School and Public Libraries Work! Part 2


Or – Why should school and public libraries work together?    

Because our kids need them to do just that to help them become life-long learners.

Students and families have very different levels of resources in support of student learning needs. Some families have book and electronic materials support, broadband internet access, laptops, scanners, digital cameras and more. Other families have virtually nothing in support of their children’s learning needs.

The public library can and will act as the way to provide “equity in resources” for those families in need.

All of our schools need to be creating a challenging and motivating education that supports life-long learning. Student engagement can be encouraged and motivated by using current and emerging technology imbedded in the learning plans for our kids. Rote memorization of facts from outdated textbooks just isn’t going to make it any more. There is a whole new process and style of learning that is beginning to emerge in the education world. 

See these links to begin to understand these new education ideas: David Warlick’s – 2 Cents Worth,  the Ning social network – Classroom 2.0,  and the presentation from HeyJude – Creative Web 2.0 Learning at slideshare.

One important aspect of the new Learning 2.0 environment is the use of portable, digital information. Things like jump/zip drives and  storage sites to transfer files becomes a critical necessity. Some things to consider: 

  • Does your library have the technology in place to easily allow students to transport content?
  • Do you know which on-line resources allow for the copying of content for student use? What are the limitations?
  • Have the the customer guidelines and policies been updated to reflect these new needs?
  • Is the staff trained on these new tools?

Most school libraries must submit their next year’s budget in the early spring in advance of the coming school year. That means many school libraries operate at the very least 12 – 18 months behind the current publishing and technology cycles. This means that they will never catch up to the technology stage that many of their students are operating on. I believe public libraries have an opportunity to lead the way in this process and partnership.

What happens if public libraries don’t lead and partner with school libraries in this changing environment of Learning 2.0?

I suspect it means that for libraries – the gap – between what customers want and need vs. the content and services that libraries provide, will continue to grow. This diminishes the libraries impact and standing in the community. Do you really want this next generation of adults to grow up and believe that libraries can’t or won’t provide relevant content or services? I don’t think any of us can afford to let that happen. Library support and funding comes from the customer’s perceptions of the libraries relevance.

Once you have started your school and public library partnership (see post #1) – it’s time to move on to sharing and using some of the new Learning 2.0 ideas that both frighten and inspire you.  Our kids are our future. Let’s give them the tools and resources they need.

I will talk more about these tools in a future post of Schools and Public Libraries Work!


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