The way that we consume media has changed drastically and rapidly. Digital resources and learning have overtaken print materials causing budget cuts to school libraries. The result is replacing trained, certified librarians with support staff who may not even have teaching certificates. However, The Alliance for Excellent Education believes that librarians are needed more than ever in this shifting landscape. In Leading In and Beyond the Library they point out the following ways in which librarians can adapt:
- Curriculum and instruction: one of the main duties of any librarian is to be a curator of content. In the vast world of digital resources the need for curation is even more pronounced. Librarians can work with teachers and become experts on curriculum and pedagogy to identify resources for teachers and students.
- Professional learning: the transition to digital learning requires professional development for teachers and instruction for students. The librarian can become a coordinator and source of information, formally and informally, for teachers looking to bolster their knowledge of digital learning and students who need to learn “digital citizenship.”
- Academic supports: libraries and librarians can serve as hubs of learning. Perhaps by opening before school and staying open after school, libraries can transform from places to get content, by simply checking out a book, to an interactive environment where students access, consume, and create content.
- Technology and infrastructure: librarians can serve as part of the technology support staff but not as a primary duty. They should be experts in resources available in the modern library such as computer labs, digital resources and other peripherals such as 3D printers.
- Budget and resources: along with expertise of technology in the modern library, librarians can help decide budgets needed for technology, software, and resource procurement.
Just as the modern library is transforming, so must the role of the librarian. Their skills are still very much relevant but their application needs to be adjusted. Read the Alliance for Educational Excellence’s report in its entirety here. (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2014)