Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Invisibility: Variations on a Theme

"I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me." -Ralph Ellison

I frequently find inspiration in the blogs and updates of my online community. Occasionally a phrase or motif emerges, recurs, expands, evolves.

Clay Burell recently posted a series of "Culture Clips," including one on Stereotypes. He wondered:
"Am I the only person who has noticed how easy, perhaps even normal, it is for us to travel or live in other countries—and never see them? Or worse yet, to confirm in our travels our stereotypes of the places we visit, because . . . those stereotypes were what we looked for in the surface culture in the first place?"

Then in Twitter, Paul Allison mentioned attending a performance of Hair, a musical I loved in the '60s. One of the main characters, Claude, repeatedly declares his desire to become invisible, and in the final act of the play, his inability to take decisive action results in a symbolic death.

A school library media specialist is often the silent partner in learning. Traditionally, librarians have gathered and disbursed resources that enhance instruction, from books to films to websites. They have functioned as an invisible, indirect presence in the classroom.

In a world where walls are coming down and the parameters of learning are being redefined, invisibility may no longer be a choice. Rather than remain as unseen partners, is it time to for library professionals to assume a more prominent role as colleagues, collaborators, and co-teachers?

How would you describe the Visible Librarian?

"Invisible Man Sculpture, Harlem, NY" by Tony the Misfit

No comments: