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The Important Role of the Librarian in 21st Century Education

The Important Role of the Librarian in 21st Century Education

THEJournal sat down with Susan Gauthier, the director of library services overseeing 87 schools to discuss the role of the librarian in enhancing student learning in the 21st century.

According to Gauthier, a librarian is able to shape student learning by being a point person for digital resources and helping teachers connect their lessons to available content.

Specifically, Gauthier discusses the librarian's role in developing makerspaces for the school and district. To Gauthier, digital literacy is "the secret sauce" to the librarian's role and is facilitated with the creation of makerspaces, or designated creative areas for students work.

Makerspaces work best, Gauthier says, when librarians and teachers communicate and provide extended creative material to supplement curriculum in the designated work areas.

"You might say it sounds like play time, but I see this eventually evolving into a curriculum connection: having that librarian talking to the science teacher and saying, 'You are covering forces in motion? What’s something I can do with these Hot Wheels cars and tracks to reinforce that lesson?' You always hear teachers say that they’re so tied to the curriculum they can’t do the fun stuff; this brings that in," she said to THEJournal.

She also discusses the use of LiveBinders, "a 3-ring binder for the web" that helps organize online resources; she says they're one of the best tools for easily communicating to school administrators the programs and lessons that librarians are providing students.

"A LiveBinder enables us to demonstrate what a certified librarian can bring to a school. We’ve just started with these, but I’ve used LiveBinders to show a cohort of elementary principals what one elementary school is doing," she said, according to the article.

Gauthier says it's important for librarians to be able to communicate their contributions so that administrators can understand the vital role they play in enhancing learning.

 We really have to be PR ninjas these days, making our contribution to student learning known to everyone. We can be co-teachers. I can go into a science classroom and I may not know all of the concepts, but I can help the students do research projects, I can support the teacher in using NoodleTools for creating bibliographies, I can provide support in using e-books and iPad apps. We can be a part of the learning process, making the library another classroom.

"The bottom line is student achievement in all of the schools, whether you’re a librarian, teacher or administrator. We need to look at what our libraries are providing to our students and make sure students are getting what they need," she said.

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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