From the incomparable Joyce. Well Done!!
Archive for the '21st Century Learning' Category
Well…it looks like it might be on its way. The one thing that might pose the biggest “threat” to libraries…..a “Netflix” model for books.
We need to be envision ways to turn this threat into an opportunity.
A company going into this model would have to do some serious negotiating with the publishing world to make enough books available for avid readers. And yes, I know that not everyone can afford a computer and not everyone can afford to purchase ebooks. Even I am WAY to cheap to purchase ebooks when I can get books (and ebooks) free from my public library. But if this model were set up to be cheap enough, it could be pretty universal.
So… lets suppose there were a “BookFlix” service designed along the NetFlix model. This service could stream one book for $9.95 a month, 2 books for $12.95 and so on. I would find that REALLY tempting AND within my budget. Yes I know….I would not own the book. But I keep very few of the books I read. I am not likely to ever read a novel a second time, and if I ever wanted to, I could just put it back into my queue. Books that I want to own for research could still be purchased in print or ebook format. Unless “BookFlix” drove print books and “traditional” ebooks right out of existence.
In a “BookFlix” world, where do libraries fit? Will we be able to negotiate deals with publishers so that we can stream books for free? If so – what happens to our print books collections? What will draw people into our libraries? School libraries would definitely morph even more into the “learning commons” model. What about public libraries? We would have to advertise our other services even more aggressively than we do now. So many issues to think about!
We all run into them now and again…. Techno-resistant librarians. I used to think such an attitude would cost them their jobs. No more. Now I think those retro-librarians might cost ALL of us our jobs.
What is the impact of 21st Century Librarians operating under a 20th (19th?) century mind-set?
The Times They are A-Changin’ (Bob Dylan)
Your old road is
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.
I attended a workshop about integrating Apple technology (ipods etc) into Gananda’s curriculum. Exciting stuff. I was amazed and humbled, when several of my Gananda colleagues referred to me as the “most creative” member of our team. The head presenter from the Apple team (a former librarian) was excited to hear that. She then mentioned a recent workshop she’d done for a neighboring district. Sadly,one of the librarians there reacted very badly to the presentation. She said “I did not sign up for all this tech stuff when I became a librarian. I went into it for books.”
Talk about cringe-worthy!! These workshops are presented to school teams that often include superintendents and building principals. Library jobs are at risk. How does this kind of attitude play in front of a group like that?
Now… Think about the legion of us on the cutting edge of technology….how many present in-services to teachers…how many work with hesitant teachers and give them the courage to try new things. And on and on and on. And yet still, we fight that #$&^ stereotype of the “bookish” librarian. Yes…many of us go into the profession for love of books, reading and research. But guess what – we STILL get to do that. We just have more formats at our command.How great is that?!
I suspect these “throw-back” librarians give us all a bad name.
The incident reminded me of my all-time favorite blog comment:
Librarians WILL care about technological trends and how they affect their jobs in a few years – when the first generation raised on WiFi and high speed internet and web-enabled toilet seats reaches college age.
Guess what. That time has arrived.
That question was posted on LM_NET this week. The original post placed some blame on the failure of library leaders to adapt to technological change.
Yes – some in the library world have been oblivious to the systemic change brought about by new technologies. But many have been on the forefront of that change. Doug Johnson, Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, Cathy Jo Nelson – just to name a very few.
I recently read a blog post - Be an agent for the customer: Hospitality Revisited.
Here is an excerpt:
…the difference between Agents and Gatekeepers …(from Danny Meyer’s book, “Setting the Table”) … An agent makes things happen for others. A gatekeeper sets up barriers to keep people out. We’re looking for agents… did I present myself as an agent or a gatekeeper? In the world of hospitality, there’s rarely anything in between.”
I think the librarian as “agent that makes things happen” is where we belong.
The library should be the place where everything happens. Librarians are the ones in the strongest position to be an agent for change in our schools. We know the curriculum, we know the teachers, we know the students, we know the technology. The library should be the place where we move heaven and earth to bring all these things together to educate students. If gates and barriers are put up in front of students and teachers, it is the librarian’s job to find a way around, over or under those barriers to bring kids together with the tools they need to become 21st century creative learners.
I plan to ask myself this question frequently in the future: ”In this situation, am I an agent or a gatekeeper?”
I am so depressed about the slash and burn decisions sweeping through schools right now – cutting library positions in droves.
I came home today to the welcome sight of my latest order from Amazon. I am busy accumulating a personal library of books centered on bringing our schools into the 21st century – and here were the latest installments.
College & Career Ready: Helping All Students Succeed Beyond High School by David T. Conley
It didn’t take many of these “big idea” books for me to notice a huge omission – libraries. So, the first thing I did (after enjoying the sight and smell of 2 new books of course) was to turn to the index of each book and see if libraries were mentioned. ….. Disappointed yet again.
The challenge? Authors writing for library audiences via library publishers need to stop right now. The wider education world needs to hear their voices. A LIBRARIAN needs to write the next “big idea” book that races through the education world. A book with the library in the center as the change agent schools desperately need to make 21st Century Learning a reality in schools. Now is the time. 21st Century Learning is OUR curriculum. Maybe “Race to the Top” might be the incentive for moribund schools to get out of the 19th century and start teaching students in a way that will be useful for the 21st century work world.
Please pay special attention to the last video in this post – Core Curriculum/21st Century Learning/Race to the Top. Schools CAN change. It is not that scary. It doesn’t mean throwing out teachers or teacher-librarians. It doesn’t mean throwing out the curriculum. It does means changing how students learn content…. by interacting with it, playing with it, discovering the connections between disciplines, learning to collaborate with each other, how to release their own untapped creativity. In short – make the library a learning laboratory where librarians and teachers from all disciplines work together with students to prepare for the future.
It is doable. Inertia has made us vulnerable. It’s time to change. And it is time for the education world to realize that librarians (not just a library staffed by a clerk) is ESSENTIAL to this new kind of learning.
So – my challenge? There are some wonderful school library bloggers out there. How about writing the next “big idea” book? The one that will galvanize schools to launch an education revolution with their librarians front and center. How about it Doug? Kim? Cathy? Joyce? And many others too numerous to mention. Who will publish the viral books, articles, videos that need to be seen and read by the rest of the education community? The “big idea” that will make educators everywhere say – “Amazing. We already have the answer to the big questions right here in our own buildings – the LIBRARIANS!”
And if (God Forbid!) the librarians have been laid off – bring them back before it is too late!