We've just finished up Family Weekend at my school, a marathon two days of parent-teacher conferences and other events. Since I'm not a traditional classroom teacher, I only have a handful of formal conferences. I spend most of my time chatting with parents and directing them towards the right teacher's classrooms.
Fairly often during the weekend (and this has been true of every Family Weekend I've been here for) a parent will wander into the library with their student, and ask some variation of, "Do you ever come in here?"
It is usually not an idle question.
And regardless of how often I actually see the student in the library, I never blow their cover. Because most often the question is not really about how often they come to the library--it's about how serious a student they are. Serious students go to the library. And if that's the perception the student wants their parents to have of them--if that's the perception the student wants to have of themselves--I am more than happy to go along.
Do I think it's true that serious students go to the library? Yes. And no. I see very serious students who rarely come to the physical library, and not-so-serious students who are in there all the time. But there is, undeniably, a larger cultural image around library use and being "smart."
My thinking about librarianship and library as place has been shifting in very significant ways over the past few months. But this weekend reminded me that ours is not the only image we need to consider as we talk about the changing role of librarianship.