So there we were…with the majority of our Reference Services and Information Literacy class behind us, and with two major projects ahead, one of them a Library Pathfinder. A pathfinder is essentially a topic guide that contains carefully chosen resources that provide a launching point for research. While I looked forward to the assignment itself, I did not look forward to picking a topic for the assignment. I am one of “those” types that tackles an existing research problem with tenacity, but is quite at a loss when asked to manufacture my own problem to solve. For the first week that I considered the assignment, I thought I would probably write a pathfinder for people researching the work of The Lost Generation authors. I had just finished reading The Paris Wife and A Moveable Feast, so I was feeling a little in love with aimlessness, Paris, and the idea of kicking around on the weekends with people like the Fitzgeralds. The idea seemed good enough, but not great–and certainly not original.
At the same time, I was looking for resources to use with my fourth grader to deepen his understanding of Afghanistan–a country his father has been deployed to a few times and to which he expects to return. I am embarrassed at the time it took me to realize that what I was doing was exactly what I needed for my assignment. My “Eureka!” moment was beautiful–I had found something that touched me as a library student, a military wife, and a mom. This project may help highlight for you one of the ways in which librarians are helpful, too. It is, after all, only through wading through and assessing a whole bunch of not-as-useful or out-of-date resources, that I chose the resources included. My criteria for rating the usefulness of resources was fairly simple, I looked for resources that focused on Afghan culture that were not overtly political or military in nature. While you will find links to both Afghan and U.S. government web sites in the pathfinder, I attempted to provide resources that were appropriate to use with children regardless of your household’s political leanings or opinions about the war. I am happy to share this project with you at the link below.