My district is slowly making the shift with a one-to-one initiative. This year the middle school provided laptops for every student in the building, with the plan that the high school will follow within a year or two. What does this mean for the high school library and for my role as its librarian?
Currently, the library is known as a hub for computers, among its many roles. Many times throughout the day students are coming in to use a computer, teachers are scheduling classes for computer time, and testing is done for the new technological requirements. The list seems endless…
One may ask, what if teachers no longer schedule lessons in the library because they no longer need computers? Of course there are times when a teacher does not want or need any of my assistance or input, in which the class is solely in the library for internet and computers. But, there are also times where they need my assistance and instruction. Almost every class, if not all, does some kind of research paper/project, and for this they need the library and/or its resources. Many of our students need instruction and demonstrations on how to properly conduct online research, how to identify a reliable resource, and how to best utilize our databases at their disposal. This is when my role comes in. Even if the classes do not visit the library once they have their own laptops, that does not mean my role is irrelevant. I plan on “visiting” classrooms and conducting my lessons there, which may actually optimize student concentration.
So when every student is provided with their own laptop, what does this leave for the library? (Teachers already have their own laptop to use.) I would be lying if I said my first thought was not panic when I heard of the digital shift. But once I had a moment to process, I realized the library’s value does not solely live within the restraints of “computer lab.”
Let’s begin with the basics–the actual room itself. The library offers a central location for students and staff alike to come together and work on a common goal. Students, who have no intention of using a computer, visit the library all day long. When a student needs space on a larger table to work creatively, they come to the library. Staff meetings are held in the library. Make-up work is finished in the library. Once again, the list seems endless…
This simple fact brought peace of mind. Additionally, the library hosts after school activities: staff meetings, club meetings/events, library events, etc. This is on top of the special events I host during unique times of the school year, such as Banned Book Week, Teen Read Week, etc.
I realized that there is no need to panic or worry–the library’s sole value is not its computers. The one-to-one shift will be happily welcomed, not feared.