Adapted from http://psd.fanextra.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/invisible3.jpg

Students need to read, but would you replace your campus librarian with an iPad? “The bad news,” shares Matt Montagne, “is that schools are buying iPads in huge numbers against a backdrop of substantial budget cuts.”


Judy Freeman Curtis says, iPads do not speak and teach. Librarians teach many skills and today they are know by another name and all should know that too…”


Apparently, knowing this is a challenge. Maybe we need to visit our libraries a bit more?

. . . as in districts across the country, many school officials said they had little choice but to eliminate librarians, having already reduced administrative staff, frozen wages, shed extracurricular activities and trimmed spending on supplies. Technological advances are also changing some officials’ view of librarians: as more classrooms are equipped with laptops, tablets or e-readers, Mr. Polakow-Suransky noted, students can often do research from their desks that previously might have required a library visit.“It’s the way of the future,” he said. (Read More)

Being hyperconnected is the way of the future, as Tim Stahmer points out over at Assorted Stuff. If you’re hyperconnected, maybe you don’t need a librarian? Still…can we afford to keep pumping technology–like iPads–into schools and pushing out librarians and others? I’m disappointed at our desire to replace people with things. Carolyn Foote highlights this in her blog entry:

In the current budget cutting climate in Texas, many librarians have been laid off or reassigned (see my previous post: Mapping Librarian Cuts map).   We’ll have to address the day to day realities of coping with that, but we also need to think forward to what we want to happen once the funding crisis lessens.
In the library advocacy world, we often talk about making ourselves “indispensible” by working harder, publicizing our efforts, etc.  

Source: Carolyn Foote, What Librarians Can Learn from Apple 

One lesson librarians need to learn from Apple…be ruthless. 

Ask a leader what kind of technology to put in a library, the answer isn’t a more open, less expensive eReader like the Aluratek Libre (inexpensive) or Nook. Instead, it’s the most expensive device that can be purchased…an iPad. Why? There are plenty of other less expensive technologies that can be used.

We have to learn to do more with less. Let’s get more focused about strategic use of technologies where they make sense…it’s like school leaders are grabbing the fire hose and hanging on for dear life. Maybe, the one person they need to help guide them is the school librarian.

Gary Hartzell, professor of education at the University of Nebraska, refers to library media specialists as “invisible” professionals…He argues that in many school districts, library media specialists should be participants in the decisions affecting technology, curriculum, and resources at the school and district level. He also points to the widespread trend of cutting library budgets and, in some cases, library media positions to ease school financial problems. (Read More)

Consider the guiding principles of the article cited immediately above:
  1. School libraries have no boundaries. The “library” is not a place; rather, library is everywhere. This means that school library media specialists should not be cloistered within the walls of the library and within the constraints of scheduled library time
  2.  Library and information professionals should be flexible. 
  3. Ensure that students are effective users of ideas and information.
  4.  Students need to master the information literacy skills they will use in everyday life. The idea that information is everywhere is a basic premise of information literacy
Of course, a telling point is that those guiding principles come from an article written November, 2000. If one needed any proof that school districts could care less about the research and the why they do things, then this certainly might reinforce that concept. The challenge isn’t getting people to understand the research, but rather finding out WHY the school agenda in place avoids the research in the first place.

It’s tempting to say, “Until librarians figure out how to deal with this….” but the truth is, librarians already lost the battle. What I want to know is, now that public policy and education “leaders” have decided libraries are a waste of resources, what, if anything, will be done to re-train these invisible professionals?


Hang on…let me google that on my iPad….

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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