The way students read, write, and access information has changed rapidly in our growing digital world. To meet the needs of 21st-Century learning, the role of the librarian is changing and libraries are transforming to better meet the needs of students. They are converting into flexible learning spaces to encourage the gathering and sharing of knowledge. Librarians continue to inspire a passion for learning and are also incorporating teaching strategies for students to navigate the digital world. Librarians encourage students’ learning in the following ways.
Provide Personalized Reading
Students learn differently, and a one-size-fits-all approach is not effective. In cooperation with the classroom teachers, librarians provide personalized reading recommendations for each child. Knowing the students’ interests is essential to connecting them with books they enjoy on the appropriate reading level. Librarians help students to find books that will engage them whether in print, eBook, graphic novel, or audiobook form. The top priority is to help children find books that hook them and promote a love of reading.
Balance Print and Digital Resources
Information is limitless in today’s world, making it challenging to navigate our countless resources. Librarians provide a balance of physical and digital texts based on the school-wide community needs. They teach students the value of quality resources and how to use them effectively.
Create Flexible, Collaborative Spaces
The library is a hub of learning. Library learning spaces should be filled with comfortable furniture that provides areas to read and work collaboratively or quietly. The furniture can be moved to encourage group discussions. In this way, the library provides a positive learning environment for all students.
Support Information Literacy and Digital Literacy Instruction
Information and digital literacies are essential skills for academic success and lifelong learning. Librarians teach students about how to find information that is high quality and accurate. Also, they teach students how to be positive and effective digital citizens by using technology in appropriate ways, such as how to be safe and responsible online.
At Sanford, we have three libraries for each of our divisions. our librarians work closely with the community to provide the best learning opportunities. Students and teachers can request books and other resources to add to the library collection anytime. Instruction progresses from a focus on literacy to research skills and study habits. Librarians work closely with teachers to develop these skills in collaboration with the teacher. Sanford also provides access to the UDLib/Search program, a partnership with the University of Delaware and the State of Delaware Department of Education, which provides over 50 databases. These databases provide articles, eBooks, images, videos, maps, multimedia resources, and information from encyclopedias available at school and at home.
Sandy Sutty is the Technology Integration Coordinator and Upper School Librarian at Sanford School. She has a Master's in Science in Instructional Technology and Library Science and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She is also a member of the advisory board of the UDLib/SEARCH program.