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Rights

Our discussion of rights and the library today had me riveted. I am really interested in the negotiation of rights, and I found our discussions stimulating and thought-provoking. I also found the speakers really interesting. One of the issues my school is currently dealing with involves the best use of space available, so I really enjoyed the discussion about the evolution of the space in Bird Library. In my work setting, teachers and librarians advocate for the creation of social space for students, but administrators seem more interested in controlling such space. Regardless of the creative solutions we have come up with for making our current social spaces more inviting (such as having gaming systems in the cafeteria, converting in-school suspension space into a quiet study lounge, creating a “senior foyer” with access to the adjacent Shakespeare garden), our ideas are shut down because administrators are concerning with policing the spaces. Our building has ironically become somewhat hostile to students.

I like to think that becoming a librarian will allow me to continue participating in what I think are critical arguments about privacy. I agree with comments made in class: students seem willing to compromise on privacy, but I’m not willing to give it up for them. In my SUPA ETS 142 courses, we discuss theories of Author/ity, as well as theories about the governance of human behavior. It is always eye-opening for students when they first encounter Foucault’s essay on Panopticism (from Discipline and Punish). They begin to realize that they are always under observation and that they modify behavior (even in subversive ways) under this gaze. When 17 cameras were installed in our building for “safety” purposes, students started getting in trouble for doing things like flipping the camera off. We organized a little disobedience. Sometimes students will show the camera a sign that says: “I’m not doing anything wrong.” (My teaching partner and I posted Shepard Fairey’s “Obey” image all over our rooms–on the television, the podium, the computer screen, the flag holder–our students got it after Foucault.)

Oh, what a world. What a world!

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