Back in September, Cushing Academy in Massachusetts made the news by announcing that they were removing all of the books from the library in order to make room for digital information sources. This move prompted librarians and education bloggers around the country to write and wonder about the place that print resources have in a 21st century library. A great response came from Brian Kenney, editor of School Library Journal, in his editorial from the October issue.
In this month’s issue of Teacher Librarian though, David Loertscher puts it all in perspective with this list:
Ten Things Worse Than a Library Without Books:
1. A library without a credentialed teacher-librarian.
2. A library without information in the format users prefer.
3. A library that restricts access to information in any format.
4. A library that most teachers ignore.
5. A library that most students Google around.
6. A teacher-librarian who is afraid of, or ignores the impact of technology.
7. A library that only deals in print materials.
8. A library of antiquated computers and computer networks.
9. A library where tech directors have a big sign behind their desks reading: Just say NO!
10. An empty library.
He makes a great point – what’s the point of having a library (with or without books) at all, if students and teachers aren’t using it?
In a time when information is plentiful and easy to get, users have to believe that coming to the library adds value to their information experience or they will get what they need elsewhere. What are you doing to add value to your students’ and teachers’ experiences in the library?