This week eSchoolNews features a piece on the 5 key roles of the school librarian in the 21st century. The article found at http://www.eschoolnews.com/2012/08/02/five-key-roles-for-21st-century-school-librarians/cites that curation, citizenship/compassion, creation, connections, and common core comprise the five roles of the librarian. So what are your thoughts as a librarian in the 21st century or regarding the roles that your school librarian has taken on in this digital age?
It's definitely a strange time as the value of libraries and librarians is debated by communities and decided by levies. The local school district is losing school media specialists due to lay-offs and consolidations, so I expect|hope to see better coordination with local public libraries for demonstration of online skills.
Interestingly, I am joining a team this year that is piloting a "Digital Literacy Co-teacher." model. We had a number of teacher-librarians in our district retire, and are replaced with this position. Our role is to support and collaborate with staff to use print and digital resources and follow the inquiry process when integrating resources in to the curriculum. How the traditional library elements will be incorporated is still being worked out. I'm thinking of blogging on this and welcoming ideas, suggestions, and interest.
This applies more to high schools and universities, but one big concrete difference in the role of librarians with the advent of technology is explaining how to find and use online literature and resources. A lot of reference material is available online now, and knowing how to use those resources is really important. Of course, this needs to be supplemented with conversations about plagiarism -- online information is more accessible, but also lends itself more easily to incorrect and dishonest usage.
The role of the school librarian is changing as school libraries change to meet the needs of 21st century learners. eSchool News published an article the end of October titled: "School libraries changing with move to digital resources: Traditional concepts make way for open educational resources, online research."
With libraries relying more on digital materials and digital learning environments, the definition of librarian or school media specialist has to change to keep pace with the move away from printed media.
Having worked in a school library as an assistant, I have seen this shift first-hand. Computers have replaced the card catalog and much of the shelf space. However, I still think books have a place in the library. Economically, it's still cheaper (in most cases) to hold a book to read as opposed to an e-reader with downloaded text. Yet, that too may soon change if school budgets can survive the financial burden of technology.
What changes do you foresee in the use of libraries and the role of librarians in 21st century schools?
Some school divisions are considering removing the position of school librarian in order to save funds for other educational needs such as hiring more classroom teachers. Tech & Learning recently published an article that explains why librarians are still necessary. The individuals who conducted the study for this report share ideas for the role of the school librarian and add specific ways librarians can expand their importance in a school environment. Check out Why We Still Need Librarians | Tech Learning.
Do you think this report substantiates the need for school librarians in the 21st century?
My friend who was a librarian first at the Middle School and then at two elementary schools was the person who could help any of the teachers with finding books, other materials, and also with computers. Yes, I agreed with the report "Why We Still Need Librarians" in Tech Learning.
Thanks, Christine, for your comments. After I retired, I volunteered at a local middle school library and enjoyed the opportunity to work with many different students helping them with various tasks assigned by their teachers. It was a more informal setting and gave me a chance to share knowledge with them without being responsible for grading their work. I strongly agree that librarians serve a very important role in the education of all students.
Participated in ISTE conversation on ConnectedED yesterday - I am cautiously optimistic that tide will turn and that school districts will understand the value of librarians - but there is much movement in the profession to forget good cataloging, record-keeping, index skills, archiving, collection maintenance -and no real effort to teach students how libraries "work." It is very scary to see the profession in a tailspin, trying to define our future. There is also very little appreciation for "institutional knowledge" and value of educators/librarians with years of experience. We also "cost" too much in terms of salary. I feel the heat already - and like other graying cohorts - looking for a way to retire early and, hopefully, find a way to parlay skills into a commercial enterprise like Pursue Posterity - Home
I would hope people will come to their sense (stop thinking of cents) and see the importance a librarian, media specialist, technology specialist/coaches play in schools and especially for 21st century learning. The school district I worked in here in Florida eliminated the positions this past year. I have recently read several good articles in support of the librarian and the many ways they can help the classroom teacher with instruction. It is true that the 'gray' hairs are being made to leave the profession...some by choice, others by no choice of their own. Listed below are just a couple of recent posts in the Community about this topic.