Friday, October 21, 2022

BCTLA Keynote David A Robertson

The auditorium at New Westminster Secondary School is full to capacity with teacher-librarians and others from across British Columbia and beyond. The theme of the conference is Leading Forward. I can't help think immediately of the connection between this idea and our national standards for school library learning commons, Leading Learning. I am biased of course, but to me there is no doubt that innovations in education often emerge from the library learning commons. 

The audience is so enthused to welcome BCTLA conference keynote speaker David A. Robertson. David's work is very familiar to this group. His many award-winning books, including When We Were Alone and The Barren Grounds, have provided windows of insight for readers young and old. David helps us to learn the truth, which is the first step on the path to reconciliation. 

David is starting by talking about representation, or more specifically lack of representation in books of the not-very-distant past, or negative stereotyping in the guise of representation. This is something that we as teachers and teacher-librarians of a certain age should be familiar with. I remember trying to expose my middle school students to Indigenous culture in the early 1990s, and could find precious little. We are so very fortunate now that so many Indigenous authors like David Robertson and Ivan Coyote, who will be speaking later today, are being published. 

I will stop now, because I really, really want to listen more carefully to what David has to say. It is clear that everyone in this room is so very engaged in learning from him – part of that open and honest conversation that ALL Canadians should be having about the truth, on our journey to reconciliation. 

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