Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Keeper of Books?

This is what a 21st century school library looks like. Check it out! 

When asked what I do, my reply is usually, "I'm a school media specialist." Then I wait. I know it's coming. Assumptions: "Oh, you're a librarian. You check out books." That's about the time I bite my tongue, smile, take a deep breath and try to explain what it is that we media specialists really do and why it is, in fact, the best job in the school.

The role of the media specialist in the 21st century has changed drastically in just the past 10 years. Hey, it's changed drastically in just the past 2 years! As technology continues to change at lightening speeds, the role of media specialist evolves and changes continually too. Long gone are the days as the keeper of the books. Much of the role of a media specialist today revolves around technology and staying current on all the latest, ever changing resources that are becoming increasingly available to the entire learning community. The 21st century media specialist has the unique role of bringing the vast array of resources (both print and digital) to teachers and students while equipping them with the training and skills needed to be effective and responsible users and sharers of information. Even with all the changes in school library media, one thing remains constant: the challenge and joy of fostering in students (and adults!) a genuine love of reading. The wise school library media specialist meets students where they are by using digital media, Web 2.0, and other new technologies to spark student interest in the old fashioned art of reading a book. 

Last spring I had the opportunity to observe Andy Plemmons, Media Specialist Extraordinare, at Barrow Elementary School in Athens, GA. Mr. Plemmons blends information literacy, new technologies and a love for reading into his media lessons in a way that sparks students' interest and makes learning fun. You can almost feel the excitement these students have about learning in Mr. Plemmon's monthly media center report. Check it out!

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