March 3, 2021

Quiet: Speaking Out on Introversion | Links of the week


There’s been an interesting convergence on the Web of late, thanks to a handful of notable posts.

In considering the issues raised­—providing spaces for quiet contemplation and dealing with introverted kids—it’s impossible to step outside the prism of our personal natures and where we ourselves fall on that continuum of outgoing/shy.

Meta conundrum notwithstanding, the potential impact on how we engage kids, library users, and each other demands further discussion in this area.

Image by eflon

And we certainly have some provocative talking points:

Bring back shushing librarians  The library as quiet space is much more than a stereotype, according to Laura Miller of Salon, but a precious commodity worth preserving. The writer took a second look at the recent Pew study “Library Services in the Digital Age” to reveal that patrons value quiet study spaces and— her main point being—almost as much as they value Internet access.

Introverted Kids Need to Learn to Speak Up at School  Students are expected to speak up and will be graded for it, at least in Jessica Lahey’s class. A middle school English teacher and self-proclaimed extrovert, Lahey’s February 7 essay in the Atlantic elicited strong reaction, particularly from the library community. (But don’t skip the comments here, many by other educators.)

In one blog post, “Doing disservice to introversion” librarian Kelly Jensen takes Lahey to task for equating social anxiety with introversion, for starters. SLJ blogger Liz Burns also weighs in and includes a list of links. Notable among them: “In the Classroom: A Few Classroom Teaching Suggestions from an Introverted Teacher” Here educator and blogger Monica Edinger provides practical tips for accommodating the styles of all sorts of students based on her experience as a “veteran introverted teacher.”

A touchstone on the topic throughout, of course, has been Susan Cain’s 2012 book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Crown).

Her February 2012 Ted Talk:

Kathy Ishizuka About Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka (, @kishizuka on Twitter) is Executive Editor of School Library Journal.


  1. Thanks so much for mentioning my post, but one correction — I’m a fourth grade teacher not a librarian (though many think I am as I am so known in this world:)

  2. My apologies, Monica. Correction made.