Middle School Monday – What’s Not to Love?
I love my job – I mean really love my job. I (to most people’s constant perplexity) find middle school age students delightful. And weird. Delightfully weird. I get to share my love of reading and help both students and staff members find great things to read that speak to them where they are. I get to work with teachers on projects, suggest useful resources, and generally help everyone in my building find the resources and information they need. It’s really a blessing. I feel like it’s what I was made for. That said, there are a few (a very few) parts of my job that I don’t really love. The main one is explaining Fair Use exemptions to Copyright law.
Many of my colleagues and students are good about not confusing the message with the messenger, but I’ve been referred to as the ‘copyright police’ (or worse) on many occasions. And I understand it coming from students – I really do. If I’m the first person to explain to them that they can only use a small portion of a copyrighted work in their own project without first getting permission, it can be kind of a shock. Especially after years of turning in copy & pasted work without consequence. I try to make it fun for them, or at least easy. The staff members can be another issue entirely. Most of them are completely understanding that I’m only doing my job when I remind them of Fair Use limitations. Most.
Anyway, if you are looking for some resources to help explain Fair Use and copyright, here are a few that I find really helpful:
- Teaching Copyright – This link goes directly to their Fair Use FAQ page. The main focus of the web site is the provision of 5 60 minute lesson plans teaching copyright concepts which are (I believe) aimed at high school students.
- Education World’s 5 part series for school administrators called The Educator’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use. They also offer several great guides to citing electronic information sources in the most commonly used formats.
- Edutopia’s Five Minute Film Festival page on Copyright and Fair Use for Educators offers linksto a wealth of resources, including a number of really useful videos.
- The Library of Congress offers a useful guide to primary sources and copyright in its Q&A on Copyright and Fair Use.
For those of you in a public library setting, how do things differ for you? Do you often run into these issues? How do you handle them? Speak up and share your ideas in the comments.
Filed under: Middle School Monday
About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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