I love the book Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. Depending on which way you look, the image can either be seen as a duck or a rabbit. Meanwhile, both narrators argue that their perspective is right. They see things only from their side of the issue, and each is convinced their side is the only way to see it. They are looking at it through the lens of their backgrounds, their experiences, and their ideas.
When I teach our future school librarians, I talk to them about developing and looking at things through their library lens. They find as they go through their coursework that they gain new perspectives on issues. As we study a topic, we gain a deeper understanding about it. We gain a new perspective. Many of my students end up learning that being a librarian wasn't what they thought it was from the viewpoint of their classrooms. Sometimes that is because what they see happening in the library isn't ideal, and sometime it's because they haven't noticed all that really is happening in the library.
For example, a librarian once was meeting the new teachers in their school. One of the teachers was introduced as someone considering going back to school to be a school librarian. The librarian was so excited to think there might be someone in their school who would completely understand what it is they do. After a while, the librarian realized she hadn't heard anything more about this teacher and her studies, so she decided to ask. The teacher replied, "Oh no! I've changed my mind. I don't want to be a school librarian. I've seen how hard you work. Your predecessor didn't work that hard, so I thought I could do her job. But, I don't want to do your job!" Now, whether the previous librarian had really been a slacker is unknown, but what is we do know is that the perception she gave was that she had an easy job. The new librarian had done a better job of making sure the teachers and administrators knew what she was doing, why it was important, and how hard it was to do it! It comes down to making sure you take time to look at issues through those different lenses. You'll gain information that can help you develop a more informed opinion of the issue at hand.
Now, don't get me wrong. As a school librarian and now school library educator, I have strong opinions, ideas, and thoughts on what school libraries should be all about. I'm not afraid to share them, and I'm not afraid to speak up when I see something that I think is wrong happening. But, I also try to think back to Duck! Rabbit! and gain some understanding of where the other person is coming from. It doesn't mean I have to agree with their side, but rather I'm taking some time to try and understand them, and the lenses they're using.
The idea of perspectives helped me as I looked for authors to write in this issue. I decided I wanted to look at the world of children's literature from the perspective of the authors. Luckily a few of them were able to fit us into their busy writing schedules. Hopefully their articles will give us some new things to ponder in the world of children's and young adult literature.