5 apps to innovate school libraries

Apps can bring technology, functionality, and creativity into your school library program. Since apps are a part of our everyday lives, especially those of students, they have the power to completely change the way students and teachers think about learning—especially in the library.

In “Virtual Library Program Development,” Michelle Luhtala, library department chair, New Canaan High School, CT, reviewed an A to Z list of 50 apps to virtualize your school library program.

1. For libraries looking to take control of their social media strategies, Luhtala recommends using Buffer.…Read More

3 must-have skills for today’s librarians

Districts nationwide are looking for new and innovative ways to provide training and resources for their staff, all while keeping within a limited budget. What many administrators fail to notice is that their greatest asset is already in their building.

It’s the 21st century, and school librarians are no longer just “the keepers of the books.” Librarians and media specialists are highly trained, highly versatile staff members, whose scope of responsibilities spans all students and all subjects.

I represent library media specialists at the district level. This means that I am in charge of maintaining a district media committee for vetting district-provided digital resources, and I am also responsible for the professional development for our school librarians.…Read More

Why Gen Z needs librarians now more than ever

[Editor’s Note: This story is Part 2 of our month-long series on “What it means to teach Gen Z.” Click here to read Part 1 on Gen Z and parents. Check back every Monday in April to read the next installment!]

Librarians and media specialists are in a unique position within schools, since they are very often the person responsible for introducing students to new technologies, and are also on the front lines when it comes to connecting students to meaningful sources for research.

Today’s students have never known a world without the smartphone or tablet, and many of them have been using these devices independently since infancy. The answers to their questions have never been more than a click of a button away. In this brave new world of technological innovation and free-flowing information, librarians are now tasked with teaching these digital natives how to navigate these waters with discernment, while still taking full advantage of the opportunities these tools afford them.…Read More

6 growing trends taking over academic libraries

Spreading digital fluency is now a core responsibility of academic libraries, and Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) are poised to amplify the utility and reach of library services like never before. These are just two of the revelations part of the New Media Consortium’s (NMC) University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Chur, Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB), ETH Library, and the Association of College & Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Annual Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition.

The report, which decides the trends and technologies that will have a dramatic influence on academic libraries in the next 5 years—thanks to a panel of 75 experts composed of library leaders, librarians, technologists, industry leaders, and other key stakeholders from 14 countries—aims to help leaders seeking inspiration, models, and tactical insight around strategy and technology deployment for academic libaries.

Watch the Video Summary:…Read More

Librarians: Information literacy is a must-have skill

[Editor’s Note: This article is Part 2 of our 3-part series on information literacy. For Alan November’s Part 1 article, click here. Check back soon for Part 3.]

Nearly half of librarians in a recent survey said their libraries do not advocate for information literacy as much as they should.

The ProQuest survey of 217 librarians from higher education, K-12 schools and public libraries reveals that while 83 percent said information literacy has a large impact on college graduation rates, and though 97 percent of those surveyed said information literacy leads to success in the workforce, just 44 percent believe their libraries adequately support the skill.…Read More

Why personalized learning should start in school libraries

With personalization a growing initiative in schools, the library may not be the first thing educators think of as a resource. However, according to Michelle Luhtala, library department chair at New Canaan High School, CT, and Jackie Whiting, librarian at New Canaan High School, the library is often the best place to look for personalizing instruction through assessing, reading and making.

How Libraries are Personalized Learning Hotspots

1. Libraries can track unique student data…Read More

Are librarians the key to a Future Ready school?

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Education Technology, librarians are at the forefront of helping schools become future ready. However, too often librarians are left out of the planning process for infrastructure and devices, professional learning for teachers, and digital content strategies—areas where they often have expertise.

The Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance) launched its Future Ready Schools (FRS) initiative in October 2014 with the aim of leveraging technology and connectivity to personalize and transform learning. In June 2016, the Alliance, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, expanded FRS to position school librarians as leaders in this effort.

Michelle Luhtala, department chair of the New Canaan, CT, High School Library and a 2015 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, is a leader in helping teacher-librarians all around the country to become Future Ready.  She kicked off Season 6 of the Emerging Tech series of webinars on edWeb.net October 19th with a live broadcast from New Canaan High School on the topic of “Future Ready Librarians.” Her guests for this online discussion were Mark Ray, Chief Digital Officer for Vancouver Public Schools and Sara Trettin, Open Education and Digital Engagement Lead, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education. The broadcast was attended by 450 librarians and educators for an informative and engaging discussion with the whole audience.…Read More

12 lessons from a year in a makerspace

When Connecticut’s New Canaan High School said goodbye to students in the summer of 2015, it said hello to an ambitious new project: boxing up 7,000 books to make room for a brand-new makerspace to encourage students’ creative thinking, problem-solving and self-directed learning.

When the school’s new principal asked what library media specialists were doing with all the library’s books, and inquired about a makerspace, head librarian Michelle Luhtala knew she had a chance to do something unique with the library’s learning environment.

“Kids just come in and make what they want,” Luhtala said. “That’s the thing that is so much fun.”…Read More

Future Ready Schools heralds school librarians as leaders

New project highlights critical role school librarians play in supporting Future Ready goals

Future Ready Schools (FRS), led by the Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, announced Future Ready Librarians, an expansion of the FRS initiative aimed at positioning librarians as leaders in the digital transformation of learning.

The FRS initiative helps district leaders recognize the potential of digital tools and align necessary technologies with instructional goals to support teaching and learning.

“In today’s digital world, the school library has evolved from a place to merely check out books to one that offers opportunities for collaboration, project-based learning, and online access,” said Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise. “Similarly, librarians are now playing central roles in school leadership and working daily with students, teachers, and administrators. Through Future Ready Librarians, school librarians will be better equipped to support teachers in their transition to a digital learning environment while themselves becoming more future ready.”…Read More