The strongest local to global implication of what we discussed today (as of today anyway – I anticipate my answer may change with further reflection) is that engaging with communities outside of one’s own can foster a genuine willingness to be open to the differences and similaries in cultures not our own. I think sometimes that its difficult for students to understand their own culture as just that – “culture.” As Sobania pointed out, when you are experiencing life in a different culture, you can’t help but to know your own. So positioning students to think about their own culture before engaging in others is important but then giving them the experience of engaging with others in the “different” culture is equally important.
This implication is related to a conversation that Rob and I had today as we walked through Harlem. Rob wondered why he hadn’t yet brought students to NYC for tours of libraries. He and I began discussing how valuable it would be for our students to experience what the Shomburg Library in Harlem has to offer, as well as the NYC Public Library and potentially the library at Columbia University. As I walked back to the loft this afternoon, I walked past the Museum of Childhood (I think that’s correct but may not be) and noticed that they have a library as well. Each of these institutions likely have a variety of approaches to meeting the information needs of their communities. If we choose a specific theme that requires students to look at library services through a particular lens, we may be able to offer a very powerful study away project.