While school librarians have strived to communicate the positive impact that school libraries, staffed with certified teacher librarians, can have on student achievement levels, the impacts of technology in the library have remained largely ignored. Research has indicated that “students in schools with technologically advanced libraries performed up to 18 percent higher on statewide tests than their peers in schools with poorly equipped libraries” (Minkel, 2002). Outfitting libraries with current technologies and training librarians to integrate these technologies is a key component in the quest to make technology meaningful in the school setting. Many schools have poured money into adding computer labs but have neglected funding for libraries. “The number of computers that offer library services—such as subscription databases and the library's automated catalog—links directly to student success on statewide tests” (Minkel, 2002). Integrating technology with school libraries is a proven way to directly impact student achievement.
The librarians of yesteryears focused on teaching reading literacy skills, but the librarians of today are using technology to teach multiple literacies for the management of information (eSchool News, 2009). Libraries “…have become school media centers with computer resources that enable children to engage meaningfully with a wide variety of information” (eSchool News, 2009). Fusing technology with the school library is taking on new forms every day. While online catalogs and databases used to be the extent of technology in the library, many librarians are now working to incorporate Web 2.0 tools. Blogs, social networking sites, podcasts, videocasts, and wikis are just some of the technology tools that school librarians are using today.
The Web 2.0 tools of today are changing the experience of the school library patron from an individual experience to a collaborative learning community. Blogs can connect students to resources, but more importantly they are offering a means to connect with other learners (Richardson, 2007). Wikis are inviting students and teachers to participate in the information experience changing the library from a place where you get information to a place that you use information (Richardson, 2007). Social networking sites such as MySpace offer librarians a way to reach into the lives of teenagers, making the library a relevant place.
Since libraries have long been a hub for information, and technology promotes the use of information, it makes sense that the education community would realize the value of integrating libraries and technology. Teachers, students, and administrators must begin to see the valuable resource that school libraries are as technology gains a primary role in education. Additionally, school librarians must see themselves as “connectors” of information and strive to bridge the gap between students seeking information and the technology that holds the information they need (Richardson, 2007).
eSchool News. (2009, November 20). School libraries key in teaching information skills. Retrieved January 30, 2010, from eSchool News: http://www.eschoolnews.com/2009/11/20/school-libraries-key-in-teaching-information-skills/
Minkel, W. (2002, December 1). Library technology raises test scores, too. Retrieved January 30, 2010, from School Library Journal: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA260694&q=technology
Richardson, W. (2007, January). Online-powered school libraries: Web 2.0 technologies are transforming the school library. Retrieved January 30, 2010, from District Administration: http://www.districtadministration.com/ViewArticle.aspx?articleid=1055