Across the country, in April, communities celebrated School Library Month, which was themed “Because School Libraries Empower Students.” The 2017 theme couldn’t be more apt.
Today, school librarians not only partner with educators to design curricula and teach students to protect their privacy, they also actively engage students in critical thinking and use new technology in the library in hundreds of innovative ways.
Specifically, research by the American Association of School Librarians, (AASL), a division of the American Library Association, shows these library technology trends:
- 85% of school librarians answer questions about technology tools
- 66% participate with teachers in professions learning communities
- 33% train teachers how to locate and evaluate digital content
What are the latest library technology trends?
Despite budget cuts, new technology in the library is in high demand. Librarians are seeking out professional development opportunities and grants, allowing them to continue taking a leadership role and helping students to evaluate what is good quality information in all sorts of formats.
These are key library technology trends:
1. Future Ready Librarians (FRL)
The idea that all schools can and should have equitable access to trained librarians, digital resources and books is gaining ground. This year, FRL is holding eight regional training institutes at schools from Denver to Detroit.
The institutes each focus on connecting librarians with library technology trends, including more information on curating digital resources and tools, determining what to invest in and empowering students as creators and building instructional partnerships.
2. New Media Mentors
Although students understand a great deal about devices and screens, they are not necessarily media literate. “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one,” said author Neil Gaiman.
No doubt this is why the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), refers to school libarians as “media mentors.” Librarians are managing new technology trends at school libraries, including real-time monitoring.
3. The Maker Movement 2.0: Using Technology to Engage Students
In school libraries, students (and their families) have the time, space and opportunity to get creative, even if they are not connected digitally at home. Teen librarians at the Durham County library bridge the digital divide through MakerLab@Main, which offers 3D printing classes programming.
Some schools are using Mobile Maker Spaces, production carts outfitted with an iPad Pro, professional lighting, mics and various items to aid in the production of everything from short films to podcasts.
4. Student Safety, Software & More
Experts say that a clear library technology policy, often called an Appropriate Use Policy (AUP), can help schools to improve mobile and online safety and make acceptable use of online materials clear. Scholastic offers librarians a summary of what to include in an AUP.
Software can help identify keywords used in students searches and online communication that indicates possible incidences of bullying, grooming, self-harm or radicalization.
5. Good Use of Resources and Budgets
School librarians who teach digital skills and technology in the library report that the sheer volume of information and resources available online can be overwhelming to students.
With more than 60 percent of teachers reporting that digital technology makes it harder for students to find and use credible information, according to the AASL, librarians need to be able to coordinate with teachers and system administrators to make informed decisions about who, when, where and how technology resources are being used.
This information is courtesy of Impero Software, which offers remote monitoring and management software that is relied upon by education establishments around the world, www.imperosoftware.com.