Why (And How) Libraries Are Getting Reinvented

I love books; the weight in my hand, the captivating book cover that makes me wonder with curiosity about what is held within, and the simple mechanics of turning a page.

But I am also a digital junkie. My smartphone beeps with sounds that are pinging, dinging, and popping 24 hours a day.

And let’s not forget the apps; I have one for just about everything! My personalized Chrome pages contain bookmarks, apps, and extensions to fuel my inner desire to click and explore.

But I wasn’t always like this. By age I am definitely a digital immigrant, but my behavior to consume, curate, and create are definitely that of a digital native.

books for teachers
A Digital Librarian

So what does this all mean for my school media center and me? It means that I get to reinvent my space and the services that I am able to provide to teachers, students, administrators, and the community. As a result, I have broken down the traditional stereotype of a librarian and have personified the new image of librarians in the digital age.

Today’s K-12 librarians are no longer the keeper of the books. Instead, they offer a space and a service that is more contemporary, fluid, digital, and flexible to the needs of those they serve. Librarians are the leaders in exploring and trying out the latest trends in digital tools, resources, and training. In addition, the Common Core standards illustrate the argument for the importance and relevance of school media coordinators.

Books, yeah we still have them, but they are not our sole focus in collaborating with teachers in providing the most positive and engaging 21st century learning experience.

Transforming

The transformation for me began several years ago when I realized that technology was changing the way individuals interacted with education, commerce, politics, medicine, etc.

The pervasiveness of technology was everywhere, and the students were spending less and less time in the media center. So I called upon my business skills and looked at ways in which I could market the media center and change its perception. There is a lot of great literature (on the Internet, of course) that has been written to assist librarians in reinventing themselves.

Leading In and Beyond the Library is a comprehensive report that explains how impactful the role of the librarian is in student academic achievement in the digital age. Project Connect showcases educational leaders and librarians who are working together to create dynamic 21st century learning environments. The Toolkit for School Library Media Programs provides a wealth of resources and ideas on how to market the library space and resources.

Just like 5 star hotels and resorts, school libraries should be the “destination” within a school and the media coordinators the concierges. Each day we are the direct contact between our stakeholders and the access to both physical and intellectual resources. Marketing the media center and making changes that propel us into the future will cement our role as leaders in making the digital transformation.

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