Why school librarians are critical to digital learning

By Dennis Pierce, Editor in Chief, @eSN_Dennis
December 19th, 2013

A new Follett-sponsored initiative aims to raise awareness of how important school librarians are to ed-tech success


‘It makes sense that, in this Age of Information, we’d want to align our information specialists with the digital conversion taking place in schools,’ Edwards said.

School librarians are critical to the success of digital learning initiatives, and they deserve a place at the table in discussions about digital learning: That’s the message behind a new awareness campaign that targets K-12 superintendents and other senior school district leaders.

“Too many people still see school library programs in kind of a stodgy way. They need to change that mindset and think of a school library almost as the ‘research and development’ center in a school,” said Susan Ballard, a former librarian for the Londonderry, N.H., schools.

Ballard now teaches in an online library science program at Simmons College, and she is the immediate past president of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). While she was the organization’s president, she collaborated on an initiative called Project Connect, which aims to give school librarians a stronger voice in the planning and implementation of digital learning programs.

Sponsored by Follett and launched at AASL’s national conference in Hartford, Conn., last month, Project Connect grew out of an idea from Todd Litzsinger, Follett’s president of K-12 content and services.

To help lead the project, Litzsinger brought together stakeholders such as AASL, the nonprofit organization Digital Promise, and school district leaders such as Mark Edwards, superintendent of North Carolina’s Mooresville Graded School District and the current Superintendent of the Year.

Getting school librarians “to have a stronger voice” in the transition to digital content and instruction is important, Litzsinger said. He added: “Often, they get overshadowed in the decision making process—but they really hold the key to making all this work.”

(Next page: How school librarians have made a big impact in Mooresville, N.C., schools)

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4 Responses to “Why school librarians are critical to digital learning”

PPS Houston, TX » Blog Archive » Parent Weekly | December 27, 2013
December 27, 2013

[…] Are School Librarians Necessary? “As the ‘information experts’ in a school system, librarians have always helped students choose appropriate resources and distinguish good sources of information from bad ones, said Karen Cator, chief executive officer of Digital Promise, which supports ed-tech innovation. “That’s becoming even more important as we have this deluge of information today…” This message enforces the need to continue the practice of adult guided research and investigation for grades K-12. […]

Virtual Schooling In The News | Virtual School Meanderings
December 28, 2013

[…] this edition: Why school librarians are critical to digital learning—and Five must-have tools for social studies instruction.Happy holidays, Dennis Pierce, Editor in […]

School LIbrarians’ Importance in Digital Learning | WGBY Education
January 10, 2014

[…] center in a school,” said Susan Ballard, a former librarian for the Londonderry, N.H., schools. Read more of Pierce’s […]