photo © 2008 Scott McLeod | more info (via: Wylio)As I reflect over the past year, I remember the knee-jerk reactions that I among many have had over the lack of respect for my profession as a school librarian. The average non-library users lauds that the internet serves all their information needs and now ebooks meet their desire to read. Being connected has changed many. I must confess too that even last night as I suffered with an aching knee, I too turned to “Dr. Internet” to self diagnose and treat an injury of some kind. (By the way I’ve decided I have Patella Tendonitis, or “tennis knee!”)
Salvaging our profession and reputation
But this morning as I cruise through my reader, I am getting affirmation after affirmation of why my profession is NOT going away. I am so needed for more than just pointing researchers to resources or readers to novels.
Carolyn Foote says it best here, and her ending statements just resonate with me, so much in fact that I shared it in Facebook first, then in our state organization’s “archaic” (note: my choice of description for this IMHO dated mode of communication) listserv. Yes, I did use that listserv, not because I find value in it as much as because I know way too many haven’t moved over to newer communication tools. Is that a bad thing? I’ve had many a debate with colleagues over that listserv. I think I’ve finally just decided some will NEVER give it up, despite my belief it holds them back. Again, though it’s just my lowly meaningless opinion. To each his own.
Maybe it’s time that the story being told about libraries and librarians reflects what libraries really look like. We’re not reframing by using technology to “stay vital” as articles so often suggest–we’re reframing because that’s what our students and teachers need. And that’s who we are there for. It’s time the paradigm changed. Because we did.
(Carolyn Foote, School Librarian, Westlake High School, Austin, TX)
So as I lament the “fondness” many have for our state listserv, I also celebrate the threads of conversations there about online tools, the use of technology in the library, the sharing of books or lesson plans, and even newer trends, like the extreme interest in ebook readers and their role in the library.
Most Important Asset
We are the most important asset in our own libraries. We must embrace any and all change. We owe it to our students, teachers, schools and communities to be cognizant of all things new (and old) to be functional and effective in the service we provide. They count on us.
Even small things make a difference
Just this week in my own teaching context in the library, a collaborating teacher used the laptop cart that is often maligned and avoided at all costs since it is the oldest set of connectivity offered in the library. It was her only resort though, since everything else was booked up tight. One of the reasons teachers do not like them is many will not let students “log on” forcing them to save any work completed on flashdrives and such. I was pleased to hear her say she disliked the use of flashdrives, as so often they get lost. We discussed working together early in next semester’s class to shower her students with online storage solutions, eliminating the need to save to flashdrives, and also allow students to continue working anywhere there is a connection. She was so excited and said “Gee I’m glad I take time to talk with you!” As small as this comment may seem, it is truly an affirmation for what I do in my daily role as a school librarian.
So I end with a quote from another blog post I read today, as it resonates as well:
While the advances in the publishing world have elevated to the ease of e-books and while the Internet offers an easy avenue for anyone to delve into a mass of information, it does not, in my small opinion, replace the essential service a library can provide. (TS Tate, contributing author at The Best Damned Creative Writing Blog and works professionally as a freelance and Technical Writer)