Tech role of teacher librarians

Doug Johnson writes today about interactions he has had with Technology and Curriculum specialists in the past week.

In the midst of interacting with them, he writes, “Until our profession sees its primary instructional focus as teaching information and technology literacy skills, we will lack both credibility and voice in technology implementation efforts. ” I certainly don’t have statistics to support this or deny this, but I think there are many shining examples where this is occurring.  And, in the same way that teacher-librarians gain collaborative partners one-to-one, we need to do the same with the technology techs or specialists in the same way.

So, where are some of these examples?  Well here are people and initiatives who do see their focus as teaching information and technology skills just to name a few…and I’m sure there are many others…name some more!

  • School Library Learning 2.0 is now in it’s second version and now has a bevy of Massachusetts librarians participating in addition to our California group and countless others around the world.  (I need to disclose that I was part of the team that put this together, but it is really taking off and making a difference for a lot of people).
  • At Educon and Blog gatherings, people like Joyce Valenza continue to lead and participate in the conversation.
  • Teacher-Librarians all over the place are the key people in their schools utilizing and integrating technology and transforming thinking.  Just a couple – Annie Lokrantz in Fresno, John Volkman at Reedley High, and Doug Achterman in Hollister, and countless others who are leading the way in technology at their schools.

Doug does ask some interesting questions that are important for all of us to think about and define for ourselves.  How do you answer these questions?

  • who are we?
  • What do we do?
  • How do we do it?

P.S. I think the new AASL standards help to define this for those who are not sure.

5 Responses to “Tech role of teacher librarians”

  1. 1 Doug Johnson February 16, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for this post. I was hoping I’d be taken to task about a few of my comments. There are certainly shining examples of librarians who have taken the lead in tech integration.

    All the best,


  2. 2 Cathy Nelson February 17, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    W00T for those of us leading the front in this department!! I do feel we are slowly but surely earning respect though. How or why else would Karl Fisch invite me to be a part of his 9th grade English classes live blogging about Dan Pink’s book, A Whole New MInd. I’m honored and amazed that I’m in on that. I’m also involved in Sheryl-Nussbaum-Beach’s and Will Richardson’s month-long online professional development project (we are using Ning as a vehicle) and they asked me and Kim Cofino, two forward thinking technology integrating frontrunners to lead a group in social networking tools. But I also know I have used my voice to make the people in my circles know that I have something to offer, and I hope I am leading by example for other LMS’s or teacher-librarians! So there are those in the edubloggosphere who recognize the value of the information literate technology integration information specialists (aka librarian) leading.

  3. 3 Dennis Harter February 17, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    This is an awesome response and comments.

    As expected, there are examples of brilliance and moving forward happening around the world. The blogosphere allows us to share the celebration of those successes while also wondering why it isn’t happening in more places.

    What I love is that the collective intelligence of those who succeed can be shared with those of us in the process still.

    Librarians or TLCs, the most important think is that the importance of 21st Century thinking skills end up in the classroom and ultimately embedded in student learning.

  4. 4 Rob Rubis February 18, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    You have responded much more elegantly than I to Doug’s “Blue Skunk Blog” postings on librarians and technology – but then I felt specifically targetted by his comments and the quotes he used from my colleages here at ISB. One of these, Dennis, has added a followup post clarifying his position, and I appreciate that, so it’s time to move on.

    I’ve re-read my comment on Doug’s posting and aside from the obvious self-justification, I think the underlying theme are valid. We are all pecking away at the same issues – but we could be working more collaboratively to brainstorm and then implement better strategies to address these – and we should better build on past experience and then exploit these new collaborative tools to share successes and dissect less-than-successful experiments.

    There’s more of the same rant on my blog ( and I’m not going to apologize for this – but I am going to engage the issues from here on. Thanks for showing the way!

  5. 5 robdarrow February 18, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Yep, you are right. We need to work together and continue to highlight and measure our accomplishments and successes.

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