By Laura Bishop, High School Librarian at Léman Manhattan Preparatory (New York NY)
(or Why You Want to Be a Part of Your Tech Department)
Note from YALS: The winter 2013 issue of YALS focuses on technology and teens. Read this article to learn about more ways that libraries are integrating technology in programs and services for adolescents.
Being a librarian in a new school offers numerous challenges. It also presents opportunities. One opportunity arose for me last year with the creation of vertical departments that bring together our lower (pre-K-4)and upper schools (5-12). There were numerous reasons for this: cohesion between divisions, creating departmental direction and goals, curriculum mapping for grades K through 12 and more continuity in curriculum. Naturally, the librarians were slightly apprehensive. We were concerned that our role as information specialists and purveyors of literature would be subsumed by technology initiatives We thought that we would be “swallowed up”.
Compounding this fear is the current trend of technologizing school libraries to the point that school librarians are being tossed out with the books in favor of iPads and “Technologists,” “Technology Coaches,” or “Technology Teachers.” Whatever the title, it seemed to us that administrators, more and more, fail to understand that the work we do as librarians is actually more vital than ever as our society moves forward. Also, what would being part of a blended department mean for the work we do teaching research skills and fostering literature appreciation? Would it mean we would spend less time involved with these important projects and tasks and be expected to solely teach tech skills out of the context of information gathering and knowledge building? Continue reading