Yet, there is one (often underutilized) role within the education ecosystem that has the opportunity to emerge and be seen in the manner in which they’ve desired—as a leader. During this crisis, now’s the time for every district to sit up and take notice of the school librarian and their expertise.
Five years ago, Follett facilitated an opportunity for a group of library leaders to partner with the U.S. Department of Education and the Alliance for Excellent Education to design the Future Ready Library framework. As you look at the components of a Future Ready School, like robust infrastructure, a good librarian can help deliver robust infrastructure by “Ensuring Equitable Digital Access.”
In fact, nearly every edge of the wedge in the Future Ready Library framework describes ways in which a librarian can be a sought-after strategic partner as districts dive into eLearning:
• Cultivates Community Partnerships
• Invests Strategically in Digital Resources
• Ensures Equitable Digital Access
• Facilitates Professional Learning
• Curates Digital Resources and Tools
• Builds Instructional Partnerships
• Leads Beyond the Library
As schools and districts scramble to identify resources to share with parents and students, I’d encourage every media specialist and librarian who reads this article to use this as an opportunity to have a conversation with your principal. And every district leader researching eLearning resources should call your librarian.
This is a time of uncertainty and fear, but educators can have confidence in that many of the resources and tools you need, you already own, and chances are your librarian can help you uncover them and what they can do. Students can access eBooks, databases, and safe-search tools districts have already purchased. Even if you haven’t yet invested in eBooks, we’re seeing examples of schools getting creative, including those that offer drive-up library services where students place a print book on hold and come pick it up at the school so they have books at home.
In a world where the future is uncertain, it’s up to all of us to maximize the resources we have at our fingertips. Let’s use this crisis as an opportunity to maximize the content in the library your school has already purchased… and the person already on your payroll who can provide teachers, parents, and students with the right tools to navigate a new world.