By Lisa Perez
Learn how tech-savvy librarians are blazing
a path to student success in the digital age.
Some schools sport professionally staffed, state-of-the-art libraries that serve as centers of inquiry where students master technology and develop information literacy skills. Others languish with industrial age facilities
designed for 20th century learning, or worse yet, they have no libraries at all.
Fortunately, thousands of school librarians in recent years have acquired
the skills they need to help students and teachers fully embrace the benefits
that a modern library offers.
Joyce Valenza writes an award-winning blog for
School Library Journal called The Neverending
Search. The title is also descriptive of her library
program at Springfield Township High School in
Erdenheim, Pennsylvania, where she seeks to
identify the latest technologies and resources
to support her students’ information needs and
Springfield Township High School serves
more than 700 students in grades 8–12. The
middle-class suburban high school, located
outside Philadelphia, offers an array of AP and
honors classes. More than 90% of students
are college bound. Springfield’s inquiry-based
instructional model makes access to a robust
library program vital.
The Springfield Township Library encourages
student learning with spaces for individual work,
production, group collaboration, and presentation.
Technology is readily accessible; the library
provides more than 80 desktop computers and
various multimedia production tools. Students
Keys to Success
School libraries are an essential part of a complete school program. They
provide an equitable, fiscally responsible strategy for sharing resources
across grade levels and the curriculum while addressing core reading,
information, and technology literacies.
Let’s face it, students are still voracious readers of books in print, and
now they consume a variety of electronic formats. This makes having a
digital age library more important than ever. At no other time in history
have students needed such pronounced information literacy to effectively
navigate and use vast amounts of information. The following examples highlight the work of a handful of savvy librarians who are leveraging technology
to prepare students for a successful future.
Wendy Stephens, the librarian at Buckhorn High
School in New Market, Alabama, is preparing
her students for technological advances that we
can now only imagine. She believes “that the
searching and information evaluation skills our
students learn in school will underpin all sorts of
future information landscapes.” Stephens’ infusion
of technology in her library program does much
to prepare her students for that future. She is
certified by the National Board for Professional
Teaching Standards, received the Chiquita Marbury
Award for Technology Innovation in 2009, and is a
Google Certified Teacher, among other honors.
About 1,300 students attend Buckhorn from
nearby rural and suburban communities. The
student body is about 32% minority, and 23%
receive free or reduced-price lunch. Stephens
describes the library as contemporary and
spacious, with panoramic views, vaulted ceilings,
and skylights. The library has 14 computers,