There's more to future libraries than tech
- Karen Connors, a teacher librarian at High Plains Elementary in Englewood, CO, details for eSchool News how she utilized the 4 C's — collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity — to set her school's library up for the future beyond the cosmetic addition of new technology.
- Connors writes that she uses the four C's to inform approaches to instruction in her role as a teacher librarian, in which she teaches a rotating special class that instills both tech and literacy skills in students, as well as her collaborative efforts with other teachers to design assignments that present real-world scenarios and require information-seeking, problem-solving and communication skills.
- A new makerspace at the school has allowed 3D printing to be incorporated into lessons — including one where Connors taught fourth-grade students about energy and electrical circuits by having them design, print and assemble working flashlights with the help of a parent volunteer — and she has also used platforms such as myON to help facilitate students' independent learning efforts with the easy sharing of reading materials.
Even as school libraries evolve alongside classrooms and librarians take on expanded roles, the job's core function remains consistent. They have always had a significant role in helping students develop information-seeking skills and promoting literacy, and rather than changing, that responsibility has only become more important. Concern over "fake news" and its impact in the 2016 election, for example, saw attention given to the role librarians play in digital literacy skills like the ability to think critically about and evaluate online content.
As libraries embrace their new status quo as media resource centers with makerspaces and other 21st Century learning environments embedded alongside their book collections, administrators must be mindful of empowering that role and encouraging its incorporation into tech lessons, rather than letting it get overshadowed by the latest tools. Connors approach with the 4 C's could provide a great place to start.
- eSchool News This is how you build the library of the future
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