Keeping the Home Fires Burning Research Technology

Is It Sustainable

UnknownIs Our Profession Sustainable?
AASL’s Past President and ODU professor, Dr. Gail Dickinson, has been asking this of everyone she meets for the past year or so. In thinking of an answer to this question, I am reminded of a contemporary Gospel song from a young Brooklyn Gospel group I used to sing with in the late 70s (yeah, going wayyyyyyy back with this one!). They only sung original music and I have to say, none of it was under copyright. We were just happy to sing and under the direction of incredibly gifted musicians. One song verses has stayed in my head over the vast span of time. When I’m ready to go in a new direction or if I’m getting ready to go through something that is pushing me through a critical turning point I can’t understand or predict outcome on, as if on cue, like the soundtrack to a movie some portion of the following verse materializes: the
Where do we go from here?
(Now that we’ve) Taken away our fears,
(And we have) Wiped away all our tears,
How do we…?
Her voicing of this question raises the verse in my head. Of course innovative thought must be applied to this answer and as we all know innovation requires a lot of risk taking and creativity. As this applies to librarianship we must look at how the innovative process works. The Apple Company is a prime example of where I’m headed. Their innovation let them to the development of the Mac computers back in the late 80s and early 90s, then they kinda of died off due to the company’s disregard of tech progress. A Business Week’s Archive states this disregard as “mind boggling!”
In a sense the school library world is going through a paradigm shift that could result in a mind boggling collapse too. Apparently others, such as doctor Dickinson thinks so too, with her questioning that focuses on the future for school librarians, and so does the new standards’ committee that has been selected to update the ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians…the standards that library education programs base their curriculum upon and that passed the scrutiny of the Specialty Areas Studies Board (SASB) of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Many have said that the new standards must reflect usage of the new rapidly changing emerging instructional tech. Librarians of today are not being trained in the efficient usage of the new technology and school district’s filters are not allowing successful BYOD usage, yet librarians are expected to integrate technology into their information skills and collaborative content lessons. In my perspective, this is a rock and a hard place for librarians, for many are ill equipped to take on this responsibility. It is my sincere hope that the new standareds to be implemented will allow for this catch-up effort with technology to be taken care of in the school library programs. So that pre-service librarians of tomorrow will not face the dilemma of the old Apple Company and find there are no positions to go to because school librarians could not keep up with the technology feed and instructional change, making it necessary to incorporated information science access and retrieval to an online course taught in modules.. Apple woke up and adjusted and I believe school library education programs will too.

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