School librarians identified as “go-to” person for digital content

For Immediate Release
Tue, 05/31/2011

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CHICAGO – School librarians have been identified as the “go-to” people for digital content in a recently published report by the national education non-profit group, Project Tomorrow.  The report, “The New 3 E’s of Education: Enabled, Engaged and Empowered - How Today’s Educators are Advancing a New Vision for Teaching and Learning (PDF),”  shares the teacher, librarian and administrator findings from the group’s Speak Up 2010 survey.

The survey finds that the role of the school librarian is increasingly focused on the use of digital content in the classroom. In many schools, the school librarian has the responsibility for identifying, evaluating and recommending digital resources to teachers. Of the 2,125 school librarians surveyed:

  • 78 percent identify websites for classroom use,
  • 56 percent create collections of resources for curriculum support, and
  • 47 percent find specific digital content, podcasts and videos to support classroom lessons.

With the increased variety and depth of the digital resources available for classroom use, librarians are also enabling and empowering teachers’ skills with digital content:

  • 85 percent of school librarians answer questions about technology tools,
  • 66 percent participate with teachers in professional learning communities, and
  • 33 percent train teachers how to locate and evaluate digital content.

"As noted in this year’s national Speak Up reports, most administrators cite the lack of teacher skills as a major obstacle to greater infusion of rich digital content into instruction.  It is very encouraging to see that our school librarians are stepping up to this challenge and taking on new responsibilities in this area," said Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow's chief executive officer.  "As evidenced by the Speak Up data, today’s librarians are both enabling teachers to use more digital content in their classroom by recommending high quality resources that are tied to the local curriculum, and at the same time, they are empowering their teachers through role modeling and professional development around the use of digital resources such as podcasts, videos, animations, games and virtual labs.  The most innovative schools we work with nationwide are those that are successfully tapping into the unique capacities and skills of their school librarians to address some of the challenges around the effective use of digital content within instruction." 

Project Tomorrow’s vision is to ensure that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world.  We believe that by supporting the innovative uses of science, math and technology resources in our K-12 schools and communities, students will develop the critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills needed to compete and thrive in the 21st century. 

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.