In spite of all the wonderful surveys I still don't see public much support for school libraries or teacher librarians at the ministry of education level. I worry that as a profession we are not attracting enough bright and enthusiastic young teachers. I am looking forward to retirement in a few years and wonder who will step into my shoes. The library is such an exciting place to be, leading edge technology and the ability to influence so many people.
Librarians that cling to a "book only" or "look at the newest tool" mentality without keeping their students FIRST and FOREMOST are most worrisome to me. Both sides need to stop protecting their main focus and give and take to benefit students.
How many of us are really pushing to forge the new image of libraries? I keep thinking that we are ALL moving to serve our patrons in ways that move beyond the walls of the library, in ways that work collaboratively with others and in ways that really move learning and achievement to high levels. But...I'm not so sure.
I try not to worry too much --- but... if there is one thing ...
Hit & miss – students may leave here (my school) without engaging in a valuable higher-level research activity – if you have certain teachers, you may not get in here. While there are many other teachers who collaborate willingly and frequently, I know we still miss some students.
I know you cannot reach 100% collaboration, but the "island teachers" still get me sometimes.
Ignorance and confidence...I think more and more people have a sense of confidence that they can find any piece of information they need because we have so much access to information. However, access does not equal reliability...access does not equal quality...access does not equal relevance ...access does not equal truthfulness. What keeps me up at night is the responsibility I feel to educate students, teachers, and parents on evaluating information and understanding the dangers, perils, and wealth of information that lie on the Internet.
On the other side of the big pond, teacher librarians grapple with similar concerns/issues. What worries me about today's learners? Not a lot... I could be very worried but there has always been challenges and so I take a philosophical view. Observing trends and working with ideas that match students' learning preferences will help us to make a difference but dies it mean constantly being on the 'edge'. Exciting as this is, the environment for being on the edge is keeping us tied to similar work habits, or social habits of many of our students (I have both secondary/high and upper primary/elementary that have these habits). It is not unusual to get a message from a student at midnight - scary, perhaps! or a teacher at 10pm.... 24/7 teacher librarian - can we sustain this?
What keeps me awake at 3:00 AM is thinking about how new developments in technology are affecting and changing our library teacher roles. I work in a small district that is pushing technology in a big way. Our teacher librarians are now expected to be IT's as well. My survival instinct is constantly pushing me to keep up with new developments in technology so that I and my library colleagues will have jobs in the future. It's a lot of pressure and there are not enough hours in the day to learn about all this stuff, run a library program and have a life as well.
Incidentally, I went to a conference last week (school vacation week) on emerging technologies and their use in the classroom. Alan November was the keynote speaker. He was very insightful and inspiring. I asked him after his presentation what his view of school libraries was. He said that he has an article coming out in the next issue of SLJ about that very subject. He told me that he thought it is quite possibly the most important article he has written to date. So keep you eyes open for it.
Developing students who can make connections and acquire deep knowledge in a snippet world. I love all the fun and exciting web 2.0 toys and the great 2.0 tools, but worry about the superficial nature of much of what students encounter on the web. It's so easy to find an answer, a "good enough" answer to a question. Most of the time it works just fine to locate directions to a movie theater, find out about a product, or connect with friends. It's hard to convince students that "good enough" isn't always good, and real knowledge acquisition still takes effort and time. I worry that I'm not doing a good enough job developing students who want to make connections and acquire deep knowledge.
Mansfield University Scholarship Program – Begin in January 2012
In an ongoing effort to recruit a new generation of school library leaders, Mansfield University recently received a fifth Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS) grant to fund scholarships for its totally online School Library & Information Technologies Master of Education degree program with school library certification. If you know of an educator or non-certified librarian seeking school library certification, please pass along the news that we are still accepting applications for the spring 2012 semester.
The Master of Education program, ideally suited for working educators
with no time to drive to a university, offers a convenient and effective path to school library certification. For detailed information and contacts please refer to the Fulfilling the Promise homepage, at http://libweb.mansfield.edu/promise/, or contact Cynthia Keller, Department Chair firstname.lastname@example.org