Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Deckle and a Community

As the Information Specialist at a local high school, I am taking the first steps in a two year preparation leading to my high school's 50th anniversary celebration. I am focusing the celebration on information and history to show how our past has grounded as and will help lead us to the future. This is an exciting opportunity to lean heavily on my archives expertise to support the education of our students. At the moment, our efforts are focused on three very broad areas.
  • Search for a rumored buried time capsule and building of our own
  • Creation of a school archives by collecting existing materials and documenting unwritten history
  • Work culminating in re-creation of Winter carnival past events 
The creation of a school archives will show students the role that their school plays in their community.  In so doing, it will allow students to better understand their own role in the world and in history, while at the same time protecting our group knowledge of events for posterity. The final celebration itself will boost pride and self understanding. The celebration will become part of our recorded history while highlighting the value of that history.
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Next month we are making paper journals. I have been talking with the town's "Main Street" organization to place books in businesses in the area. We will encourage people to record their reminiscences of the school in the books. I have a college intern working to promote this effort. I am also coordinating my efforts with the help of the public library and historical society. In fact, the director of the library is the one who brought the journal idea to the table. She came in with an article about another community that made journals and said that she thought it would be a nice piece to our work. It really pays to collaborate!

  • " Collaboration helps us learn and gives us more ways to access information. It enables us to rely on the diversity of a group to accomplish tasks. It gives us multiple perspectives for more efficiently solving problems, which can make us more capable of follow through on a wide-range of tasks. With a network for collaboration, we are smarter. If we spread our network far enough, someone can help us answer the questions for which we have no answers ourselves. Collaboration can help us grow ideas and garner new tools for information seeking behaviors." [M. Mannon]

I like the handmade aspect of our planned journals. For one, while this first outreach effort is meant to involve adult community members, it is important for our students to be part of it at the outset. While later we will ask students to write their own reminiscences, we want them to see that the community has an attachment to our school, that we do not operate in a vacuum, and that community support is important for education...So to my deckle....(I just love that word!) We are building a deckle to create handmade paper. We will do this leading into school vacation and the holiday season. The artistic element and thoughts of community feel ripe for December. Paper will be bound into our journals and early next year, I will ask for student help to put the journals out beyond school walls.

And here we go...I look forward to sharing more as we continue on our way!

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