Are you a Future Ready Librarian?

For 20 years, I was a teacher librarian and worked in elementary, middle, and high school libraries. In 2012, I was selected as Washington State Teacher of the Year. And for the last five years, I’ve been a district administrator, including almost two years as chief digital officer overseeing IT and educational technology operations for a district of nearly 24,000 students. To some, I represent the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse—a librarian in charge of IT.

In 2013, I was asked to be part of Project Connect, a Follett School Solutions initiative exploring the role of school libraries and librarians in 21st-century schools. That pioneering work led to Future Ready Librarians, an extension of the national Future Ready Schools initiative at the Alliance for Excellent Education. In my 2016 TEDx talk, I explore both the past and future of school librarianship, challenging educators to see librarians as innovative leaders in 21st-century schools.

Despite seeing glasses as half-full, I will acknowledge that not all school librarians are Future Ready. And yet Future Ready Librarians are essential leaders and educators in 21st-century schools. They offer students, teachers, and administrators an inimitable combination of skills and abilities. In Vancouver (WA) Public Schools (VPS), we enable and empower Future Ready Librarians. Speaking both as a librarian and a district leader, here are a few lessons learned along the way.…Read More

The New Librarian: How I use tech to build relationships

My role as a librarian at George Washington Carver Elementary in Maryland, a Title I school, started five years ago. I have watched the title “librarian” and the meaning of the word “library” change entirely over the past few years, with the role of teacher librarian melding into something that simply cannot be replaced in a learning environment. For me, it’s important to provide students with the opportunity to practice problem-solving skills to develop the self-confidence they need for a bright future.

I can’t make that happen without the help of others. With our eyes always set on the future, the library staff and I have created a learning commons that continues to evolve. To make sure we’re prepared for what lies ahead, we keep a close eye on our space and students by doing the following:

● Providing consistent structure and hands-on, engaging expectations for students each year
● Collaborating with instructional specialists and team members
● Building our makerspace and computer science program
● Writing grants to raise money to continuously upgrade the library
● Serving as curators of quality technology and other resources…Read More

The New Librarian: Using advocacy to promote leadership

[Editor’s note: Welcome to our new series, The New Librarian. In this series, we will be profiling innovative and award-winning library media specialists who will share their favorite tools, lessons, and advice. If you are or know a librarian we should write about, send a note to]  


As innovation coordinator for instructional technology, information & library media at Parkway School District in St. Louis, Missouri, Bill Bass has long demonstrated his commitment to 21st-century learning. He believes that the only way to deliver a dynamic student learning experience is by empowering his librarians to be leaders in everything they do.…Read More