From The Conversation:
A recent article about a new approach to a school library sparked vigorous discussion on social media. Many worried the school had completely abolished traditional library services. The article describes how a Melbourne school changed its library to a technology-focused centre staffed by “change adopters” who host discussions with students and encourage creative thinking.
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The school’s principal was forced to defend the library’s restructure. She wrote that its traditional purpose hadn’t been lost.
The College Library has been transformed into a Learning Centre that continues to offer all library services to students and staff, including a significant collection of fiction and non-fiction books, journals, newspapers, magazines and other print resources, as well as online access to other libraries.
This school’s approach isn’t unique. Many schools have reconfigured their library spaces to embrace a model of integrating library services – where traditional library resources are combined with technology. Some have installed new technologies in so-called “maker spaces”. These are where students can be creative, often using technologies such as 3D printers and recording suites.
The purpose of today’s libraries isn’t only to maintain the traditional roles of promoting reading, developing information literacy and providing access to a collection of books and other resources. Today’s school libraries are fundamental to broader digital literacy, information provision and developing critical evaluation of information.
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There is a lack of understanding of what librarians can do for a school community and a belief children don’t need help with learning how to use technology. Information can be inaccessible, and misunderstood, without proper instruction, guidance and support. This is especially true for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who don’t have good access to the internet at home, or those with learning differences.
As the evidence base for what makes an effective library grows, it’s becoming recognised that
the 21st century school library professional is a digital leader, an innovator, a creator, a promoter, a resource and research specialist, a curriculum adviser, and much more.
Teacher librarians educate children in the core skills of searching and evaluating information. They also support and empower students in areas such as digital citizenship. This enables children to fully participate and engage with the complex digital landscape.
As Chelsea Quake, a teacher librarian at a Melbourne public school, told us:
Students leave school reading fake news, turning to Instagram for answers to their health questions, and falling flat on their first university paper, because they never truly learnt how to research.
Link to the rest at The Conversation