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This email is in response to the 'Dirt in the Library' thread. Pardon me
for not remembering who wrote what, but I'm still not comfortable with
doling out punishment or having it take place in the library. Librarians
try so hard to positively represent the library as a safe and welcoming
environment,  not one to combat dirt. 

 I never realized it was so  common to have students work off their
punishments in the library.  In our library, we are also told to host
defunct students or ones with serious overdues from time to time.  I think
it negatively reinforces the library, especially to the students that are
reluctant to visit or read in the first place (and let's face it; they're
the ones who win the lottery).  However, the process can be a learning
experience  instead of  a punitive one.

When it comes time for students to make good on overdues at our school, I
work with them and look at it as another learning opportunity for them and
me.  For example, I keep an ongoing list of library tasks students can do
in the library.  I also ask students if they'd rather work with me on the
database, shelving, or a sundry of other jobs or if they'd prefer to work
on the computer, typing up lables or what have you. Interestingly I've
only had one student want to work on her own (out of about 8 this year).  

Even criminals get to read while in prison; they don't all have to do hard
labor.  The dust and mold in our library causes my sinus' to go loopy. I
have to use saline spray and my netti pot afterward a reshelving project
or I get clogged up.

Your thoughts?

Rhonda Lesperance

Rabat American School
Assistant Librarian, LMC 
Rabat, Morocco
 (212) 06 13 62 70 76

Currently reading: Stiff by Mary Roach and Why Read? by Mark Edmundson

Crude classifications and false generalizations are the curse of
organized life.
~George Bernard Shaw

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