What is a Library and What is a Librarian?
Profession and Institution in Question:
This weekend I encountered two very different articles. The first article was about a school district that decided to eliminate library media specialist positions. The article's title asked the question "Are school librarians going way of the milkman?" My reaction was "What?" A principal prominent in the article, was explaining why a library media specialist position was being "traded" for a reading specialist in her school. According to the article "Principals are given flexibility over whether to keep media specialists or use the position differently." So the wheels in my brain were spinning -- First, what kind of horrible school librarian did this principal have as a child? Second, did the former librarian at her school retire, quit, do a terrible job, etc.?? I guess the question is really "Why?" Unfortunately, the answer to 'why this is happening' is that many decisions today are being made quickly and they are often a reaction to budgetary struggles and/or test scores.
The second article was about a re-envisioned library space for the new Cabot Science Library at Harvard University. The idea is to incorporate the promenade into a "dynamic commons" for learning and collaboration. Also, the renovation will make the library areas more visible and inviting. The plans for a new flexible space sound both progressive and practical to me.
After reading both articles, I hope that more and more school librarians begin to think with vision for the future of our profession and the institution of the school library. I know that many are embracing the learning commons model, and I find this exciting.
What is a Library?
"The library is no longer a warehouse for dead books. ...The library is a house for the librarian." The Future of the Library by Seth Godin
“The notion of a library as a fundamentally social space, where ideas are animated and engaged in collaboratively, is really an ancient idea,” said Schnapp.
"A school library without a librarian is like a classroom without a teacher." - ilovelibraries An initiative of the American Library Association
What is a Librarian?
From my favorite source The Urban Dictionary"Librarians wield unfathomable power, bring order to chaos, wisdom and culture to the masses, preserve every aspect of human knowledge and rule the information universe."
Second favorite definition The Future of the Library by Seth Godin"The librarian isn't a clerk who happens to work at a library. A librarian is a data hound, a guide, a sherpa and a teacher. The librarian is the interface between reams of data and the untrained but motivated user."
More about a librarian and libraries
- The Atlas for New Librarianship - book by R. David Lankes
- Jennifer LaGarde's - An Open Letter To Principals (Before You Hire A New School Librarian)
- School Libraries transform learning report
- School Libraries transform learning infographic
- BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey