This is the seventh in a promised gloss on each of the 11 THINGS INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS MUST BE THINKING ABOUT featured in an earlier post. (I recap the entire list below the body of this post.)
#7. New directions for your library
I don’t think physical books are going anywhere, and I don’t want them to. Schools must always be places where the printed word, ink-on-paper, holds a venerated position.
But schools, and in particular their libraries, must also be places where kids can find the information and explore the questions that matter to their learning and where they can quickly put their fingers on resources that will enable them to explore Keats’s “realms of gold” in forms both traditional and novel (pun intended). Assuming that space and cost issues aren’t go to become any less pressing for schools, e-books and other kinds of digital resources will have to live side by side in the information centers that school libraries have always been and will continue to be.
It should not be seen as a matter of books versus electronic media, or encyclopedias and periodicals versus coffee machines and iPad carts. It’s a matter of balancing curricular needs, budgets, digital resources, and the need to maintain a robust and useful collection of physical books to support students and teachers in their work by providing access to what they need. There is new, ever-evolving, and highly mixed terrain in research and reading that school libraries—whatever they may come to call themselves; at my school The Facility Formerly Called The Library is now the “BiblioTech”—will have to prepare students to navigate.
It should actually be kind of fun, once we get used to the idea—a richer, more varied experience; at its best a visit to a New Library could be like surfing the web, only in physical space, with resources that tantalize the user into further exploration, in multiple media.
And you will still be able to enjoy the heft, look, and smell of a good book when you need to.
So, who is thinking about new directions for your school's library?
The 11 Things:
- Design Thinking. What-ing? DONE HERE
- Data-informed decision-making DONE HERE
- Collaborative learning and (related issue) project design DONE HERE
- Smart assessment of student learning DONE HERE
- Social media—for advancement DONE HERE
- Social media—in the classroom DONE HERE
- New directions for your library DONE
- Online learning
- Strategic professional
- Shorter horizons for strategic thinking
- Being Green