Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
By Lisa O
A while ago one of my library heroes - Joyce Valenza, revised her Manifesto for 21st century school librarians. I shared a link to that manifesto with New Zealand school librarians along with a short annotation. I think it is both an inspirational and aspirational document for us. I received a lot of positive feedback from school librarians around the country who were inspired by reading Joyce’s words. I thought I’d write a few posts based on Joyce’s excellent piece.
This is the final section of the manifesto but where I choose to start. The future of school libraries looks exiting and invigorating, and very different than the past. Ubiquitous ultra-fast broadband is delivered wirelessly into our schools and libraries. E-books and other digital content stream into our libraries. We know that print publishing is changing and we don’t know where that will eventually lead, but we know that soon the proportion of print books in our collections will be smaller than it is today.
Joyce writes that the future of school libraries is a moving target. But also, as she told us at SLANZA last year: “there has never been a more exciting time to be a librarian”! So while we all work to shape the future of school libraries, working with our colleagues in education and the wider libraries sector, there are some things from the past that we will hold on to and carry forward with us for the benefit of the learners we serve.
School libraries provide equitable access to resources that support the curriculum and that grow readers. Ensuring that we continue to provide ready access to all our students, physically and digitally, to quality resources in our libraries and through our online presence is core business that we take into the future.
Carefully selecting, organising and annotating resources tailored to support the educational and reading needs of our community goes with us into the future – even though the formats may change and change again. With so many new tools and apps to help us to both curate and distribute this work, we can get much more mileage from our work in this area. We can maximise the utility of our work by sharing our curation work freely with our colleagues.
While the resources are growing in number and format we will continue to lead students and collaborate with teachers through guided inquiry as we support students learning.
Getting to know our students then getting a great book (e-book, graphic novel) into their hands that they enjoy so they then come back for more has not changed. The types of containers for stories and information have increased; we’ve got novels and non-fiction on paper and magazines, and graphic novels. We have e-books and blogs and e-zines. We’ve got articles on databases and wikis and websites. Formats change.
Creating readers, encouraging the joy of reading hasn’t changed a bit. We have to be on top of our game so we can continue be a trusted source for our students in this brave new world.
As a group, we librarians have always been particularly good at sharing our learning and work with our colleagues to grow our own skills and develop the tools for our practice. Again, the function is the same but we have so very many tools at our disposal for both consuming and sharing our learning with our professional colleagues. Twitter, online communities, blogs, e-pin-boards don’t replace our face to face learning and sharing networks but expand our opportunities for continuous personal, professional development.
So looking to the future, let’s hold on to the important elements of our practice even as we leave behind some tasks and practices that no longer add significant value to students’ learning and literacy achievements.
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