School libraries in the 21st century


Today more information is stored digitally than in all the libraries in the world combined. We simply don’t need to ‘remember’ everything. The output of our digital mediums exceeds the wildest dreams of nineteenth century industrialists, and alters our view of memory; forgetfulness; creativity and originality.

Thats why schools need to extend their vision of learning beyond ‘memory-arts’. We are in a hyper-dynamic world of connections, relationships, and adaptive tools that help us make sense of the information flooding about us. We are standing at the entry of an age of infinite recall, where the lines between original works and derivatives are blurred because duplication is simple and storage cheap.

Our students need to  develop insights into how to navigate and select a pathway in their learning world, how to juxtapose text, sound, media, and social connections in real time,  and how to mix and match what they see, hear and experience to build personal knowledge and understandings.

For that they need help from 21st century teacher librarians – by managing better school-wide library services; by creating better learning resources; by using better tools; and by developing better information literacy frameworks.

Rethinking our structures and learning frameworks is central to meeting the demands of 21st century learning. Along with the information revolution, we have the social revolution of new media which has created new relationships and new forms of discourse.

This new media environment can be enormously disruptive to our current teaching methods and philosophies. As we increasingly move toward an environment of instant and infinite information, it becomes less important for students to know, memorize, or recall information, and more important for them to be able to find, sort, analyse, share, discuss, critique, and create information. They need to move from being simply knowledgeable to being knowledge-able (Wesch, 2009)

It is an exciting and challenging time for education.  Now students have the ability to search, work or publish at will using text, audio, and video, or any combination of these. They have unprecedented access to technologies and online tools that are instantly available and often free to use.  Learning and teaching has become a multimodal, multi-literacy conversation – where participation is an everyday reality for students, teachers, teacher librarians, and school administrators.

My thanks to Buffy Hamilton (the Unquiet Librarian)  for this fabulous presentation on information streams,  research and new media.

4 thoughts on “School libraries in the 21st century

  1. Pingback: What role does the librarian and the library play in the 21st Century? « Laurannu's Blog

  2. Pingback: School libraries in the 21st century « klog gyártósor

  3. Pingback: 台灣教育部第一屆教育部落格大賽 and more… « Alan Poon’s Blog

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