I totally agree with Rick Anderson from the University of Nevada who says we need to be putting more of our limited resources into digital collections. The students in my elementary school are more motivated to look for information on the Web than to finding that same information in a book. I want to create lifelong learners and wonder if students will even be using books, as we know them, in the future. We need to prepare our students for the future. And I agree that I want my student patrons to be able to access library material from home. And while I also agree we need to become more user-centric and make searching easier, I must disagree with Anderson’s contention that “if our services can’t be used without training, then it’s the services that need to be fixed—not our patrons.” I am sure he is talking about adult patrons of his university libraries so I will excuse him. K-12 students on the other hand, need training in using library databases, proper Internet and database search techniques, and using the various digital mediums available to them. It is up to school librarians to give students the paddles they need to navigate digital waters. In Anderson’s analogical terms, it is up to school librarians to make this happen one student-one little oar-at a time.
Michael Stephens’s article, “Into a new world of librarianship,” reads like a 21st Century librarian’s mission statement. At least it reads like the mission statement of a librarian trying to prepare students for the future. I agree that school librarians need to embrace Web 2.0 tools and teach their students which tools are worthwhile for education. Students need to be exposed to Web 2.0 tools in the classroom so that they know how to interact with such tools on their own. I love that Stephens puts the users needs first and calls for the librarian to nurture “a living, breathing technology plan.” I love that Stephens gets Librarians who embrace Web 2.0.
In school libraries Web 2.0 means we are blurring the lines between librarianship and technology integration. Librarians must be technology leaders in their schools. Library 2.0 means we need to teach our students digital library skills as well the ethical use of located information. Library 2.0 may mean our print collections become supplementary to out digital collections in the future but instead of being afraid and burying our heads in the sand we need to become informed, educate ourselves in the new technology and lead the way. Librarians need to be the one building bridges across the digital divide, and modeling what good digital citizenship looks like for our students and colleagues.