talking to strangers

The pink “i read banned books” pin that I have on my jacket has started lots of interesting conversations with people I don’t know in lineups, on the bus and in other public places.

On the weekend, when I was in line for the ATM, a woman asked me about my button.  She told me she is a new teacher, who has just been hired by the Vancouver School Board.  When she was a student at UBC she learned about the Surrey School Board challenges to kids books that showed families with queer parents.  Books like One Dad Two Dads Brown Dads Blue Dads by Johnny Valentine and Asha’s Mums by Rosamund Elwin and Michel Paulse were challenged.

We talked about how there have been drastic cuts for resources for teacher-librarians and that it’s a lot for a new teacher to learn about without the support of a librarian.  She talked about some of the ideas she had for including material that represents a diversity of families.  In a recent issue of Feliciter, past president of the Canadian Library Association and library school prof, Alvin Schrader describes “the perilous situation of school libraries, which is both a literacy and an intellectual freedom issue”.  I think that the current provincial governments cuts to funds for support staff, including teacher-librarians, while crowing about their commitment to literacy is laughable.  The BC Coalition for School Libraries has some good resources on their website, including criteria to determine if a child has access to a good school library.

I wonder what kinds of conversations this button my button will spark next.


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