School libraries transform to prepare students for the future
- School libraries are now being converted into spaces that accommodate digital resources, makerspaces and collaborative learning, and school librarians are becoming IT help desk masters, makerspace facilitators and digital literacy instructors, EdTech: Focus on K-12 reports.
- Makerspaces are an important aspect of modern school libraries because they provide a place for students to create and explore STEM concepts for themselves. School leaders should try to outfit these spaces with tools such as laptops, 3D printers and coding kits and provide a proper power supply to support these tools.
- Because students increasingly use laptops and tablets during the school day, especially in districts with 1:1 device initiatives, modern libraries need to have strong broadband and adequate places for students and teachers to keep equipment charged and operating efficiently.
While school libraries are sometimes threatened by cuts because of budgetary pressures, they are essential elements within schools to prepare students academically and for new technologies. School libraries have always been a place where students can access information. However, as the ways of accessing information change, school libraries have changed as well. While books are still important in school libraries, technology dominates the modern library landscape.
School libraries are also becoming more collaborative spaces. Rather than being places for silence, these new libraries hum with activity, especially as many are becoming learning hubs or learning commons that encourage collaboration. Many also include makerspaces to encourage creativity. Though some school budgets do not allow for 3D printers and other cool tech “toys” that encourage STEM learning, schools can provide for these through fundraising efforts. These are also be type of projects local business can get behind because they help students prepare for the future workforce.
School librarians' roles are also shifting. They are becoming an integral part of the school executive team and can become an asset to school principals who bring them on board. In the quest to prepare students for the future, librarians often lead the way. As Mark Ray, director of innovation and library services for Vancouver Public Schools in Washington and Future Ready Librarians Lead, stated, “Librarians must see themselves as leaders, conceive their work as connected to systemic initiatives, and then act collaboratively with fellow colleagues, principals, and district leaders to effect change. It’s simply no longer enough for librarians to run a great library program. A true Future Ready Librarian leads, teaches, and supports work beyond the physical walls and conceptual boundaries of the school library.”
- EdTech: Focus on K-12 K–12's Digital Transformation Is Giving Libraries a Modern Makeover