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Librarians, educators find increased collaboration in today’s libraries

librarians-dataAs school increasingly incorporate digital technologies and strategies in classrooms, school libraries are changing, too, becoming hubs of communication, research, and technology-enabled teaching and learning.

Today’s school librarians work vigilantly to support both students in teachers when it comes to technology and digital content use, according to School Libraries in the Digital Age, a new report from EdNET Insight, published by MDR.

“Their role has really evolved, based on the inclusion of technology and the focus of the curriculum and the Common Core,” said Kathleen Brantley, director of EdNET Insight. “Those things have driven their role to change.”

(Next page: What the reports reveals about school librarians’ roles)

Sixty percent of librarians said they recommend and/or obtain Common Core-aligned instructional and resource material, 55 percent help teach students the skills required by the Common Core, 43 percent collaborate with teachers on instructional lessons aligned with the Common Core, and 30 percent help to ensure that technology infrastructure is adequate to support the Common Core.

“We knew there was a lot of technology in school libraries, but the way that it really is a hub for technology in the school—the study really validates that with quantifiable numbers,” Brantley said.

Moving forward, librarians’ overarching priority is “definitely trying to expand instructional use of digital resources—finding good digital resources and teaching others to use them,” she said.

Sixty-three percent of librarians rated expanding instruction on the use of digital resources as a high priority in the next two years, and 53 percent said the same of increasing access to digital content.

Many of today’s librarians are responsible for directly purchasing content products, including DVDs or VHS video (68 percent), audio materials (64 percent), eBook titles (60 percent), eBook readers (25 percent), apps (16 percent), and more.

School librarians also recommend a variety of technology for purchase. Thirty-seven percent of librarians recommend apps for purchase, 34 percent recommend subscription databases, 27 percent recommend tablets, and 26 percent recommend educational games, in addition to other technology recommendations.

“Being directly responsible for purchasing and/or recommending technologies gives librarians particularly high involvement in the purchases of content products,” according to the report.

Librarians work weekly, and often daily, to support students and facilitate group learning. Thirty-three percent of elementary school librarians work with students daily, compared to 15 percent of middle school and 11 percent of high school librarians. Seventeen percent of elementary school librarians work with students 2-3 times per week, compared to 23 percent of middle school librarians and 19 percent of high school librarians.

Student interaction tops teacher interaction, with just 11 percent of responding librarians saying they work daily with teachers to find and use digital resources, and only 6 percent saying they work daily with teachers to plan lessons.

However, 17 percent said they work with teachers 2-3 times per week to plan lessons, and 24 percent do the same at least once a week.

The report, written by Neal Goff, is based on December 2013 data from MDR’s EdNET Insight market research group.

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