Technology Changing the Concept of Libraries

When I went to school I was a volunteer librarian. I hung out in the library at lunch times and after school. We put plastic covers on new books, did cataloguing, learned about the Dewey system and guided other students where to find e books they were looking for. However, as this article clearly demonstrates, today those are peripheral skills for a twenty first century librarian:

Harvard Education Letter Article

I consider I was very fortunate to have read enough that gave clues about these new trends that were going to change the very nature of school libraries a few years ago. That was why, when we started to talk with architects for reshaping the Aravali and Phase III campuses this was a major focus. At Aravali, this is going to be the last element, the last piece of the campus redesign jigsaw, when we replace the existing Junior and Senior School libraries with a brand new, purpose built 5-storey Learning Resource Centre (LRC).

When we started to look at Phase III it was right that we went down the same route. So, this summer we have said goodbye to the central badminton court. It was a bit startling a few weeks ago to see a JCB in there, ripping the heart out of the middle between the buildings. Now, they’ve made good progress and when I paid a visit yesterday it was clear that the ground floor will go in very soon. From there on, the bulk of the structure will be steel and glass, so it will go up very quickly. Symbolically, this structure in which students will be guided to take ownership of their own learning will rise one floor above the existing building, so as to command a panoramic view over the school from the top floor. It’s fitting that in this case it will sit at the very heart of the campus, as I believe that this article hints at the pivotal role that an LRC will play in the whole learning experience within a twenty first century school.

It’s pretty clear to me that the changes happening are not just impacting on librarians and the role they play in school, but also have vitally important implications for all teachers as well. Today’s student wants to be ‘cut free’, to be less controlled by a spoon-fed curriculum dispensed by teachers. LRCs and 21st century libraries have a fundamental role to play in the empowerment of learners to take ownership of at least part of the experience for themselves. Amongst other things, this includes the ability to pursue deep level learning of those things that really interest the student, where their motivation level is high.

Exciting times lie ahead.

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3 Responses

  1. Can’t wait for this one.

  2. Any suggestions on where/how to equip myself to be a good librarian. I am a mother of two kids so doing library science as a degree course isn’t an option, yet I am interested in being meaningfully involved with a library but I don’t know where to start.

  3. Nice read, I grew up with a completely different “job definition ” of a librarian!

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