So this week I want to talk about a presentation that I recently gave to the members of the Shanghai Library Association. It focused on an exciting approach to library/technology integration, which promises to keep student learning current, relevant and engaging. The school libraries of today should not be, in my opinion, only spaces where students can check out books, study, or find a quiet place to read. The days of the stereotypical librarian sitting behind the desk muttering, “SHHHH!”, while shelving and re-shelving books are over. The librarians of today need to be media studies specialists, who are passionate about guiding students in the use of technology, and assisting them in all kinds of multi-media and research based projects.
Over the past few months I’ve had many intriguing conversations with Margie, Greg and Jeff Stubbs about how we can infuse some new life and energy into our Upper School library space, and how we can find ways to get our students clamoring to be in there. The presentation that I ended up putting together was borne out of these discussions, and essentially the ideas that I shared were based on a vision of turning our current library area into a show piece media center that our entire community can be proud of.
Essentially, I broke the presentation down into a few specific necessities that I feel need to happen. The first was the need for classroom libraries, where we get our non-fiction and fiction books into classrooms so our students have easier access to these excellent resources. A great model for this can be found in Tim McDermott’s classroom, where he has hundreds and hundreds of books right there at his students’ fingertips. Of course, we’d keep a large number of books in the library as well, but we’re looking at ways to display them more attractively and efficiently. The next piece to the puzzle is to get our technology coordinator and our media studies specialist (librarian) pushing into classrooms, teaching students and assisting teachers in a wide range of areas. Things like academic honesty, research citation, the effective use of EBSCO, E-portfolios, our Word press SNAP! Network, implementing and understanding QR codes, and so much more! I feel like we need to start utilizing the talents and expertise of these two individuals. Another necessity is to look at re-designing our current library space so it has the feel of a true, active, engaging, and busy media center. Smart boards, LCD monitors, kindles or iPads, movable table pods with screens for presentations and collaborative research projects, access from both the first and second floor, QR code corner for student book reviews, and things like that. Of course what I’m suggesting will be rolled out over time but I think you get the idea.
The final piece to this initial plan is to set up a brand new committee consisting of the tech coordinator, the media studies specialist, teachers, students, parents and myself, who will meet on a regular basis to review, suggest, discuss, and to find ways to keep this vision sustainable and eventually part of who we are as a school. Remember that what I presented to the Library Association was just that……..a presentation. What needs to happen for this to get off the ground is plenty of discussion, loads of tweaking and a few passionate educators who might want to help bring this to life. If you’re keen to become a part of this in any way, shape or form, then please find me and let’s talk. Check out the great resources attached and the interesting articles that will give you a better idea of what’s happening in schools all around the world. Also, if you haven’t seen the video of the Noble Zebra project, about how a Pennsylvania school is using QR codes to enhance student learning, then get ready to be amazed.
Have a fantastic week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other!
Quote of the Week………….
“What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.” ~ Harold Howe
Attachment #1 – Designing School Libraries (several great resources) Designing_School_Libraries_Resource_List
Attachment #2 – Yesterday’s Libraries, Tomorrow’s Libraries – 12 Differences Yesterday
Article #1- How to create the 21st-century school library of your dreams
Article #2- Student Inquiry and Web 2.0
The Noble Zebra Project