School Libraries with Certified School Librarians MATTER!
Someone recently said to me "Well once the students all have their own Chromebooks, they won't need to come to the library." I took a deep breath and I explained that one-to-one Chromebooks will cause even more of a demand for research and information literacy skills and a certified school librarian to teach them.
It seems our world today is quick to turn to Google and social media for information without question.
The library has always been a place to do and to learn HOW to perform research. The "old" school library was a room filled with books, a few magazines, newspapers, and perhaps some slideshows and VHS tapes. Students found information in print sources alone. Library lessons focused on teaching students to use reference books to access information and how to read for information. It is frightening that people still perceive libraries this way.
Today's school library is a hub of learning, a physical and virtual space.
Yes we still have print materials. Yes we still believe in reading books. Yes we are a quiet place to work.
Today's school library offers so much more. We provide access to appropriate digital resources and databases that have been evaluated and selected by a certified school librarian. We guide students to develop meaningful questions in their inquiry-based learning. We answer information and technology integration questions. We are champions for digital and information literacy. We co-teach with classroom teachers. We provide space for and encourage both collaboration and personalized learning experiences.
Which leads me back to the past year. As expected, many Americans turn to the media and Internet for information about the candidates. Facebook, Twitter and Google are used by many to learn about current events and issues. The campaigns knew this and used social media to further their own agendas. News channels and newspapers provided slanted stories.
Social media and news media are part of our society and they are not going away. Our world continues to experience and information explosion but not all information is good. In fact, misinformation and disinformation is abundant.
Many people don't care. They just look for the information they want to believe whether it is from a reliable source or not. It makes me think about how our educational system has conditioned some students to only look for the answers that we need to succeed on "the test".
Thankfully, educational leaders such as George Couros are shaking up learning and encouraging educators to embrace the process of inquiry-based learning, motivating students by allowing them to follow their own interests in curiosities. This cannot be done effectively without research and critical thinking skills.
Students love to "Google" the answers to everything. They choose the first result and voila they think they are done. And isn't that what students will do with their own personal Chromebook? Just Google what they think they need to know.
Students will need even more direction with their personal devices. Doing research is no longer coming to the library of old and having a limited number of sources to work with.
Information on the Internet is limitless. Students need instruction and guidance.
My role as the school librarian is to build and maintain reliable print and digital resources. My role is to be a learning facilitator. My role is to teach students to think critically, evaluate sources and to solve problems. My role is to make sure students are information literate.
I expect students to be in the library just as much, if not more, when they are one-to-one. The key to this will be to communicate with classroom and subject area teachers, learning their curriculum and offering to collaborate and co-teach.
I want my students to be citizens who don't take what they see and hear on the Internet or media at face value. I want them to intelligently question and challenge misinformation and disinformation. I want to give them the tools to make this country a better place for their own children someday. I want them to know how to find reliable information. I want them to be information literate in this digital age.