Literacy in the Library
Negotiating the Spaces Between Order and Desire
A critical ethnographic account of how three school libraries serving ethnically and socioeconomically diverse student populations are implicated in processes of social and cultural reproduction, vis-à-vis their practices of text classification, librarianship, and the ways of reading they promote.
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This critical ethnography of school libraries contributes to the study of the politics of literacy at the elementary school level as well as provides an interesting case study of border crossing. The book interrogates two accounts of social reproduction and proposes a third. Students at working-poor Chavez Elementary resisted attempts to get them hooked on reading fiction, but while many were socialized to the labor of a piecework economy, many also found ways to use texts as they chose. At professional-managerial Crest Hills, students managed their discourse practices in ways that reproduced those of their office workplace, but their success was achieved at the expense of great anxiety about the future. At working-class Roosevelt, the librarians attended to the rhetoric of librarianship, but students reassembled knowledge on their own terms. A second project theorizes the school library as a geopolitical space, and critiques children's fiction and the social order that its texts help construct through a semiotic analysis of text classification within school libraries. An investigation of the origins of that system and of the ways of reading that it promotes—with particular attention to the history of the popular novel—describes the gender- and class-based politics of leisure reading.
- Table of Contents
Books that are True; Stories that are Made Up: School Libraries and the Politics of Reading
Resistance: Chavez Elementary
Congruence: Crest Hills Elementary
Liminality: Roosevelt Elementary
Toward a Geopolitics of School Libraries
This work...contributes to the studies of the effects of cultural and geographic space concepts upon the school library. It will appeal to the theorists in literacy studies and possibly to the doctoral student searching the literature in this field. It...is recommended for libraries with strong literacy curriculms and library science collections.
Dressman provided a thought-provoking account of three elementary school libraries, their librarians and children's responses to the literacy programs in each.