Okay, I am admit this right off the bat...I am writing this blog post for purely selfish reasons....you see, soon, very soon (provided I can finish this research proposal, and survive my internship) I too can be called a school librarian! I am in the process of completing my Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) at the University of South Carolina (go Gamecocks!)
I was actually inspired to write this blog post by two things I read on social media today...the first was an NPR segment titled "When America's Librarians Went to War" about how librarians helped with soldier morale during both World Wars (who knew, certainly not me!!!). You can read the article HERE. The other was a tweet by Steven W. Anderson about a blog post he wrote titled "Why Librarians Are Awesome." You can read his post HERE (and I highly recommend that you follow him on Twitter, if you don't already! He is @web20classroom).
Both posts got me thinking about the important role librarians play in learning. Anderson make a great point by saying "The library is an extension of your classroom and the librarian can be an extension of you." It got me wondering how teachers view the media specialist in their building and his/her role in leaching students in the building. I know in my building each students goes to the library for a 40 minute block once a week. To me that never seems like enough time for the students to engage with the media specialist nor enough time for the media specialist to get to know the child, their reading profile and to help them get engaged in reading. I also know that at some schools in our district students don't even get that 40 minutes. If we are only sending our students to the library to check out books, we are truly under-utilizing one of the most valuable human resources in the building--the school media specialist/librarian.
More and more school library media specialists are being pulled in different directions. Due to budget cuts they are asked to move beyond traditional librarian roles and do more with technology both in their lessons and in the classroom. And much of that is functioning as the technology troubleshooter when things break down. In some cases, schools are phasing out the media specialist all together and instead putting a parent volunteer in the library to assist with book check out.
I write all this to get you to rally around your school media specialist. Celebrate them, appreciate them...for goodness sake..give them a hug, and let them know that you understand their importance, you appreciate all they are doing and that you value them. Invite them into your classroom. Ask them to collaborate with you on a lesson or even a whole unit. Let your administrators know how crucial they are to the success of your students learning.
And if you are interested in following some awesome librarians on social media, here are a few I follow on Twitter--
- Gwyneth Jones- The Daring Librarian @gwynethjones http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/
- Michelle Colte- @Michelle_Colte
- Sherry Gick- @LibraryFanatic
- John Schumaker- @MrSchuReads
- Matt Winner- @MatthewWinner http://www.busylibrarian.com/
Here is a great info graphic I came across on Matthew Winner's blog! This just says it all....