One of the central roles of teacher librarians is to help students gain informational literacy. With the amazing amount of information that exists in the world, it is more important than ever that students learn how to evaluate the information they encounter. School librarians are working with teachers in every discipline - language arts, social studies, science, math, music, art and others - to further the education of every student, so that they can not only read and write, but use that knowledge to make sense of the world around them.
assess, use, and share information from The American Association
of School Librarians' Empowering Learners, 2009.
Often when people think back to their own school library experiences, they picture a quiet space, with an adult, usually a woman, as a gatekeeper, telling them to be quiet, reminding them of overdue books, or otherwise standing in the way of whatever they wanted to be doing. It is unfortunate that this is the memory so many people have, because that is not what school libraries look like these days. I hope that if that is the way you think of school librarians, that you will keep coming back to my blog so I can work to change your mind. I would like for everyone to know the inroads librarians are making in literacy, technology education, and more. I rarely insist on a quiet library.
I am constantly amazed at the school librarians I have had the pleasure to work with and their ability to bring out the best in the students they work with. During one of my first weeks at the middle school where I work, the sixth grade students were researching a topic of their choice, asking questions, and finding the information. One student had heard of ISIS and wanted to look into that topic in more depth. I watched with complete astonishment as the librarian guided the student to just the right questions that he needed to ask himself to even begin knowing where to look, and then nudge him as he read through various bits of complicated information until he was able to find the answers he needed. She successfully engaged him in all of the multiple literacies he needed in order to find the information to satisfy his curiosity. It is the kind of work that is happening in school libraries everywhere and deserves to be celebrated.