Jennifer Rose Recht
None of these articles is relevant to intrinsic motivation:
Dunnewind, S. (2006). Dos and don’ts for getting kids to read. Teacher Librarian, 34(1), 28–29.
Abstract: A reprint of an article that appeared in the Seattle Times, July 1, 2006, is provided. It provides parents with advice on encouraging their children to read.
Mcpherson, K. (2007). Harry Potter awet of motivation. Teacher Librarian, 34(4), 71–73.
Abstract: The writer examines some of the key research on reading motivation and suggests instructional approaches aimed at fostering strong reading motivation in students.
Vent, C. T., and Ray, J. A. (2007). There is more to reading than fiction! Enticing elementary students to read nonfiction books. Teacher Librarian, 34(4), 42–44.
Abstract: The writers report on an action research project that aimed to increase fourth-grade students’ interest in reading nonfiction. The project implemented four strategies—nonfiction book displays, book talks, book pairings, and book passes. All these strategies proved to be successful in enticing the students in Grade 4 to read nonfiction.
So why aren’t these articles relevant? First, they are reminiscent of the thread’s discussion of “read” posters. How to get kids to read. How to get kids to read better things. How to get adults to read. How to get readers to read more things about reading more. Teach your dog to read.
Second, they have little to do with intrinsic motivation. Motivating people to read has nothing to do with what those people’s motivations are, motivations that could shape productive library membership. Motivating people to read is about motivating people to do what the library thinks they should do, wants them to do, or needs them to do.
Librarianship, as a profession, needs to stop fetishizing books. Sure, they look really nice lined up all pretty on the shelf, and half of us getting into the profession probably did so because we love books, we grew up reading and went to library story time, and we love the smell of books (at least until we start to sneeze). Perhaps we need a new name; perhaps we should all put “information professional” on our business cards because we are no longer simply caretakers of books. We are caretakers of information. And when we focus all our energy on the fraction of information that is contained in books, it’s as if the whole richness of programming to be found in a library can be ignored or reduced to the question of whether, on the way out, someone checked out a book.
The knowledge the person gained at whatever activity he or she participated in does not count because it didn’t come from something with a barcode on it.
Intrinsic motivation: Let’s find what people really want and then put barcodes on that.
Mardis, M. A., and Perrault, A. M. (2008). A whole new library: Six “senses” you can use to make sense of new standards and guidelines. Teacher Librarian, 35(4), 34–38.
I may have included this article just because the abstract actually mentioned intrinsic motivation, and I was really excited. However, I think the idea of education driven by students’ intrinsic motivations, and not by correct answers on multiple-choice, standardized tests, is analogous to the Read problem. Reducing the success of the library to something easily quantifiable, like circulation statistics, tells us nothing about the real mission of the library. Is the community learning? Is the community creating knowledge? We don’t know, but circulation is up 10% from last year.