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?