I’m a librarian at a large state school. I teach college students how to use the library & to evaluate information. Sometimes local high schools ask me for tours and workshops, and I willingly arrange these activities. I figure if the high school students live around here, they should know how to use our library.
So, yesterday, I arranged a whole morning of computer lab workshop and tours for a group of about 40 high school juniors and seniors from a local Catholic school. I gave the first workshop, one of my grad assistants gave the second, and I had two other grad assistants doing the actual physical tours.
When we do workshops that teach people how to search article databases, we usually use the topic of marijuana, among others. We show the students how to take that large topic, look at it in a scholarly way, and narrow the idea until you get from 3,000 articles to a more manageable, better defined group of articles.
I must admit, part of the reason I use this particular example is that it gets the students’ attention immediately. A second reason is that there are a lot of anti-drug commercials and programs out there, and I think it’d be nice if students were given the chance to investigate the issues on their own if they wanted to. And finally, its shows the students that they can take this pseudo-funny idea, and look at it in a mature, scholarly way.
Well, as it turns out, the HS I did the tour for yesterday didn’t appreciate this example. The teacher told one of my grad assistants (I’ve yet to hear this directly) that these, “are impressionable young children and they should not be exposed to information on marijuana!”
The information on marijuana she’s talking about included an article on the economics of the marijuana indrustry published in The Economist. Yes, there was short one by NORML, too. But there wasn’t anything like, “Gee kids, here’s how you get your weed! And here’s how you smoke it! And here’s how you keep it a secret from your school & your parents! And here’s why it’s good for you!”
Anyway, this is enough to make me never want to another high school tour. I will, of course, because I think they’re valuable for the students and good PR for the University. But jeesh!
Are these students supposed to be sheltered from everything until they’re plunked down in a dorm room in some Midwestern college or university and left on their own for the first time! I don’t get this at all.