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Page 5 of Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal v.22 n.2

Part of Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal

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"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 all people. 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 facilities. 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! 5

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