Skip to main content

Is fear constraining our language and activities?

As we prepared for the "Fizz, Boom, Read" Maker-style national summer reading program, we received reactions that we found surprising and a bit disturbing. When advertising our weekly Middle School hands on program, Backyard Ballistics (limited to air and water propulsion - no, we decided gun powder was off limits), we advertised on our teen web page and in the local newspaper: "Making stuff that moves, propels, explodes, and causes other stuff to happen." Teens and their parents quickly signed up and we currently have a waiting list. Our first activity was Stomp Rockets and we played a bit with rocket design to see what shape would travel the furthest.

An older couple read the newspaper blurb and asked to speak to the director. She found out that, although they were completely clear that our intentions were benign, they felt others might think that we were promoting terrorism and bomb-making. Hm.

Over the winter our resident knitters did a program called "Yarn-
bombing" which involved wrapping trees, railings, edges, static objects with whimsical knitted pieces. The effect was eye-catching and prompted an interest in knitting as a hobby among a slightly younger demographic. While researching the concept, we found out that another library in the metro Boston area had to change the wording of their similar project to Yarn Storm . Hm.

This same library is not allowed to host any activity that involves projectiles of any kind - no matter how safety conscious. Hm.

Here at the Duxbury Free Library we allow children and teens to wield knitting needles. We have soldering programs at the library. We play cardboard tube wars. We plug things in and turn them on. We allow kids, teens and adults to carefully explore potentially dangerous equipment and materials with the understanding that, although we provide a safe environment and plenty of supervision, responsible behavior is fundamentally an individual choice. We reserve the right to deny flagrant safety abusers the privilege of using our equipment and attending our programs but rarely need to enforce this dictum.

We ask people to sign waivers and permission slips when it seems appropriate. We don't take careless chances with safety, but we also don't let the remote possibility of an accident keep us from providing opportunities for youth and adults to learn new skills and competencies.

My questions are these:
  • Are we abdicating control of both our language and our playful activities to a Master called FEAR? These are not issues of political correctness. No one's feelings are in jeopardy. No ethnic or religious group is insulted. 
  • Is it really off limits to use the words "explode" or "bomb" when we are referring to yarn and water balloons? Really?

Comments

  1. Easily Increase Your ClickBank Banner Traffic And Commissions

    Bannerizer made it easy for you to promote ClickBank products by banners, simply go to Bannerizer, and get the banner codes for your favorite ClickBank products or use the Universal ClickBank Banner Rotator Tool to promote all of the available ClickBank products.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting!

Popular posts from this blog

3D Printing Tips

Here are some go to tools to have when 3D printing: box cutter, needle nose pliers, wire snips

The wire snips are handy when you build any kind of supports or rafts onto your project and you need to carefully cut them off. The needle nose pliers I usually use to remove gunk from the tip of the extruder and the boxcutter was for getting off those 3D printed jobs that have stuck themselves to the non heated plate.

My newest tool: painter's tape. Sometimes the simplest things can make life easier. As I was struggling with my box cutter to pry a 3D creation from our Cube 2 non heated plate, a man went by our table at the Cape Cod Mini Maker Faire and said, "Oh just cover the plate with painter's tape". EUREKA! I still have to cover the masking tape with our special glue before printing but now when I try to pull off the creation I just pull at a tape strip and it comes off easily. No more soaking the plate for 10 minutes in hot water or prying it off with a knife (or in th…

Makey Makey Floor Piano

If you are looking for a short, low cost project to do with your Makey Makeys, this one is sure to be a big hit. It's a great small group project as well as an eye catching interactive display in some noisy area of the library (as long as you can keep library staff sane). This was made as part of our Tinkering Tuesdays lab. We had low tech cardboard construction, 3D printing, and the Makey floor piano going on simultaneously. It took us about 1.5 hours with 3 teens helping.

Materials List:
Aluminum Tape $12
Duct Tape (any color) $2
Makey Makey $50
CAT cable (there's one lying around your library trust me) or just use regular wire
Wire strippers
12 x 12 x 1.5 in puzzle piece exercise mat $12
white 6 x 8 tarp (but could be smaller) $12
Computer with internet running Scratch

This video shows a demonstration with step by step picture instructions and a more detailed video explanation. I got the idea from two sites that I used for consult: Ed Tech Junkies & Make It At Your Li…

Podcast on Pokemon Go

Here is our podcast on the subject starring myself, Beth (circulation/tech services) and Suzanne (reference/YA) As we keep playing, we start to learn the finer details behind the Pokemon Go phenomenon and explain it for non-users or the curious. On a side note: I am now level 19 :)