Library Without Walls

As posted on BCTLA Forum…

As an old geezer, I have seen just about everything. I was studying educational technology when my school had only computer. I went through a major educational project, Year 2000. Huge dollars and great talent went into the research and implementation strategy.  ‘Developing Independent Learners’ was so exciting.  Many teacher-librarians were involved in writing and delivery.  It died with a single pen stroke.  It is now 2010. The principles in DIL are terrific by my assessment. I wept when this project was unilaterally frozen. Then we saw the huge push for ‘literacy’.  Even Obama’s recent report outlines the failure of the US literacy campaign. Our kids do not read any better just because some ambitious educators/politicians need a new project to sell. Now it is 21st Century learning. I am sorry, but no one knows what 21st C learning looks like.  It is only the first decade. The world changes too fast.
‘Learning Commons’ is just another phrase to reflect our desire for comprehensive service. The ‘Library’ used to be called a ‘Resource Centre’. Not a single teacher, parent or student called it the Resource Centre. Not one student, teacher or parent will call IT the learning commons.  Our cultures call it a library. We don’t need apologies for that simple fact.  We need not all change terms because we change pedagogy.

A room with beautiful lighting and sensiblely designed spaces is nice but the major force for real learning is trained motivated teachers working with trained motivated librarians. Online delivery, virtual worlds, eschool, whatever, are all terrific assets but not the solutions. Kids will not become educated unless plenty of reading and thinking occur. Like Karen Lindsay writes, ” both research and instructional design are more demanding than ever before”.  This wonderful new Coquitlam school is now the envy of educators and media. Check it out in a few years when there is no TL at home and the smell of the new car has faded.

The people in the space make an impact. The little one room school house educated plenty of citizens because one fabulous teacher helped kids read, think and imagine.  I am blessed with a beautiful space, collections, staffing and funding. Our Library would still be miserable without honest professional relentless service from old geezers who loves teens.  A library is more than a place. It is a community. Learning Commons? Sure. Library? Just keep working hard to maintain educational rigour, regardless of your resources and kids will benefit.

I am so glad to share this forum ( bbs, discussion group,
listserv…whatever) with so many amazing and intelligent teachers. This is
an example of how the new technology is able to stretch our thinking as long
as the discourse has mindfulness. You folks sure do.  Thank you. Like Diane
says, AMEN!


About LiterateOWL

photographer, outdoorsman, bird watcher, dog lover, amateur artist and retired teacher-librarian...
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