Provide students and staff with instruction and resources that reflect current information needs and anticipate changes in technology and education.
In 2009, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) developed a set of guidelines to help “define the future direction of school library programs” (p. 7) and those guidelines were then published in Empowering Learners : Guidelines for School Library Programs. When looking back on my mission statement, I realized there is one passage that I wanted to specifically target and further articulate: “[U]nearth ways to mirror what is happening in the classroom with the outside world” (Todd, 2014). This principle, as written by AASL, exemplifies precisely what I am hoping to convey to my patrons; a library experience that is rich with print and digital information, where both exposure and instruction are equally important.
I recently posted my mission statement on my blog and solicited comments from readers across the globe and one reader provided me with some very insightful feedback: “Could another librarian take your mission statement and would it represent who they are equally well? It’s like the mission statements of libraries or colleges. Many of them sound the same. We all are committed to creating lifelong learners, but how do we do that and how do we assess our success?” (Bell, S., 2014). These words resonated with me and while I may not be ready to answer those questions specifically, it did led me to ask how my mission statement reflected my role as a “digital education leader.” Much of my mission statement could, realistically, be fulfilled without the incorporation of educational technology. Yet, in order to “mirror what is happening in the classroom with the outside world,” technology needs to play a significant role in any 21st century education setting.
When I stumbled across the AASL book, I realized that in order to mirror the outside world, it is essential that I “[p]rovide students and staff with instruction and resources that reflect current information needs and anticipate changes in technology and education” (p. 12). I like how the statement is all-encompassing; it is not enough to simply provide the resources, in order for those tools to be valuable and effective, methodical instruction is a necessary component. I recently observed elementary students using iPads in the classroom and their teacher mentioned, that because introduction of that application was meaningful, the students not only learned how to use the program, but took it to an entirely different level. They are using the application in a way the teacher never imagined even possible. That is just one example of how and why “[providing] students and staff with instruction and resources that reflect current information needs and anticipate changes in technology and education” is so vitally important to their future (AASL, p. 7). We provide the opportunity and they decide what to make of it.
The next step is making this principle a living reality in my school, is determining how I move into the action stage. Librarian and School Library Journal contributor, Phil Goerner, provides readers with the following advice: “I implore [library staff to be involved] at the ground level of planning, question asking, and strategizing. What I’m finding is that while the iPad is just “another tool,” we librarians are still the best resource for a myriad of things that strengthen student achievement” (2014). It is imperative that I stand as a leader in the decision-making and implementation processes in regards to educational technology. It is my responsibility to serve as the liaison between my patrons and the world that lies before them.
American Association of School Librarians. (2009). Developing visions for learning. In
Empowering learners : guidelines for school library programs (pp. 10-32) [eBook]. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.spu.edu/lib/seattlepacific/reader.action?ppg=3&docID=10751717&tm=1416686729532
Bell, S. (2014, November 13). 15 thoughts on “The beginnings of a living, breathing mission
statement”. Retrieved November 16, 2014, from http://beckytoddlibrarian.org/the-beginnings-of-a-living-breathing-mission-statement/#comments
Goerner, P. (2014, September 12). Librarians changing instruction in the classroom with a 1:1
environment. School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/2014/09/librarians/librarians-changing-instruction-in-the-classroom-with-a-11-environment/
Program guidance statements. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2014, from Arlington
Independent School District website: https://sites.google.com/a/aisd.net/libsrv/librarians/library-policies-and-procedures/guidance-statements
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/