Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 9 - Professional Development Training

This has been a difficult week for me to participate in class as much as I normally would.  We had MCAS this week and, as one of the coordinators for the testing, my focus was on getting prepared for that everyday.  By the end of the week, I had picked up a nasty cold that had me leaving school early and spending most of the weekend under the weather.  That being said, I feel as if this week has truly given my the opportunity to explore what I think is the future of the high school librarian/media specialist.

While it is going to continue to be important for the librarian to encourage students to read, to help them find good books to read, an to challenge them to expand their horizons through reading, it is going to be far more important for the librarian to help teachers and staff use technology effectively and intelligently with students.  Teachers are not going to have the time to explore the many different apps available to them.  Demands on their time seem to be added continually to their primary job of working with students.  It will be up to librarians to work with teachers to develop lessons around new apps and new technology.

Librarians are going to have to work to discover new apps and new ways to use them.  It will be up to the librarian to bring ideas to classroom teachers as to how these apps will make their jobs easier or allow their students an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge.  As teachers find apps, they will need to feel comfortable going to the librarian and explain what they are looking from the app.  Librarians will not be content specialists per se, but they will have to have a working knowledge of what is going on in every classroom so as to be better able to assist classroom teachers.

It may always have been the case that librarians have worked with teachers on specific assignments, but, in my experience, that knowledge has centered on a research angle: "Here is how to access the databases that we have" or "If you are looking for some information about that, you can check this site."  With the changes in technology, the responsibilities of the librarian must change with them.

The answer to the inevitable question, how does the librarian have time to do all of these things and still do the job he/she has, is the idea of constant professional development.  Librarians must use as many different kinds of social media and professional organizations as possible to remain current not only in their own specialty, but also in the specialties of the people they teach with.  They must be willing to move outside their comfort zone and learn about things that they may not feel comfortable with.  They must be willing to try and create things with any app or piece of technology that they come across.  They must be willing to put themselves out on the front lines and work to persuade/encourage others to try they otherwise would not.  It cannot be a job of sitting back and waiting for people to find them.  Librarians must be the first person to try new things and be willing to deal with the eye rolls and sighs from colleagues as they introduce new ideas.

This is how I picture my future job and I am excited for the opportunity.

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