Laurannu's Blog

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What role does the librarian and the library play in the 21st Century? February 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurannu @ 5:41 am

We now live in a world of instant information. If you want to know about anything and everything what do you do? Look it up on the Internet of course. How does this affect our students and their learning? Libraries are not only a place to find information, but are often used by some as a place to get away to some peace and quiet to relax. I don’t think this will change, but because information is so readily available to us we now often rely on the Internet rather than take a trip to the library. What role does the library and librarian now take on? I believe that they are just as important as they have ever been, except their role is now changing.
According to the blog by Hey Jude, teachers and media specialist must work together to help students become informationally savvy. We need to work together to give students the skills they need to find, share, discuss, and create information. Students have the ability to search, work, or publish at will using text, audio, and video. Information is instantly available and free to use. Learning and teaching has now become a multimodal, multi-literacy conversation – where participation is an everyday reality. I found this quote by Mitchell Kapor so true, he says “Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” Often you will go searching for one topic and an hour later you have gotten either completely off topic or you are so overwhelmed with the amount of information you don’t know where to start. I believe it is the teacher’s and the librarian’s job to teach students how to effectively use the information and how to access quality information more efficiently.
As I was doing my research for this blog I came across an article by Joyce Valenza entitled “You Know you’re a 21st Century Librarian if…” This article clearly laid out the important skills necessary to be a librarian in the 21st Century. Here are just a few that were mentioned.

  • A 21st Century Librarian using social networking tools, they have their students blog or tweet about books they are reading and they blog.
  • Librarians realize that the library is not just a place to get stuff, it is a place to make and share stuff.
  • Librarians welcome media production – podcasting, video production, storytelling, and you welcome telecommunications.
  • As a librarian you need to organize the web for learners and have the necessary skills to create a website or wiki to pull together resources to meet the information needs of your learning community.

I think this article states everything a librarian needs to be in the 21st Century, visit the article by Valenza for more skills that she thinks is needed as a librarian in today’s world.
The last article I read was in the FDU newspaper and it stated that Librarians should guide learners to various resources in different media; they need to provide support for learning individually and in groups; and they must offer technological support systems. Students must be taught website literacy – they need to realize that not everything they find on the internet is true. They need to be taught how to find the factual information and be able to apply this crucial skill for their daily life.
As social bookmarking, blogs, youtube, podcasts, twitter, rss feeds, and wikis become the norm in the Web 2.0 world, librarians need to realize that this is the way students are now learning and be ready with the necessary tools to help the 21st Century learners succeed and be ready for today’s society.

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