Thursday, August 6, 2009


In Teach Naked, I shared an article which advocated abandoning technology as a classroom tool.

It seems that other "transformations" are being considered.

In Is the book closed on school librarians? we learn about a decision by the Las Virgenes Unified School District to replace six teacher/librarian jobs with three "media specialist" positions due to budget considerations.
"Dan Stepenosky, LVUSD assistant superintendent of personnel, said the positions were based upon 'a hybrid of skills and services that were previously performed by the technology teachers on special assignment and school librarians.'"

His district hopes to
  • cut costs
  • focus on technology and 21st Century skills
  • collaborate more closely with public libraries

All of the above are worthy goals. However, I wonder about the "traditional" school library services that might be lost:
  • guidance in book selection
  • time-of-need reference assistance
  • "extras" like book clubs, book fairs, story time, and other literary-themed activities
Teaching research skills is only part of a library professional's job description. For many students - and staff members - the school library remains a place to gather, read, dream. It's a literary refuge as well as a hub of information. It should be run by someone who understands all the resources required to produce literate, articulate, informed graduates: a librarian.

"The color" by Changing World Photography"


Brent R Jones said...

Libraries are so last century. Give me a netbook with inexpensive ubiquitous broadband internet connection (3G/WiFi/WiMax) and get out of my way.

diane said...


Don't throw the baby out with the washwater! I love my connected life, but I still get great pleasure browsing the stacks and reading printed books in RL.

Libraries aren't just about research, IMHO.

Debbie said...

I think of a librarian as dealing only in books and a media specialist being more broad, so replacing the former with the latter doesn't alarm me. Am I misinformed? What *is* the difference between a librarian and a media specialist? And should there BE a difference? Maybe those areas need to be merged, so there is so much more media used in so many more varied ways these days?

Brent R Jones said...

I think that librarians are media specialists and are becoming more adept at electronic/network content and means of connection.

diane said...


In NYS, librarians who work in schools are certified as "School Library Media Specialists."

As Brent implied, librarians who stay current with trends in education and information fluency are already incorporating technology in their professional lives.

I believe that "media" is a very broad term that includes modern and traditional information sources...including books.

And Brent, thanks for being the Devil's Advocate ;-)

bookwoman said...

My MLS is in Information Science, my job title is Library Media Specialist, and I call myself a librarian...I think Changling is more accurate. We morph. Truth be told my lesson plans are more technologically based than traditionally library based, but I spend a lot of time helping students select the appropriate book for their reading needs.
My generation's challenge has been to blend the past with the present and bring library users kicking and screaming into the 21st century so the next generation librarian can carry them forward. Diane certainly succeeded at this task, the jury is still out on me!

diane said...


You model the best of both worlds: traditional literature and research knowledge paired with an awareness of the power and utility of technology.

We don't want to discard "library skills," just help them to evolve!

I think the "jury" will find you guilty...of being an effective modern library media specialist ;-)