Throughout my career, I’ve had the good fortune to work in various capacities as a librarian and with all levels of learners, from kindergarten through doctoral students. Presently, I’m a school librarian at North High School in Downers Grove, Ill., where I have the good fortune to be one of three full-time librarians in a school that serves 2,200 students. Additionally, I teach an online course called “Introduction to Libraries and the Information Age” at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Whether or not technology is your favorite part of being a school librarian, there are simple ways to increase your value by connecting with teachers and offering assistance. Use your “librarian reference interview” skills to listen, ask questions, and offer suggestions.
Here are a few practical examples of how I help teachers integrate technology to positively impact student learning. Use them as examples or encouragement for growing your program.
1. Attend department meetings to inform and learn.
I begin each school year attending department meetings at which I make connections with teachers, learn about their department goals, and share the new and exciting things the library has to offer.
Making this connection led to a virtual reality lesson with freshmen and AP biology classes. Students used the library’s Android devices and VR viewers to experience the inside of plant cells from a playlist I curated; they had an immersive 3-D perspective unimaginable from a microscope slide or hard copy. Incidentally, I learned to never underestimate the value of being “seen.” Wheeling the devices down the hall sparked curiosity among teachers and students that resulted in additional opportunities.
2. Keep the tech simple.
Our school sets aside two hours each Monday for teachers to meet in professional learning communities (PLCs); often, the PLCs ask a librarian to attend. When I joined physical education teachers on to discuss assessment tools for a two-day lesson on eating lifestyles, I learned they wanted a straightforward research lesson involving simple technology.