As 3,000 librarians gathered in Columbus for the conference of the American Association of School Librarians, one thing was consistently clear: school librarians must be technology savvy.
According to national education expert Heidi Hayes Jacobs, it is the duty of school librarians to keep up with technology. The old job title of librarian just doesn’t describe what is required on the job anymore.
Jacobs told the nearly full ballroom at the Greater Columbus Convention Center that a more accurate title would be media producer, innovation lab leader, or director of research and development. In fact, she said that librarians can be considered school curriculum co-designers.
“I think you need to advertise this, that there’s a new librarian in town,” Jacobs said.
Much of the discussion of the biennial convention focused on the rapid evolution of technology, and the need to media specialists to keep up. Children 5 and younger do not know a world without the iPad.
“Just because they can get in the starship doesn’t mean they know where they’re driving,” Jacobs said. It is now part of a librarian’s job to teach kids to be savvy about media, and exercise good judgement.
Some librarians are overwhelmed by the vast amount of online apps and tools. Jacobs responded, You don’t have the right to be overwhelmed in education. … Funny, you don’t say that about books. You start with a few, and you study them.”
A further complication is that the technological change is occuring in the wake of the economic downturn, when school districts cut their librarians’ hours or replaced them with aides and volunteers.