Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Information Fashion Show: subtle faux pas

Library resources are imperative.  
Information databases are wonderful. 
Resources for research may be impressive... Your shelves are filled. But, as librarians we need to move beyond our information fashion shows and start walking the runway with talk about the research process. We live in an information-ubiquitous world, or perhaps a misinformation-ubiquitous world, and our patrons (students and teachers) will not necessarily be impressed with your resources. They  may reply, "Well I can find just as good stuff on Google, Bing, SweetSearch, or other information valets. So, I'll politely listen and then go do what I want."    

We sat at a luncheon at AASL and I couldn't help noticing how no one was paying attention to the speaker when they were telling us what we already knew.  As soon as someone started talking about topics we hadn't heard about (the research behind students' online searching behavior), they had everyone's attention.  That is where we as librarian-leaders need to head:  We need to start talking about the process of research and how that has to change.    

  • Kids have changed
  • Curriculum has changed 
  • Resources have changed, and ...
  • Research has changed 
 When you start talking about 21st Century research needs, people may listen.   

The Common Core gives us the opportunity to invite teachers to the research table.  Get your lines ready:  "Did you know Research to build and present knowledge is an anchor standard?  How can I help you meet that?"   "Did you know that students need Essential Questions to drive research reports, rather than 'information seeking' opportunities?" 

Give your teachers a holiday present this season and move beyond being a resource reservoir--model the research triage they need.   Here is a link for our teacher self-assessment tool used to awaken ah-ha moments with teachers: click here.

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