaceful and quiet. However, this tranquil atmosphere is soon changed when the kids file in. When Ms. Read leaves the room for a moment, the mayor, clearly unsettled by this “new’ kind of library where silence is not golden, decides to do something about the noise problem created by the students, teachers and electronic devices. First, he closes the book return box. When that doesn’t alleviate the noise, he shuts off the computers and printers; then he turns off the DVD players; and, finally, he dismisses the kids and the teachers. At last, the library is silent. Upon her return, Ms. Reade is shocked at the change in the library- with no patrons and no activity, the library has ceased to be the vibrant, bustling place it was a few minutes ago. The mayor agrees with her that the library is just too quiet, and so he turns the computers, printers and DVD players on, invites the children and teachers back, and delights in the lively atmosphere as everything returns to normal.
Based on an old folktale, this repetitive story touts the value of the library as a hub of joyful exploration and learning. Young children will enjoy chanting along as the book returns kerplop, the computer keys clickety click, and the printers screech zippedy zing. But, despite some of the subtle humour (such as the traditionalist mayor’s browsing through the dinosaur section of the library), the story lacks a bit of the charm of the original.
Gail Hamilton is a retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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