Wednesday, February 24, 2010

National Woe...Where will the librarians go?

A college friend of mine just sent me a link to the Michigan equivalent of the New York Teacher magazine. Why? She was sharing an article entitled, Vanishing Act: what's happening to school librarians. (It's a large .pdf file, but worth reading. See hyperlink above)

Despite the national research which shows a direct correlation between healthy library programs and student achievement, districts are cutting costs by excessing their information professionals. This is akin to not going to the doctor because you can't afford the co-pay. Or, deciding you can't pay for gas for your car, but we'll keep the car in the driveway for others to use who may or may not know how to drive. Not being mandatory at the elementary level in NY, librarians are easy targets for schools who are short-sighted and more concerned with making ends meet or balancing their bottom line.

We are living in the information age, and we all know that this Millennial generation can access anything, but can't analyze or synthesize it. Information professionals are the ones who teach this Generation Me how toevaluate the info they've found to determine whether it's: Credible, Accurate, Reliable and Supported (CARS). Cybrarians act as a learning concierge to foster higher level thought and give students the opportunity to investigate their own questions, evaluate the answers found, and construct meaning of the data. Where else do they do that? Not sitting in all those classrooms preparing for state and national assessments--that's for sure.

Teachers are encouraged by librarians to create authentic learning research projects where students are stretched to find meaning and reach learning objectives at the same time. That's called Inquiry. That's called PBL, "Challenged Based Learning", or Activity Based Learning.

Visit your librarian today and ask him/her to help you create a unit of discovery, infused with information, and in support of your learning standards. Chances are you'll find someone who will point you to quality information resources, help create a unit with compelling essential questions, suggest some quality literature, and be excited to guide your students down a road of discovery. If they don't help you--then they may sincerely be cut and replaced by someone who can.

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