Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where Goes the Librarian?

In the age of the Internet, school librarians are no longer responsible for solely shelving books and encouraging reading. They now also face the daunting task of teaching young students to do online searches and check the credentials of web authors.

In one case, a school librarian taught students a valuable lesson using a backdoor method. Confident that students accepted content on the Internet at face value, she designed a lesson using a website with conspicuously erroneous information. One bright student noticed the error at the bogus allaboutexplorers.com site, but most other students glossed over the claim that the Indians enjoyed cell phones and computers brought to America by Columbus.

Librarians today teach students how to use tools like PowerPoint and social networking sites for debate platforms and the sharing of creative writing. However, in the age of budget cuts, librarians may be the first on the chopping block.

For an overview on the status of school librarian, consult this front page story, "In the Web Age, Library Job Gets Update," which appeared in The New York Times, Feb. 17, 2009, . The photo is taken from the story. Also check out http://www.allaboutexplorers.com/ for a valuable site to use with students, and let us know what you think about the newspaper story and the Explorers’ site. Here is also the URL for the newspaper story, which might not be accessible without a password, but try, and still post your thoughts on school librarians today. When you visit the Explorers' site, be sure to check out "About This Site."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/16/books/16libr.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=librarian&st=cse

7 comments:

Diane said...

I often wonder about the fate of the school librarian and glad to see in this article that there is still a need for them. Last year I spent time in a middle school substituting for an art teacher. The students were learning about the structure of coliseums in conjunction with their social studies class that was on a unit on Greece. The students spent a class period in the library where the librarian guided them to websites to learn more about coliseums and it's parts (for instance, the different types of columns and what they are called). The goal was that the students were going to make a drawing of the coliseum of their choice. The libriarian then also posted these web sites on the school's intranet so students go do further research on their own. It was all pretty neat - the social studies teacher and art teacher put the lesson plan together and the librarian helped with research and assisted the students in seeking out the info they needed to do drawings. There is still an need for librarians!

Kim said...

Last Saturday morning I took my family out to breakfast (following a very exciting indoor soccer game at 7 am). After breakfast, we wandered over to the antique shop next door. Do you know what we saw?(and why it is pertinent to this blog?!) Several card catalog cabinets- a relic of the past! I can remember when I was an undergraduate and typed my papers on a word processor (and I am not really THAT old!). I guess the role of the libraian is changing due to today's technology and I think it is wonderful. This would be a fabulous job- using technology to help students do research and locate real live books...

Jill said...

When I bring my class to the library, or even my infant son for that matter, there is a calming that comes over us during the entire experience. There is the understood quiet, the respectful politeness exchanged by all, and the feeling that you are getting some real brain food by the time you leave. I have yet to meet a librarian that did not have the best interest of the kids, or public, at heart. It would be sad to see them go, however it does seem that librarians are able and motivated to add the technology piece to their credentials, so maybe they will in turn become an asset to the programs, not a deficit... We will have to wait and see!!

Annie said...

I do not go to the library very often but when I do I am glad to see a librarian there because I wouldn't know what to do. I know how to search the computer for books but sometimes I just can't find them on the shelf. Librarian's are important because if I got stuck or needed a suggestion and there was no one there to help then I'd be in big trouble. Also, with the age of technology and students believing everything they read on the internet it is important for librarian's to teach students how to identify sites that have false information on it. Students should be aware of what they are reading and whether it is legit or not.

Gina said...

As teachers, we need to assist the role of the new librarian. We need to remind our students about sources (whether net or print) and how to evaluate our materials for accuracy and currency. The Internet is chock full of inaccuracies (as are iPhone apps)especially as we refer to facts or quotes. We need to teach children to be effective consumers of information so that they can evaluate information as adults. As part of this education, we also need to teach our students to cite resources appropriately so that a reader can judge the accuracy of the content also.

Jen said...

I will always be a teacher who is a huge fan of libraries. I love the atmosphere of libraries, the quiet hushed tone, the smell of old books. I also think that a lot of people sell librarians short. It is amazing how much information they know and about how to find such information. The school that I interned for last year cut many of their librarians. Those that were able to stay, have to split their time between different schools. And of the librarians who are staying, I have never seen them teach a lesson on how to find valid websites. Usually children go to the library to paint on the computer while others take out books. I think the article shows a great model for librarians to follow. We should use this library time as time to learn about books and other forms of research.

carrie said...

I feel that the library can still be that place of calm and wisdom that we teachers so crave while at the same time, encourage the use of online sources. Technology should not just be "added" to the curriculum for librarians. It is the curriculum. Librarians should teach how and where to get information (and the majority of this nowadays happens on the internet) It used to be that this desired info was almost all inside the four walls of the library. Now, librarians need to teach where to find this info. Luckily, the librarians I know already do this. Most of all, I think it is important for our beloved librarians to also teach about when books are more appropriate than technology and that a love for books is still vital.

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