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Dear All

Greetings from a muggy Pretoria! It is at times like this that South Africans really long for a "white" Christmas! Anyway, i hope you are all taking a well-deserved break from educating and enriching your charges...

I am busy doing some background reading for a new media center that we are planning to build in 2010 (hopefully!) I am working through Designing a school library media center for the future by Rolf Erikson and Carolyn Markuson which is proving absolutely invaluable, and am now casting around for some ideas for Vision and Mission Statements, Program goals and activities etc. Does anyone have statements/guidelines along these lines that they would be willing to share? I have an absolute paranoia about re-inventing the wheel, so any help would be most welcome!

Thanks and take care, Andrew van Zyl

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Comment by John Crowley on January 12, 2009 at 9:17am
Here's my mission and vision statements.

Mission Statement
For Joel Barlow High School

Joel Barlow High School is committed to developing a community of learners in which all students acquire the knowledge, skills, and confidence to meet the challenges of a changing society.

Thus, we will provide conditions that foster:
• an efficient organization, flexible and responsive to student needs
• an atmosphere of inquiry, encouraging exploration
• a dynamic curriculum, grounded in the values and traditions of our culture
• a high expectation of student success balanced by learner ability
• a diversity of learning strategies and opportunities that promote the intellectual, personal and social development of each student


The vision of the future is of a library media center that would allow and promote access to information for all ability levels. This center would have as many systems as needed to allow for information to become “transparent,” that is, available without a great investment of time and energy. Ultimately, the systems will merge into a unified access program capable of allowing the user to develop a lifelong dialog with the human conversation.
In the past, emphasis has been placed on the LMC's role as a repository of books and other materials as well as that of supporting faculty and student use of nonprint media. This tended to combine two fairly dissimilar programs under the umbrella of “media center.” The microcomputer has caused an irrevocable change for these functions. It appears that hypertext, optical media, and artificial intelligence will only accelerate the pace of this change. Whereas research techniques (for example, use of the card catalog) or operation of equipment have been the main thrusts of most library media programs, the future integration of information and the subsequent decrease of the barriers to attainment of information will call for a significant change or paradigm shift.
Sometime soon, artificial intelligence systems will answer most students' questions in a human-like manner or interaction. Exciting as this is, it will be tempered by the realization that these answers have to be seen as the product of a particular question. The question is more important than the answer. Ask the question slightly differently, and you will get a very different or even contradictory answer. Thus, the new skill will become the ability to ask the informed and intelligent question of the electronic oracle.
If we are in an age of information, we have an obligation to teach our students to navigate through that information. A navigator is not judged simply by his ability to read a compass or chart but by his facility in asking the appropriate questions of his instruments based on his understanding of the weather and the ship's systems and location. Our students must increasingly become aware of their environment (scanning), their own thought systems (metacognition), and where they are going (analysis, evaluation, synthesis, and creation of information). These are the habits of the knowledge navigator.
A metaphysical change is taking place. Whereas once we thought of the library media program as centered in a place (library media center), we are moving into an era of electronic access no longer dependent upon being in a particular facility. Whatever is needed for the student to develop the ability to ask the right questions of the appropriate resources, regardless of location, is the focus of the new program. The challenge of the library media specialist is to act as a change agent in this process. The teacher librarian remains the professional who is uniquely prepared to meet this challenge.

I have written a book to help teacher librarians in your place:

Let me know if you need any more help.

A Learning Revolution Project

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