This month, we’d like to focus on something other than the theme for this March/April issue of Internet@Schools. That’s because Pipeline columnist Stephen Abram sent us a remarkable piece as his contribution to the issue. While our overall focus is always on school libraries, technology, and education, we are well aware of the fact that you in the librarian profession, and people in education as a whole, are focused on using library, technology, and educational resources to effect change, to “make a difference.” It’s emblematic of you and your mission.
Stephen has stepped a little outside the box this month in picking up on and recounting a wonderful example of that focus. In his community in Canada, a neighborhood book club he and his wife belong to recently undertook to sponsor a refugee family from Syria, one of many that are currently fleeing war and violence there and scattering to countries around the world, as is so evident in the news today. Sounds straightforward, on the surface of it—“We needed to raise $40,000 to cover the costs in Toronto for one year, find housing, and household goods, and much more. We’ve all been through our required police checks and taken the required church or government sponsored refugee training.” But, he notes, “This was the easy part.” There remains the “tough stuff … ensuring the success of ‘our’ family while respecting their dignity, culture, and needs. It takes a village to raise a child. And that global village is what we’re joining.”
The information-seeking, change-making librarian in Stephen, and in many of his group who are sponsoring this family, has surfaced during this undertaking. He writes, “There are library stories here. A lot of them. And that is the point of this column. … We’re doing that librarian thing! It’s just a simple mind-mapping exercise.” Librarian- and educator-like, driven to make a difference, they are reaching out, gathering resources in advance of the family’s arrival, so they can provide help and support in the myriad ways that will be needed.
You can read, learn more, and be inspired by their efforts in his column, in subsections such as Library Stories and Things You Can Do as a Librarian. Check out The Pipeline: Serving Special Populations and Making a Difference: Refugees.
David Hoffman , editor