The Political Minefield
2020 was a year of tremendous turmoil for the United States. The political unrest from the regional and national elections was at an unprecedented high. Adults and students alike were bombarded daily with political mudslinging from the left and right. How were teachers expected to navigate students through this period of civil dissention? Should teachers wade into the murky waters of politics in order to better serve the students? Moreover, what tools do teachers and librarians possess that will allow them to navigate these uncertain tides? The College-and-Career-Ready standards for Social Studies clearly calls for educators to uncover the intricacies of the local and presidential elections, but at a time of such turbulence, how could teachers connect with the students at their level?
The Necessity of Technology
Teachers realized that young people today continually use all things technological. Students spend a majority of their waking hours immersing themselves in texting, playing video games, and sending Snapchats. In order for educators to meet the students where they are, teachers and librarians must be cognizant of the necessity of creating lessons based in technology. The problem is: how do teachers and librarians remain current in their knowledge of the latest and greatest technological advances? How do they develop those awe-inspiring lessons that will engage the 21st century learners?
Librarians to the Rescue
Since the dawn of the Information Age, librarians have been the purveyors of all forms of literacy. In the beginning, librarians were responsible for the collections of books for the school and local libraries. Then, they became the keepers of overhead projectors and TVs with VCRs. Today, librarians are challenged with developing a digital collection, as well as housing textbooks and all forms of technology within the school building. The only difficulty is that the librarians not only need to provide this myriad of technological tools; they need to understand their uses and be able to teach other members of the faculty and staff how to use the equipment.
The Roles of Librarians
Several articles from this week’s class readings discuss how the roles of librarians have changed, yet there aren’t clear guidelines as to the librarian of today’s exact duties. Some librarians serve as strictly book-oriented, while others are equally inundated with technology and running the library. Some schools have technology coaches who seem to compete with the librarian as the source for assistance and direction. Other librarians are accepted as part of the leadership team, while some are relegated to the lower rung of the leadership ladder. The common theme from all of the readings seems to be that librarians are capable and willing partners for administration and teachers, and they simply need to be recognized for their competencies and capabilities.
In conclusion, students of the 21st century are the most technologically advanced learners that teachers and librarians have ever encountered. In order for teachers to reach these digital experts, they must be taught how to use the latest gadgets. Librarians are the resident technology gurus, so they should be viewed as part of the leadership team. They need to attend conferences, complete classes, and constantly ingest the latest offereings of technology, but they must be acknowledged as the experts they are, and they must be regarded accordingly!
Boyer, B. (2016). Meet your learners where they are: virtualizing the school library. Internet@Schools, 23(1), 4+. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A440057567/AONE?u=nysl_ca_dmvacces&sid=AONE&xid=73a967ca
Johnson, M. P. (2012). School librarians as technology integration leaders: Enablers and barriers to leadership enactment. School Library Research, 15.
Overbay, A., Mollette, M., & Vasu, E. S. (February 2011). A technology plan: Administrators should keep five lessons in mind as they implement new technology initiatives. Educational Leadership, 56-59.
Wine, L. (2016). School librarians as technology leaders: An evolution in practice. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science. 57(2), 207-220.