Turning the Page: How the Librarian’s Role Continues to Evolve
Written by Robyn D. Shulman, M.Ed.
Do you remember walking into the school library during your elementary school years? For me, as an avid reader at a young age, I can easily recall various unique aspects about that magical room. On the left side, I could sense the aroma of old books, see yellow pages that were slightly torn, and was lucky to glance at newly returned books quietly waiting to be organized once again. I remember how relieved I was when I caught a glimpse of my favorite book, as it was waiting for me to stop by and check it out. I roamed in the library with one hand in the back pocket of my Jordache jeans; consistently checking to make sure my library card remained.
On the right side of the room, red encyclopedias faintly stood on portable shelves with wheels, and posters filled with teenage celebrities always encouraged us to read. And if we were lucky, the bookmobile from the local library made its way around our school every month.
Each week, the librarian was prepared with a new book to read to our class. We would walk in and sit in a circle, looking up at her with big eyes full of curiosity. The blue carpet in the reading area was permanently run down with little circles that surrounded her chair.
As a young student, I was not aware of the work that went behind a librarian’s job. When I became a teacher, I realized how important the librarian was to a school as well as the community. The librarian’s role is filled with various responsibilities that hide behind a welcoming smile.
As we celebrate National Library Week, from April 10th-16th, a nationwide thank-you is well deserved.
Librarians are not only caretakers of books and information tour guides; they are learners, researchers, teachers, and curators. In addition, today, most librarians are digital media and technology specialists. They manage books, curate content, provide research guidance and structured pathways for all who come through their doors. In addition, they are continuously learning, teaching their patrons, and maintaining the entire digital information literacy ecosystem. The paradigm changes on a daily basis.
Indeed, the role of the librarian has changed. However, one goal remains the same. As the American Library Association’s President-elect, Julie Todaro D.L.S., states, “Librarians created the bibliography pathways to the Internet, teach search terms and show people how to get the best results from their research.”
Personally, I don’t think that staple role will change.
As a teacher who originally used and taught Ask Jeeves in 1998, it is fascinating to see how far we’ve come in the classroom as well as the library. For example, teachers can now use different search engines with their students online to find and curate information. One company that has accomplished this task to an advanced level is Choosito. With Choosito, students can personalize their search by grade levels and topics while providing the power to rate a website based on how useful it is. In addition, all of these searches are built within in a safe environment.
And the reason I like Choosito so much? Teachers curate the content behind the scenes.
When teachers are part of any technological product for students, the stakeholders are always on the forefront, and those are the students. And when student interests win, we all win. In turn, we have a highly valuable education technology product.
As we celebrate National Library Week, please keep in mind that National Teachers’ Day is May 3rd. There are teams of people across this nation who are working diligently to ensure a better future for the next generation.
For this, I say thank you to all of the librarians and amazing teachers around the world.
From the beauty of old books to modern day iPads; we can now learn across the globe, together.
To learn more about Choosito, and how it can benefit your students, the classroom, as well as at home, please watch this news clip about the search engine built for personalized learning.