Why Do We Need Libraries When We Have the Internet?I haven’t seen it, but I hear there is a bumper sticker that reads, “Libraries for people who can’t afford modems.” A somewhat extreme sentiment to be sure, but one that echoes these more common statements that you, as an educational leader, may have overheard: “Now that we have the on-line encyclopedia, we don’t need to buy the print version.” “Buying books is investing in an out-dated technology.
by Doug Johnson
by Doug Johnson
All the information anyone needs will soon be available on the Internet - for free.” “These on-line fees will have to be taken out of your magazine budget.” “Our new school won’t need a library media center since all the classrooms will be networked.” What motivates otherwise knowledgeable principals, superintendents, school board members and legislators to advance such ideas? Some of it is wishful thinking about ways to reduce expenditures in times of tight budgets. We are all under the gun to provide, as our financial director says, “high quality education at low bid costs.” But many question simply stem from a lack of knowledge about how teachers and learners use media center resources and what the Internet actually contains. Good teachers and media specialists understand how different resources in school library media centers are used for different purposes and how these resources are complimentary.
In schools with active, resource-based programs, the following scenarios are commonplace:
* a student comes in for a novel, and in passing an empty terminal, runs an Internet search on the book’s author to see what the author may have published recently.
* a student using the electronic card catalog to research Egypt now finds not just the books in the geography and history section, but locates books on mythology, alphabets and costumes——since a key word search turned up Egypt in the those books’ annotation fields.
* a teacher finds a brief reference to a historical figure in the electronic encyclopedia, and now checks out a print biography.
* a student doing research on a country in a print atlas requests a digitized map which can be modified with a paint program and imported into a word processed report.
* a teacher, having stirred the curiosity of his class with the tape of a satellite broadcast on plate tectonics, now wants a cartload of books on geology.
* a class doing research on diseases scatters——some students head to the print reference sources, some to the Internet terminals, some to the CD-ROM terminals, and some to the multimedia lab since no single source can accommodate all the learners in the class and each resource contains unique information. Adding technology to a media center is like a strip mall adding a new store——all the stores get more traffic and higher sales.
Experienced teachers and media specialists know that it takes newer technologies and print together to create meaningful learning experiences. This will be the case for some time. Humans are not given to simply replacing old technologies with new ones. Television did not replace either radio or motion pictures. Video photography has not replaced still photography. Computers will not replace books...... η συνέχεια του άρθρου εδώ
by David Warlick...So here’s how I answered Doug’s question. (Italicized text was added for this article) I think that this is one of the most interesting questions in education today, “Why do we need libraries (or librarians) when virtually all of the information we need on a daily basis is only a mouse-click away?” I ask the question a lot, and the answers often seem to fall into two categories. The first is about books and their special place in our culture. Why? The answers frequently seem to be personal (I like the feel and smell).
The second reason is about librarians. We need librarians to teach students how to be critical users of information — and much more. Frankly, I do not believe that either reason will fly in the face of budget cuts and an increasingly information-ubiquitous landscape. That said, I also do not believe that there has ever been a more exciting time to be a librarian. Reinvention thrills me. The traditional vision of the library portrays a place, where you go to consume content, to find information, read information, and sometimes to check it out. Certainly many, if not most, libraries have extended beyond this limited function. Yet the vision continues to be the same. As you know, I talk about literacy a lot, and try to tie it to the old and recognized structure of the 3Rs. I think it’s a good place to start, because it is about accessing, working, and expressing information (reading, arithmetic, & writing).
It seems that if the library could come to be seen as a place for all three…
* Find, access, understand, critically evaluate the appropriate information for your goal;
* Add value to the information by utilizing tools of analysis, translation, manipulation, and visualization of information;
* Compelling express ideas through the appropriate combinations of text, sound, images, video, animation; and
* Accomplish these things socially, collaboratively, and joyously.
…if the library might come to be seen more as a workshop where information isn’t so much a product, as it is a raw material (a “Kinkos for kids,” if you will), then it may remain not only viable, but an essential institution.
Why DO We Need Libraries in Schools?
by Karen Kliegman
Doug Johnson asks, (and I agree here with David Warlick) "one of the most interesting questions in education today,"~ "Why do we need libraries when virtually all of the information we need on a daily basis is only a mouse-click away?" I'd like to pose another question: Why is it that school librarians have to constantly justify their importance? We don't ask, "Why do we need classrooms when virtually all of the information we need on a daily basis is only a mouse-click away?" I suppose the quick answer is that in many places librarians are not mandated by the state, so, we see ourselves as dispensable unless we constantly advocate for ourselves. I know that here in NY, we are not mandated at the elementary level. It's incredibly frustrating that we always have to prove our worth. It's incredibly frustrating that with budget cuts, librarians are often on the chopping block. What are administrators thinking???
Why is there STILL that perception that we are nothing more than babysitters? There was a second grade teacher who once said to me, "Just read books to them, dear, that's what they really want." (I still cringe when I think of that!). Not that books aren't important! But our main focus now is on teaching students how to participate (safely) in this remix culture we live in, where they can produce and reshape information in a myriad of ways. We are information specialists - whether that information originates in books or online in both textual and visual formats. I know that in my library media center, I am having a ball showing my students different ways to express what they learn using various web 2.0 tools, connecting them to other classrooms via skype, and (usually without them knowing it) teaching them the skills to find, sort, sift, remix, and express knowledge. As David and Doug both say, this is such an exciting time to be a librarian. I know I'm having a great time...and so are my students!