Re-imagine, Rejuvenate, Renew:
Beyond Library Media Specialist 2.0

hands on

Read the article below. Then, participate in the HANDS-ON WORKSHOP version.

Whether tracing the movement of a book character using Google Earth or video conferencing with colleagues from around the globe, there's never been a more exciting time to be a School Library Media Specialist.

brainDo you view new information technology as an opportunity to learn or a needless drain on time and money?

Do you consider a library packed with enthusiastic, engaged students exciting or overwhelming?

Do you see the Internet as a dynamic tool for extending your services or a wasteland of misinformation that should be filtered?

Regardless of your point of view, our profession is in a state of flux. Like upgrading your software or adjusting to new equipment, change can be stressful. What's your role and the role of the school library media program in meeting the needs of learners today and tomorrow?

Are you ready for the Class of 2020?

crystal ballThe Class of 2020 begins Kindergarten this year.

Without a crystal ball, it's impossible to predict what the future holds for this generation. However we can identify trends and anticipate likely changes and challenges. For instance the trend toward smaller, cheaper, and faster technology is likely to persist. We can also assume that technology will continue to become more individualized, intuitive, and interactive. It's more difficult to predict how educators and students will react to the increasingly complex web of information and collaborative opportunities available through global networks.

How can we prepare a generation of motivated questioners, thinkers, and communicators who will harness the power of information and apply it in meaningful ways?

Let's start by facing the changes and challenges through reflecting, rethinking, and reacting to our past experiences. Rather than entering a new cycle of discovery, consider ways to learn from the past and spiral to higher levels of school library programming. How can we merge our love of books with the power of graphics, audio, video, and animation? How do we balance the demands of standards with the need to develop life-long learners?

Learn more about book and technology connections at Literature Ladders.

High Tech Learning & Web 2.0

High tech learning refers to the constantly evolving hardware, software, and networking tools and resources available to those wishing to acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values through formal instruction or free inquiry. Because of the virtual nature of these digital tools and resources, high tech learning can occur anywhere, anytime.

Although not everyone agrees on the exact definition, Web 2.0 refers to the second generation of web-based tools and resources (O'Reilly, 2005). This dynamic, retooled environment provides new opportunities for high tech learning. Some of the characteristics of this new online world include:

  • A shift from single computers to interoperability and multiple device connections
  • A shift from static web pages to dynamically-generated online resources
  • A shift from closed systems to open systems and software
  • A shift from one time publishing to ongoing content creation and participation by end users
  • A shift from single authors to collaborative writing and consensus building
  • A shift from data storage such as photo sharing to social networking and commenting
  • A shift from "stickiness" (people come to your website) to syndication (you send info to the people)
  • A shift from taxonomies (standard-based organization) to folksonomies (user-based organization)

Examples of Web 2.0 Applications

LibraryThing website is a wonderful example of the potential of Web 2.0. This social network provides users an opportunity to organize their personal book and media collections as well as connect with others who share similar interests. Although originally designed for adults, this type of network has tremendous potential for school library programs encouraging students to maintain lifetime reading logs, join online book clubs, engage in literature circle forums, locate good books, and maintain an ongoing reading portfolio that can be accessed anywhere, anytime.

Annette Lamb's LibraryThing Profile and Catalog

Read What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software by Tim O'Reilly for an overview of the key ideas related to Web 2.0.

Read Overview to High Tech Learning: Libraries, Librarians & Web 2.0.

Learner 2.0

blue journeyHow are learners impacted by Web 2.0? Combining an emphasis on differentiated instruction, promoting multiple intelligences, and ensuring deep understandings, next generation learners combine technologies to meet their individual needs. For example, a "history in verse" lesson might have traditionally included reading a book of poetry and writing a paper. Today's student might read Blues Journey by Walter Dean Myers which contains an audio CD of recorded verse and music. The learner might use the PBS website to read, listen, and watch information about the history of Blue. Rather than a print product, open source software such as Audacity could be used to record their verse and share it on their blog as a podcast.


Visit Ancient Greece for an example of a project that includes a variety of student produced work and use of the discussion tool.

School Library Media Specialist 2.0

Joyce Valenza from Springfield Township High School is a wonderful example of a School Library Media Specialist who is part of the 2.0 movement. The evolution of her Virtual Library resources reflects her philosophy. Recently, she's moved toward learning spaces that incorporate learner participation and active involvement such as blogs and wikis.

Web + Learner + LMS 2.0

Combine the old with the new. Create digital booktalks, book trailers, podcast book reviews, and other high tech ways of sharing books. Check out some examples (from Teachlibrarianwiki):

Web 2.0 + Information Literacy

From inaccurate information in wikis to child predators in MySpace, much of the press about Web 2.0 has focused on misinformation and fear rather than the potential positive applications for collaboration and learning. Face the fear and frustrations by revising your information literacy curriculum to address these new, popular tools. Popular examples of Web 2.0 applications include MySpace, YouTube, SecondLife, SecondLife Teens, and GoogleEarth. Netsmartz online tools are addressing safety issues regarding these tools.

David Warlick suggests introducing students to the E's of Information Literacy:

  • Exposing the Truth
  • Employ information
  • Expressing ideas compellingly
  • Loving and protecting the truth (Ethics in information)


Re-imagine, Rejuvenate, Renew:
Three Steps to Success

woman with ideaIt's time to re-imagine, rejuvenate, and renew as we meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

As you explore each step, reflect on your past experiences. What have you learned? What will you do differently as you explore new resources, approaches, and technologies?


reimagineStep 1:
Re-imagine the Tools

In an 1929 interview, Albert Einstein stated that "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."

With the recent focus on standards and testing, it's been easy to lose sight of the greater purposes of education. A passion for learning goes beyond the skill of reading words on a page or answering math problems.

When reading Endymion Spring a new book for young adults by Matthew Skelton, my mind is filled with questions about well-known historical figures such as Gutenberg, but also the forgot contributors like Coster. Where do the facts in the book end and the fiction begin? The book generates questions and a quest for answers using electronic databases and websites.

The picture book Russell and the Lost Treasure by Rob Scotton focuses on the role of photographs in reading experiences. It's a perfect opportunity to get out the digital camera. Then, create memories and share understandings through digital photographs.

endymion springrussell and the lost treasureTom Peters

Just as children gather hammers, nails, and lumber to build a treehouse or adults organize family history documents and post-it notes for genealogy projects, high tech learners seek out resources and tools for their learning experiences. Computers, open source software, and digital cameras are just a few of the tools that can be used in learning to organize and express ideas.

Tar BeachRead the book Tar Beach about flying over Harlem. Then. write your own flight stories. Go to Google Lit Trips for ideas of how to integrate Google Earth into Literature.

Go to High Tech Learning: Tools and explore examples in each of the following areas:


Data and Illustration - InspireData




Slide Shows - Math - Develop Expert Voice Project


Looking for more ideas for re-imaging your use of resources and tools? Read Tom Peters' book Re-imagine!

Step 2:
Rejuvenate Learning Spaces

In 1859 Henry David Thoreau wrote, "It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know."

How can we build learning spaces that immerse our young people in an experience where they can develop deep understandings?

We can't send our children to visit Walden's Pond... or can we?

Whether participating in an online book club or collaborating on the development of state history wiki, learners need space to work. They also need a seamless transition from physical spaces where they can conduct experiments, manipulate objects and explore nature to virtual spaces where they can share information, discuss ideas, and create digital projects. The learner is communicating, collaborating, socializing, participating, or interacting.

Libraries, educational institutions, museums, and community organizations all play a role in facilitating high tech learning by providing access to virtual and place-based learning spaces.

E-Learning, C-Learning and Distance Learning

For the past decade we've talked a lot about e-learning environments focusing on the many technology-rich tools available to learners. However increasingly librarians and educators are referring to c-learning environments that focus on facilitating learning spaces. The "C" can stand for connection, cooperation, collaboration, construction, creativity, curriculum, and community. Rather than being restricted by classroom space, c-learning spaces encompass the natural and virtual worlds by immersing learners in authentic, active learning environments where students create, change, and experience.

The word "distance education" is becoming obsolete. No longer do librarians, teachers, and students need to think about the issue of distance as something separate from the rest of the learning community. Blended courses, wireless facilities, and virtual libraries allow facilitators to think more in terms of designing learning spaces that use a range of technologies and facilities from textbooks to video conferencing.

Learning Spaces

As you explore learning spaces, you'll begin to notice some Web 2.0 features including social technology, participatory technology, collaborative technology, interactive technology, and mashups.

Explore Cracks, Crevices, Caves: Explore Mammoth Cave with Stephen Bishop. This Literature-based WebQuest combines an exploration of the book Journey to the Bottomless Pit by Elizabeth Mitchell with social studies and science topics. Explore ReadWriteThink tools like the Letter Generator.

Jounrey to the Bottomless PitGo to High Tech Learning: Learning Spaces for examples and explore examples in each of the following areas:

Explore examples of interactivity including MyPyramid, Read Write Think Student Materials, Edheads, Design a Panda Habitat, Grapher, Lord of the Flies.

Go to the Library Arcade: Carnegie Mellon Library's Project
Have fun playing library games! Within Range & I'll Get It!

Our Learning Spaces

Move from a focus on "my library" toward a focus on "our learning spaces."

  • From Sage to Guide to Cadre of Collaborators
  • From Dictating to Participating
  • From Taxonomies to Folksonomies

enriching brainAs you design learning spaces, consider how these spaces facilitate critical and creative thinking. To learn more about enriching the brains of our young people, read Eric Jensen's Enriching the Brain.

wingsStep 3:
Renew Partnerships

In a 2003 interview with Oprah, Maya Angelou said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Revisit the standards. Go to Strong Nests, Successful Students for a review of the new information and technology standards.

Seek out resources to support these news standards. For instance, Profile Publisher from ReadWriteThink helps young people learn to create profiles for social networks, novel studies, or other activities. Also, check out the lesson ideas that go with this online tool. Check out sample profile for the character Ikarus Jackson in Wings by Christopher Myers.

Reflect on the collaborative relationships you've developed over the years. How can they be expanded? Who do you work with frequently? How can you take those projects to the next level? Who do you need to contact for new partnerships?

The Wright 3LEAD with Baby Steps

  • Listen
  • Empathize
  • Analyze
  • Decide

Build pathfinders, mini-quests and small scale projects that are realistic and can address specific learning needs.

For example, The Wright 3 project contains online activities across the curriculum.

Develop partnerships to address information age issues:

  • Intellectual freedom
  • Intellectual property, open source, & copyright
  • Collaborative authorship
  • Information evaluation and use
  • Privacy issues
  • Personal safety and responsibility

Develop partnerships to promote project relevance:

  • Real-world Tools
  • Email and IM for communication
  • Blogs and digital cameras to track process
  • Wikis for collaborative projects
  • Websites & virtual conferences for sharing

Develop partnerships to expand meaningful assessments:

  • Beyond rubrics
  • Electronic portfolios
  • Culminating projects & E-scrapbooking
  • Community involvement - art & history fairs

American Born ChineseCombine the Best of Traditional and New Technology

The Author's website includes book excerpts and a blog.

Indian YellAs you design projects, build in information age issues, project relevance, and meaningful assessments.

For example, use a graphic novel format in PowerPoint to create historical graphic novels that can be shared online as well as part of a graphic novel art fair.

Start Today

Mahatma Gandhi said that you must be the change you wish to see in the world.

High school classes in New York and Michigan teamed up to share their reflections on reading Night by Elie Wiesel. The classes blogged about their experience. Some even published their findings. Many students made comparisons regarding what is happening today in Sudan. Some of the student projects were published in An End to Intolerance (PDF) from AETI.

Are you on a path to evolution or extinction? Rather than waiting for change, be proactive and seek out opportunities to re-imagine, rejuvenate, and renew.

Developed by Annette Lamb, 8/06. This page was created as a supplement for a keynote presentation. The ideas were adapted for an article published in the MAME Michigan Association for Media in Education Media Spectrum. Updated 8/08