Sunday, April 15, 2018

The 21st Century Role of the High School Librarian

“What is information?” I asked the class.
“Data,” responded one tenth grader.
“Mmmm…yes, data is one TYPE of information,” I replied.
“That is a source for information…is there another word that includes all types and forms of information?”
And so we go around the room, until one student yells out “KNOWLEDGE!”

As an information professional (librarian, library media specialist -- whatever you want to call me) my patrons seem to find it mind-blowing when I define my role as handling and organizing all knowledge. They begin to wonder what exactly does my librarian do?

I tell my students that if they leave our high school aware that information is around them at all times, I have done part of my job. I tell them that I’d like them to they leave us fully aware of their opportunity to absorb information around them. (Pay attention to the world beyond your phone!) My job is complete if they have the ability to sort information, to use it to make informed decisions, and distinguish “good” information from “bad.” I am successful if they are critical thinkers.

How can I help them on this path? I tell them...

·      Come to me if you are overwhelmed with the information around you
·      Come to me if you can’t find enough information.
·      Come to me if you are having difficulty recognizing the authority of the information you found
·      Come to me if you need to find an expert
·      Come to me if you need a better understanding of how the knowledge you have ties into a wider world of knowledge
·      Come to me if you don’t understand where answers to your questions can be found
·      Come to me if you don’t even know what questions to ask to gain deeper knowledge

High school librarians are vital team members in our schools. We connect both students and faculty to sources and ideas that support subject area learning. We define links between content and create an overarching umbrella for the knowledge that constantly flows throughout the school. Building ties between knowledge and knowledge holders, within and beyond the school, is our greatest skill.

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