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"By reconceptualizing our library, our teachers and students now have better access to vast digital resources for research and learning. But they need more help from librarians to navigate these resources, so we have also increased our library staff by 25 percent. ... Many classes continue to use printed books, while others use laptops or e-readers. It is immaterial to us whether students use print or electronic forms to read Chaucer and Shakespeare."

Statement by James Tracy, headmaster at Cushing Academy, defending the decision to transition their library to a digital model. Excerpted from Will School Libraries Go Book-less? (Feb 2010). Good.

man doing experimentYou may spend your library media career working in a single library or dozens of different schools. How do you keep your mind open to new possibilities? How do you maintain the thirst for learning? The key is to embrace change.

In the late 80s and 1990s, many articles and books were written about change, the change process, and dealing with change. In this new century, it seems that change has become the standard rather than the exception.

Most library media specialists have found that if they don't change, they risk having their budgets slashed or their positions eliminated. Rather than protest, most media professionals have chosen to become leaders of change. As a change agent, a teacher librarian has more control of their future.

According to Peter Drucker (1999) in his book Management Challenges for the 21st Century, "to thrive in the new millennium, managers must do more than adapt to change: they have to lead it." Drucker further points out that being a change leader "requires the willingness and ability to change what is already being done just as much as the ability to do new and different things. It requires policies and procedures that make the present create the future."

eye means readRead Spencer-Smith, Angelo (Sept. 2008). Understanding How & Why People Change Their Behavior. Transition Penwith (Wiki)
Brief explanation of the Stages of Change model - the stages we go through to change.

Read Asselin, Marlene and Doiron, Ray (Jan 2008). Towards a Transformative Pedagogy for School Librarians 2.0 (PDF document). School Libraries Worldwide; 14(2).
Looks at the need to critically question long held tenets of school libraries and to create a new research-based vision that will accord with the current economic and social directions driving educational change.

Also read Morris, Betty (May / Jun 2005). The Emerging School Library Media Center From the Past into the Future: A Keynote Article (Access requires login). Knowledge Quest; 33(5), 22-6.
The author proposes changes that are in store for future school librarians or as she prefers "cybrarians." Use the article as a basis for considering what changes you expect to see in the next decades. What is your vision for the future?

Read Valenza, Joyce (Oct 2010). Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians. Teacher Librarian.
You know you are a 21st century librarian, if you . . . ideas from a long-time proponent of the need to change the way we are doing things in school libraries.
Related Resource:
Revised Manifesto (Dec 2010) by Joyce Valenza

Nov 2009, Andra Brichacek posed the question, "Do Schools Still Need Brick-and-Mortor Libraries?" in ISTE's Leading and Learning with Technology. Read the responses to her question (2012) by Doug Johnson and Keith Mastrion at Point / CounterPoint: Do Schools Still Need Brick-and-Mortar Libraries?

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How do you facilitate change?

It's not easy to implement a program that involves changing current practice. How do you convince teachers to get involved with new programs and projects? Why are they so resistant to change?

eye means readRead Hartzell, Gary (Mar 2003). Change? Who Me? (Access requires login). School Library Journal49(3), 41.
Learn why it's not uncommon for educators to resist innovations.

Read Hartzell, Gary (Apr 2003). Irresistibly Yours (Access requires login). School Library Journal49(4), 43.
Explore proven strategies to overcome opposition to change.

Read Hartzell, Gary (Jun 2003). Taking the Initiative (Access requires login). School Library Journal49(6), 39.
Learn five proactive strategies for expanding your influence.

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Where do you find innovative ideas?

As you gain experiences, it's likely that you'll win and lose battles with teachers and administrators. You'll work hard for grants and manage successful projects. However after a few months or years, it's easy to get in a rut. How do you find innovative ideas?

Many innovative programs start with an idea or thought based on an article you read or a conference session you attend. You may model your activity on this innovative program or adapt the idea for your situation.

eye means readRead Davis, Pam (Mar 2004). The Honor System (Access requires login). School Library Journal50(3), 41.
This library that encourages kids to take books without checking them out. What do you think? Which would be harder for you: (a) changing the checkout policy, or (b) starting a new program?

Also read A Jolt of Java @ Your Library (Oct 2005) and Jolt of Java - Revisited at Doug Johnson's site: The Blue Skunk Blog.

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Words of Wisdom

The teacher librarian must embrace and even lead change, along with being ready for the demands of an evolving profession. In order to do that, teacher librarians need to be visionaries. They need to be able to imagine what the future holds in technology and school library media centers three to five years down the road. They need to be planning for those changes instead of just concentrating on the now.

eye means readRead Stephens, Wendy (Fall 2013). For Every Learner, Everywhere, All the Time: The Future of School Libraries. (PDF document). Young Adult Library Services; 12(1), 4-8.

View the video, Today's Libraries, from the Video Vault of Henrico County Public Schools, VA.
Imagine how schools and school libraries will change in the decades to come.

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Check Your Understanding

"In the practical day-to-day world of K-12 education and school libraries, school librarians, and teachers must make choices about how to best help students to learn. It is essential to know what strengths twenty-first-century students bring with them, what information-seeking skills are already fairly well developed."

Excerpted from Dresang, Eliza T. and Koh, Kyungwon (Summer 2009). Radical Change Theory, Youth Information Behavior, and School Libraries (PDF document). Library Trends; 58(1), 26-50.

eye means readRead and listen to Antolini, T. (Nov. 9, 2009). Digital School Library Leaves Book Stacks Behind. NPR.
An elite boarding school in Ashburnham, MA, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars renovating its library. But Cushing Academy wasn't just redoing its walls and carpets; the school also got rid of the actual, physical books in favor of going digital.

Also read Valenza, Joyce and Johnson, Doug (Oct. 1, 2009).  Things That Keep Us Up at Night (Access Requires Login). School Library Journal; 55(10), 28-32.
The library, as we once knew it, may no longer be relevant. School librarians, as we once knew them, may no longer be relevant. And, yet, this is undoubtedly the most exciting time in history to be a librarian.

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Make It Real

You have already read The Honor System by P. Davis (Mar 2004) in School Library Journal. This library encourages kids to take books without checking them out. What do you think? Which would be harder for you: (a) changing the checkout policy, or (b) starting a new program?

Is it harder for you to change the way you do something now or try something new? This idea has tremendous implications for your ability to be a leader of change. What are your hopes and fears related to change in the library media center.

Write about a "far out" idea for any aspect of the library media program. Think "big". Think "radical." What program policies and procedures might be impacted by your program? What do you see as your personal barriers to change? What are the barriers you see for administration, teachers, and students? How would you address these concerns and convince them that this innovative idea will work?

Along with the idea, you need to provide a professional connection. Is your idea based on an article, conference session, or maybe a personal experience? Which of the "notable" people on our list do you think would support your idea? Why? What evidence in the literature supports your approach?

You'll only get 2 points if your idea is truly innovative.

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Read More About It

Harris, Christopher (Mar 2009). The Digital Question. AASL Blog.
Reaction to the Dean of a major research library (IUPUI) stating that there would be no more books in academic libraries three years from now?

McKenzie, Jamie (Apr 2002). Beware the Visionary. From Now On; 11(2).
Sometimes they ride into town on white horses. "Let's become the first laptop school (or state) in the nation!" Next thing you know, life is full of change and churn - not all for the good.

McKenzie, Jamie (Nov 2003). The Chum Artist Cometh. From Now On.
Education is beset by self-proclaimed futurists, gurus, seers and prophets who warn of dire consequences for those who fail to climb aboard the latest educational-management fad or bandwagon.

McNamara, Carter. Organizational Change and Development. Free Management Library.
Information attempts to provide some basic perspective about the concept of organizational change.

Menefee, Melonie. (Aug 2009). The Changing Library (PDF doc, Access requires login). American School Board Journal; 196(8), 32-35.
The article discusses the importance of having a successful library media center. It mentions that problems among libraries arise because of the lack of trained library media specialists, to oversee the needs of the facility.

Oldford, Rhona (Feb 2002). Why Institutionalization has Failed (Access requires login). Teacher Librarian; 29(3), 8.
Written from a Canadian perspective, article poses that teacher librarians are using a school-based continuum of information skills and strategies as a reference point for collaboration with teachers. Institutionalization has failed because of a lack of support. Here are suggestions for improving the situation.

Safford, Barbara R. (May 2004). Pondering the Virtual School Library Media Center (Access requires login). School Library Media Activities Monthly; 20(9), 32-3.
The lack of pervasive accessible technologies, compatible database structures, digitized standard resources, and funding is delaying the emergence of the virtual school library media center. Until it does emerge, K–12 school library media centers must use tools currently available to teach students how to conduct intelligent searches and critically evaluate the relevance and accuracy of the material found.

Case Study
:
Walter, Virginia A. (Jan 2002). Lindbergh Takes Off (Access requires login). School Library Journal; 48(1), 46.
Thanks to librarian Helen Cox, Lindbergh Middle School's media center is the nation's most improved library serving young people.

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