Discard your vision of hair buns and lace collars. Today’s school librarian is high tech and highly active.
What is the role of the school librarian in our age of technology ? As it always has been, it is a profession that focuses on the needs of our patrons. In the school setting the majority are students. During their years in school, young people are trying on roles and weighing values that will effect not only their own adult behavior but also the very destiny of our world. The guidance of parents and classroom teachers is critical to that development, but so too is the role of the school library media center and the professional educators [librarians] who staff that center. The school library media specialist evaluates, selects, organizes, and manages resources to ensure that students and teachers will have access to a range of information and ideas.
The school library media center, however is not just a collection of resources. Each student is encouraged to discover, enjoy, evaluate, and use all types of media and materials and is assisted in the development of critical skills in reading, listening, and viewing. Thus, the school library media program not only enriches the curricular and intellectual offerings of the school. It takes the lead in helping young people develop the kind of educated imagination that empowers them to consider alternatives and to construct possible models of a better and more humane world. Students take their first steps on an exciting and rewarding course of lifelong learning.
A number of studies have already provided evidence that school library media programs support and improve the development of children and sharpen their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Many studies verify that excellent elementary school library media centers are a vital component of school learning in this country. In one Brooklyn school the library became the key to transforming an entire school.
It is no coincidence that the key American Library Association document addressing schools is entitled Information Power. The ALA also sponsors Library Power to assist public and school libraries. It is in libraries that all students are empowered to support and extend their knowledge of various subjects, but also have opportunities to investigate new topics and explore new ideas. Here they move beyond the traditional textbook to use the full range of information and learn to match various materials with personal learning styles. Students learn to recognize and deal with perceptions of the world, which differ from their own. In this troubled and interconnected world, such skills and patterns of thinking are essential to our survival.