Guest Writer Wednesday: Jean Trimble
Every Student Needs an Information Professional
Every weekend, I try to read one or two articles about the latest educational technology trends, and I attempt to try-out or test as many Web 2.0 tools as possible. Sometimes I feel like technology is changing on a weekly basis and it’s becoming more and more challenging to navigate the myriad of information. So when I think about 1:1 initiatives (putting a device in the hands of every student), I wonder if the students are really expected to use these devices proficiently and efficiently. As the common phrase “garbage in, garbage out” suggests, if students don’t know how to use the device to its fullest potential, then are we really getting the best bang for our buck?
The Common Core calls for students to “Research to Build and Present Knowledge,” but many students cannot navigate through the research process. The New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) recently created a short video with some amazing statistics about what students actually know about research. And according to the Ohio Board of Regents, students can definitely use more help to become “college ready”.
Don’t get me wrong, most of today’s “Digital Natives” are very tech-savvy when it comes to taking photos, posting on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube and general web surfing. But one thing I’ve noticed over the past three years is that most students are information illiterate and need instruction and guidance. During this age of information overload, students need an information professional more than ever.
Enter the School Library Media Specialist (SLMS). Librarians are committed to teaching students how to find relevant information, evaluate the accuracy of information, determine the reliability of information, use information ethically, responsibly, and legally and, finally, present the information in a creative way. Simply put, Librarians are equipped to teach all students the required 21stCentury Skills needed for future success.
“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a Librarian can bring you back the right one.” (Author, Neil Gaiman)
The need is obvious, and “research shows that school libraries are a stronger indicator of student success than class size, experience of teacher, number of computers or location of school.” (Foote) Yet, school districts across America are opting to eliminate Librarian positions. Some of these same districts are placing other certified teachers in similar positions and giving them a different name. The sad thing is, these individuals do not have the same training and schooling as Librarians and are often asked to cover three or four schools.
As Carolyn Foote states, “If you want to help your school succeed, perhaps libraries are the best place to start. Monies spent on libraries have a big payoff in terms of student achievement, and benefit every single student in a school.” Every student deserves a full-time Librarian in their school. Students deserve to have access to a Librarian any time during any day of the week as information needs arise.
“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” (Walter Cronkite)
For more information about what Librarians do, check out the infographic Many Reasons You Need Your Librarian by Paige Jaeger, Coordinator for School Library Services at New Yorks’ WSWHE BOCES.
Carolyn, Foote. “To Raise Student Achievement, Invest in Libraries.” Huffington Post Education 27 Oct. 2010: Huff Post Education. Web. 14 Jan. 2010.
Jean Trimble, SLMS
Walnut Springs Middle School