Model the effective and appropriate use of print and digital resources to help answer questions and find solutions.
A group of librarians met in 2010 to discuss the future of school librarians and at the core of their discussion was the need to make libraries relevant in the future. These librarians determined, in order to do this, the goal behind their group would be to change the face of librarianship in the 21st century. Their mission, to help librarians around the globe “ensure that students are effective users and producers of information and ideas” (Bartow, 2010). While this may sound like a lofty ambition, one simple action comes to mind that will help me personally make this goal a reality: turn my screen so it is easily accessible to both myself and my patrons. When a student comes in a with a question, I do not simply provide the answer, I invite them to stand next to me and walk them through how to find the solution.
Not only will this allow me to model the behavior I am hoping to see in my students, it also touches on a number of other elements in my mission statement:
- model a love of learning and discovery;
- demonstrate my passion;
- allow students the ability to collaborate, create, and explore;
- and create an authentic experience (Todd, 2014).
When reflecting on my mission statement, I added, “I am very transparent with my students, I want them to know that I do not have all the answers and that we are all on the same journey of exploration and discovery” (Todd, 2014). I demonstrate this transparency by openly sharing with my partons that I do not, in fact, know all the answers, but I am persistent in finding the resources that will allow me to discover the answer. Joyce Valenza, teacher-librarian and frequent contributor to School Librarian Journal discusses the importance of transparency in the classroom through blogging, “Along the way, peers, mentors, teachers, and librarians can follow the process [and] cheer the student researcher on” (Valenza, 2007). While I may not be blogging with my students, the idea of allowing my students to watch as I make mistakes and experience success, carries the same weight.
Traditionally, a patron comes to a librarian with a question, the librarian finds the answer and the patron walks away until they have another inquiry. I think the traditional model is doing a disservice to the patron, as the old proverb states, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” (“Respectfully Quoted: a Dictionary of Quotations”). I think this saying certainly rings true in education; instead of giving my students the answer to their question, I walk them through the process of how I arrived at that answer and allow them to practice their own strategies in locating information. With that, I believe that strong information literacy skills, taught from a young age through modeling, prepare children for a lifetime of self-sufficient exploration and success.
The simple act of turning my screen and making it accessible, breaks down a barrier and opens up both the process and the relationship to one of transparency and collaboration. In order to fulfill my mission statement, this guiding principle is essential. I feel I have already begun to model the effective and appropriate use of print and digital resources to help answer questions and find solutions, but I hope to continue that practice and learn additional ways to foster transparency and role-modeling.
Bartow, C. (Ed.). (2010, February 4). School library information and technology programs for 21st century learning. Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://schoollibrarytapestry.ning.com/profiles/blogs/school-library-information-and?xg_source=activity
Hachewsky, C. A. (n.d.). Mission statement. Retrieved November 1, 2014, from Living Libraries website: http://carolnahachewsky.wordpress.com/mission-statement/
Mission. (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2014, from Yale University Library website: http://guides.library.yale.edu/content.php?pid=445257&sid=3709946
Mission, signatures, and vision. (n.d.). Retrieved October 5, 2014, from Seattle Pacific University website: http://www.spu.edu/about-spu/mission-and-signatures
Respectfully quoted: a dictionary of quotations. (n.d.). Retrieved November 8, 2014, from http://www.bartleby.com/73/484.html
Reynolds, T. (n.d.). Mission statements and reflections. Retrieved November 1, 2014, from Tammy Reynolds ePortfolio website: http://thelearninglibrarian.wordpress.com/letter-of-introduction/
Todd, B. (2014, November 8). The beginnings of a living, breathing mission statement. Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://beckytoddlibrarian.org/the-beginnings-of-a-living-breathing-mission-statement/
Valenza, J. (2007, September 8). Transparency and constructivism, etc. (or five good reasons to blog the research process). School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2007/09/08/transparency-and-constructivism-etc-or-five-good-reasons-to-blog-the-research-process/