iPods synching the ‘Best of YouTube’ podcasts with earbuds around necks and hanging out of shirts collars. Bodies lounging on “poosh” pillows while texting with one hand. Email, VoiceThreads, and Flickr on computer screens. Conversation! Comfy chairs filled with engrossed readers on digital devices…
Library of the future? No, this could (and should) be the library media center of today!
School libraries in the 21st century should no longer be a place filled only with print materials. They should be evolving into interactive media centers filled with high speed Internet connections capable of reaching global audiences. They should have a full range of technology tools (such as iTouch’s, Flipcam’s, document cameras, digital cameras, etc.) available for teacher checkout. They should feature new titles and current information resources – both online and in print. And most important, they should contain active and interested students before, after and during school hours. However, many school library media centers lack the support needed to create the type of center that will reach today’s teens; that will emphasize the impact a 21st century school library media center can have on learning. In a time of budget cuts and increased NCLB pressures school library media specialists must work extra hard to promote their library media programs. If you don’t speak up for your library media center – who will?
Promote your library. Promote your services. Promote, promote, promote!
- Get input! Ask your teens to share the services they would like to see offered. Ask parents, community council members, teachers, and administration, everyone for feedback. Implement suggestions.
- Learn! Stay current with technology trends. Embrace your changing role. Share at faculty meetings, community council meetings, or even at lunch in the faculty room, the ways in which your media center can support school activities.
- Go online! Promote your library by maintaining a library website with online research links, book highlights, community services (such as public libraries), technology tutorials, and professional development information for teachers.
- Form collaborative partnerships – with everyone! Include and invite your administration to participate in your media center programs. Invite department heads and teachers to help you determine collection needs and plan collaborative projects. Include technology in those projects. Co-teach those projects; you as the Media Specialist, the teachers as the curriculum specialist.
- Keep bulletin boards detailing how the media center resources can support curriculum initiatives.
- Let your legislature know how important school library funding and educational technology funding is to the success of your programs. Share the ways in which your Library Media Center helps students to succeed!