Researcher of library program inner-workings and professor at San Jose State University, David Loertscher, published a book in 1988 titled, Taxonomies of the School Library Media Program. The book reads more like a manual, identifying the key players that encompass the success of a well functioning school library, along with methods and evaluative additives to legitimize the many purposes of the facility. Loertscher takes the third chapter and elaborates on the role of the media specialist. He lists in bullet form, an array of “human qualities that characterize successful library media specialists” (p. 16). The point labeled, “views self as leader in curriculum development” is applicable for this post.
Education in itself is a mechanism to build leaders, learning how to solve problems in a nutshell. In the 21st Century world of learning problem solving, the library is the main arena for problem solving. A library curricula is not about a playbook of facts and figures, but a non-linear field of conflict and multiple solutions. The use of the library is the answer to those solutions. Critical thinking is the pulse, a universal skill set to proactive, real world thinking and communication. The librarian is a mentor for not only students but teachers and administrators. We as librarians, push the envelope for conversation starters. A library curricula is meant to be a document of doing and independence. Standard #2 of the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner states: Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge. That statement is a representation of what teachers expect of their students, from K-12. The library is, can, and will always be THE place to where this standard is rooted and nourished.
No more useful can this assist in the library becoming culturally competent facility, and where the mentor librarian can mold new mentors is school library in an environment with a majority of poverty stricken citizens. The adolescent age is heavily influenced from environmental factors. Drugs, prostitution, violent crime, financial woes can negatively influence a child’s positive well-being. He or she is more likely to follow the path of those influences more regularly than a child that does not consistently experience poverty. Erik Erikson says that adolescents experience an “identity vs. role confusion” phase. This is a major stage in development where the child has to learn the roles of an adult. It is during this stage that the adolescent will re-examine identity and try to find out exactly who he or she is. Students yearn for a purpose in the world. With all the ills surrounding a child in such a neighborhood, school is the last motivator. However, the library can provide that purpose.
One way the library can build leaders is through makerspaces. The ideology is built from the 21st learning model. Project-based educator Chris O’Brien writes about the effectiveness that a makerspace can have on the makeup of today’s student learner, and as an uplifting factor towards the collective emotional desire to learn on an entire school. This program can bring back the fun in learning. “By helping bring the maker movement into their school, educators can help usher in the future of education. Through planning curricula-aligned projects, school and community makerspaces can help once again to democratize education and build learning communities where all students have a chance to grow into thoughtful, confident leaders of tomorrow,” says O’Brien in his online article in Edutopia.
Loertscher, D. V. (1988). Taxonomies of the school library media program. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited Inc.
O’Brien, C. (2016). Makerspaces lead to school and community successes. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/makerspaces-school-and-community-successes-chris-obrien