School librarians might be the part of the educational system best suited to adapt their skills quickly to helping today’s students maximize the value of digital opportunities. Through their training, librarians have learned how to organize information, judge the credibility of information, and determine what a student needs by questioning him or herthe three things that teachers need to do to help students learn online.
Librarians today should be seen as holding many roles in a school:
1. Teachers: Helping students to decide what information they need, find that information, judge its credbility, and ultimately use it.
2. Instructional partners: Collaborating with educators to create projects that will test students’ skills and broaden their experiences, as well as meet state or local learning standards.
3. Information specialists: Finding information quickly online.
4. Program administrators: Helping to design and create media/information technology centers and sharing limited and (inevitably) overbooked resources.
5. Publishers of information on using the web.
6. Family resource advisors: Helping to ensure that skills learned at school are used at home, too.
Educational programs for librarians should stress that librarians must fulfill all of these roles, particularly in matters of encouraging students and teachers to use the web for projects. Anecdotal evidence suggests that when students become interested in using the web, teachers soon followand librarians often can affect this change by “hooking” students first.
The author commends several web sites for giving information about how librarians are fulfilling these many roles and for providing examples of projects that librarians and educators can perform together. The following are some of the sites she recommends: http://www.ala.org/ICONN, http://www.teleport.com/~hametm/oii/search.html, http://school.discovery.com /schrockguide, http://www2.widener.edu/wolfgram-memorial-library/inform.htm, and http://www.4j.lane.edu/safety.