"A Reading Student, A Thinking Student"
"A Thinking People, A Free People"
JAMES R. O'ROURKE
LIBRARIAN, KENTUCKY STATE COLLEGE
Teachers in the schools and colleges have a
great responsibility to the young minds we have
dedicated our lives to teach, especially during
these critical times. Are we sabotaging these
minds with neglect and rationalizations? The
administrator, teacher or librarian who is not
using every available means to equip his students
for the challenges that lie ahead is as much a
demagogue as the legislator and/or politician
who fights equal educational opportunities for
Textbook and lecture educated students are
seldom thinking students. Education means
awakening and the characteristics of the edu-
cated individual are inquisitiveness, independ-
ence, intellectual courage and initiative. The
textbook and lecture educated student seldom
possesses these qualifications. He finds it ex-
tremely difficult to keep up in college courses.
When the college subjects him to the same type
education, he has still greater difficulty in the
graduate school where he is likely to be placed
on his own.
By textbook and lecture educated I mean
students who read only what is written in the
textbook about a thing rather than reading the
thing itself, e. g., the student reads about
various authors but seldom, if ever, reads and
analyzes the works of the author. The lecture
educated student usually takes what the lecturer
gives him without making a contribution him-
self, and he is expected to give it back just as
it was given. Rarely does the student form
any ideas and opinions of his own.
Because of the increased enrollment in the
colleges and other demands of society after
college years, students must be trained to sift,
locate and interpret information when it is
needed. "The library functioning as an intel-
lectual laboratory and functioning as a method
in education has the chief power by the very
nature of newer methods of education."
If "Kentucky's Greatest Resource Is Her
People," and if "an informed people are a
democratic people," and I might add a thinking
people, then we who man "Arsenals of a Demo-
cratic Culture" (libraries and classrooms) have
a responsibility never before placed on dis-
seminators of knowledge and ideas.
Herman W. Liebert, in his article, Books-
Swords or Dreams, Library Journal, November 1,
1950, says, "Many jobs are dangerous because
CLIMB ON THE BAND WAGON!
they involve the handling of perilous materials
. .. with which a single misstep may mean a
local disaster. But none of these is so powerful,
so full of good, if handled correctly, so full of
destruction if handled carelessly as the com-
modity that librarians handle every day. That
commodity is ideas. The student who remains
in school from 12 to 16 years without being
exposed to the thoughts and ideas of the great
writers appears to have about 'as much inspira-
tion as a plate of muffins.' "
The increasing responsibility is on the faculty
of each educational institution. The efforts of
the librarian and the teaching faculty must be
more closely coordinated for it has become clear
that their respective responsibilities do not
merely overlap, but have merged.
In many of the combination elementary and
high schools the library collection consists only
of books for the high school student. Reading
a variety of books should begin in the elementary
grades in order that the reading habit might be
developed. The Library Extension Division, Old
Capitol Building, Frankfort, will send fifty books
to your school to be returned. When these are
returned you may borrow another fifty copies,
and for only the cost of mailing.
One enterprising teacher told me how she
was able to give her students the advantage of
a number of books. She had each member of the
class to purchase one 25-, 35-, or 50-cent copy
of a Bantam, Pocketbook or Signet. Some pur-
chased Modern Library titles. As a student
finished a title it was exchanged for the title
owned by one of his classmates. During that
term several students read twentyfive titles.
More school principals and superintendents are
becoming library conscious and as fast as possible
are doing something about providing library
The faculty and library staff of Kentucky
State College is cognizant of the needs of its
students who plan to teach especially. We are
attempting to teach effectively the use of books
and other library materials since these students
will be expected to assist in developing the use
of a variety of reading materials as integral
parts of the educational method of the schools
of the Commonwealth because we realize that
"a reading student is a thinking student," and
"a thinking people are free people."
PAY YOUR K. N. E. A. MEMBERSHIP FEE Now!