Sunday, September 4, 2016

My Journey from Social Studies to the Library

I came of age in the era when library meant a room, designated as silent space, which housed a collection of print texts. To me, today, library still means a collection, and media is the key word in the title Library Media Specialist. Whether the space is called a library, a media center, or a learning commons, all students and teachers can thrive intellectually in a space dedicated to collecting, displaying and distributing the widest possible array of learning resources: audio and video archives; video and podcasts; fiction and nonfiction texts; paintings, photographs, and sculptures; maps... the list of media can be endless. And the material can be tangible or digital and interactive. Thus a media program must reach out to all of the academic and co­-curricular disciplines to share the resources, time and space it can offer, to solicit what the evolving needs of the faculty, staff, and students are, and to maintain its resources and physical space in a way that is relevant to how people learn and teach.

I love to read and I love being a teacher. Those are only two of the reasons that I sought this certification. I embarked on earning this new endorsement because I also want to be able to extend the reach of my learning about the purposeful use of technology and the inquiry process. I thrive on collaboration with my colleagues and eagerly anticipate the opportunities for collaboration inherent in the position of the library media specialist. And, importantly, all of this new learning for this professional shift enhanced my work with students in my social studies classes. As the digital aspects of our lives continue to evolve, schools must sustain awareness of the pulse of technology and its educational uses to ensure that schools remain progressive and thereby vital elements of students’ educational opportunities and experiences. A school is well­ served by a media specialist who prioritizes and facilitates such awareness, who encourages teachers and faculty to live on or close to the information literacy cutting edge. I am grateful to have heeded a calling in a profession that not just allows me to reinvent myself, but demands that I do so in order to remain a vital and relevant contributor to the lives of my students and the work of my colleagues.

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