Yesterday there was a rally at City Hall in the name of NYC Libraries Day. The budget of the city’s public libraries are once again on the table to be slashed. Many activists turned out to voice their displeasure with the proposed budget cuts to these vital institutions.
Many of us, including 4th graders, could not attend the rally, and took to twitter instead.
I asked students if they knew what Twitter was, and if they knew why people use Twitter. Roughly half of the class of 4th graders had heard of it, but most thought it was used primarily by celebrities and people who need to “talk to fans”. We talked about the fact that both LREI as an institution and the LREI libraries have twitter feeds, and while these feeds may be used to talk with our fans, they are also used as sources of information dissemination and a place where people and places can make political statements.
Using the hashtag #savelibraries, the 4th graders composed tweets to show why they think libraries are important. Before the writing began they were made aware of the 125 character limit (to account for the hashtag), as well as the fact that positivity may be more effective than simply bashing politicians. Some of their tweets read as follows:
People need libraries for quiet places to read or to do homework. People need computer access. #savelibraries
Kids need safe places to focus. #savelibraries
Imagine if you couldn’t afford to buy books, & the only other way to read was a library and then there were none. Imagine. #savelibraries
Imagine if we didn’t have libraries. We wouldn’t be able to read books. #imagine #savelibraries
Some students even came up with matching campaigns. The “imagine” campaign, as well as figuring out that they could call themselves SFL (Students For Libraries). This was a very empowering exercise that demonstrated that you can have a voice and be part of a cultural conversation regardless of age.
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