Skip to main content

Will Librarians Continue to Exist in 2030?

By Librarian's Role, Professional Development No Comments

Is the library profession going to be obsolete? Are librarians a dying breed? These questions have often been asked of me. Recently, I received a youtube video saying that librarianship is one of the dying careers and is not worth pursuing as a career. As I began to reflect on this, it got me thinking that if we describe a librarian role to be one, who hushes the students, controls the library space and has few or no visitors, is a room full of dusty books, all books locked in a cupboard with NO open access. Stamping books and manually using the card catalogue. Sure, such librarians will fail to exist, and definitely, there is no place for such librarians in the 21st century.

What kind of Librarians will exist now and in the future?

The kind of librarians that will exist will be multi-taskers, who are ready to evolve and modify their role to meet the school community’s needs. The librarian will look for opportunities to learn, grow and adapt to the changing needs of the school community. Schools will continue to have libraries because books form the basis of learning, no matter how many eBooks we have and the advancement in technology. Librarians will exist. Let’s analyze and look at what librarians do?

What do librarians do?

Librarians are specialists and specialize in these capacities.

  1. They purchase the best books that match the curriculum.
  2. They recommend databases to support student learning.
  3. They systematically maintain the collection of books called the library.
  4. They create, curate & maintain an eLibrary.
  5. They read voraciously.
  6. They help you identify stories that can support teachers by sharing titles and curating lists of relevant information and books that will help them successfully teach students.
  7. They can find books or information by digging into the web.
  8. They read aloud stories to children and fill their hearts and souls.
  9. They nurture readers with kindness and compassion; they are non-judgemental.
  10. They create an atmosphere in the library where reading and learning is pursued equitably and with good spirit.
  11. Librarians love technology; they will help you find credible information, teach you to cite it and support you in your research as a guide.
  12. They learn new technology tools to ensure they can participate and support students in creating media, infographics, eBooks, eMagazines, and podcasts to support student learning.

These librarians will exist and will continue to be in demand. In my opinion, being a librarian is one of the best roles in a school. You get to collaborate and co-teach with teachers, learn new skills, teach and learn with students, reach out to the parent community and finally nurture a learning atmosphere for all. 

Why Change and Adapt?

In dynamic education organizations, every educator evolves using new pedagogical practices adapting and adopting new roles and responsibilities. Educators like teachers are often seen in multiple positions, supervisors, running school activities and/or taking on administrative roles. Similarly, librarians adapt and change to the school community’s needs, adopting new practices through professional development. Some librarians have the role of a specialist with a packed class schedule, while other librarians have a flexible schedule allowing them to take on other teaching duties in the school. As a librarian, if we adapt and change to meet the school’s needs, what is wrong? I wonder why librarians shy away from accepting and taking on new roles? Socrates said the secret of change is not fighting the old but building the new. And, we all know that change is inevitable. To meet the school’s needs, why not change, adapt and learn new skills to stay current and relevant when many talk about the librarian’s role as a dying breed. Why NOT?

What new roles are librarians adopting?

Schools have different priorities and different styles of functioning. Looking around the librarian tribe, I have found that many librarians have adopted additional roles & responsibilities based on their areas of interest and skill set. They have diversified their positions and have not given up their primary functional role as a librarian.

Some of the roles librarians have adopted into their librarianship are as follows:

  • Leading and supporting social events at their school.
  • Teaching English as a second language.
  • Supporting students with learning difficulties or partnering with the special education team.
  • Participating in community services programs.
  • Adding an extra hand in administration duties in the school.
  • Building or supporting programs related to Unesco’s sustainable goals.
  • Teaming up with the technology team to deliver digital literacy programs.
  • Teaming with enrichment programs.
  • Partnering with the school’s social media team to share students successes.
  • Librarians are working as team members with literacy coaches or reading specialists to deepen literacy skills.
  • Librarians are also Extended Essay Coordinators.
  • Librarians are teachers of different subjects: Theory of Knowledge, Language teachers and even Indian Studies.

This Forbes article made me think of my role as a jack of all trades and master of none, but librarians are masters and specialists in their library profession. Being a jack of other trades has helped me discover new strengths, nurtured my curious mind, learned new subjects, and built a unique skill set.

How do you adopt new roles?

So, how does a librarian go about adopting other roles? Firstly, I would build up courage and reach out to the supervisor with a growth mindset and a strong desire and interest in learning and growing. As you begin to explore, you will either fall in love with the new work or not; if not, then it’s time to try another area of interest. Nudge yourself to grow, read and learn. 

99% of the time, it is fear of not trying that pulls one down. We often hear advice like – if you never try, you will never know. So, finally, LEAP and the NET will appear.

Present-day Profile of a Librarian – Attitude and Skills

By General, Librarian's Role, Lockdown - Covid-19 3 Comments

What is the need of a school library?

For every accreditation of the school, the Library is an essential part of school systems. Libraries are built and given importance to support multi-literacies, nurture life-long readers and learners. Thus, placing the librarian to perform a teacher’s role, an information specialist, and the library program administrator. Therefore, the librarian is a necessary aspect of the school system. They are responsible for acquiring resources like books and online databases, organizing and maintaining the resources to meet the school community’s learning needs.

What are the Librarians doing during the pandemic of 2019?

This year of the pandemic has shown that when the librarian has been a risktaker, independent & collaborative in learning, committed, and adaptive, they have been successful in this given situation.

Many librarians have had a reduced number of classes. Some have not had lessons but instead collaborated with classroom teachers, librarians have provided digital resources to support teaching & learning. Some librarians have been co-teaching, teaching other subjects, taking after school activities for reading sessions or engaging in debates, competitions, and school events. Librarians have taken on different roles (not traditional bookkeepers of the Library) which must not be mistaken to believe that the librarian’s position is unimportant, but recognize librarians as adaptive, flexible, and versatile.

Many local private schools administrations requested the librarians to take a sabbatical from work during the pandemic. After ten months, the administration is now offering them to return to work by providing them with the professional training to bring them up to speed with technology and teaching pedagogy. Had the administration, used this opportunity to train all educators and librarians simultaneously, it would have helped them financially and, including the librarians, would have helped raise the librarians’ standards and the Library’s role in the school.

The librarian role, like other educators, is evolving each year. Having the right attitudes are essential for success. Besides the required academic qualifications, librarians need to be adaptive learners and experimental in their approach.

What skills must Librarians have to meet the needs of schools?

  • One of the most crucial skill is finding ways to serve the community of learners, from students to teachers and even parents. So, when students do not have access to printed books, they can find other ways to introduce new eBooks based on students’ interests and needs, as seen during this pandemic situation. Sometimes, teachers need books to teach, but with no physical books available, the librarian needs to identify eBooks and resources to serve the teachers’ needs. Besides, teachers and students, librarians can reach out to parents. For example, during – the pandemic, librarians can provide well-research articles to parents to develop a balanced understanding of print and digital life.
  • Librarians need to be adaptive to revise systems and develop new ways. For example, librarians have started creating websites to provide a one-stop-shop for all users during the pandemic. They have altered the procedures for book checkouts. Some librarians in rural India started sending PNG’s instead of Jpegs because of its small size file through WhatsApp messages to direct students to websites.
  • Librarians need to take new initiatives. This pandemic has shown the librarians and the administration that eReources are essential for learning. Keeping this mind, the librarians should take the initiative by requesting changes in the budgets to support subscription of electronic resources in the form of databases to support differentiation and personalized learning paths.  All free resources may not meet all learners’ needs; therefore, structured eResources for building language literacy and other subjects will need to subscribe. Librarians can take the initiative to learn about the school curriculum, learn about the new databases, request for database trials, and recommend appropriate electronic databases or programs that will support teachers and students. Librarians must restructure and relocate funds for these new resources, make practical suggestions, and allocate a judicious amount spent on books and eResources.
  • Librarians must become familiar with many technology tools, and use it purposefully. Using fancy tools and making glamorous presentations without merit and learning value must be kept in mind and avoided.
  • Most importantly, learning to use technology is not as crucial as knowing and reading children’s literature for primary and secondary schools.
  • Learning, using and helping others use information and media ethically and respecting the copyright works of authors who put in the effort to share their craft and knowledge. And, most importantly, to credit and learn to use information and media lawfully.

What other skills and expectations should Librarians develop?

librarianship as a profession, one must always remember to keep the light of learning alive and relevant to meet new school programs and initiatives that continue to evolve to meet each child’s needs. Librarians must, therefore continue to fine-tune the following skills.
– Learning to prepare reports in written and oral form.
– Learning to interpret the school curriculum and find ways to add meaning and value to the library program.
– Build healthy, safe, and effective relationships with all community members, including students, teachers, parents, supervisors, vendors,       and volunteers.
– Creatively adapt and use best practices to meet the needs of the school community.

Steve Maraboli, a Behavioral Scientist, specializing in motivational psychology, leadership dynamics, and peak performance mindset, says, “Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing, and changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.”

So, I say to myself, what I learn today is good for now, but the wisdom I have gained in the process will support what I will need to know tomorrow. Learning never stops.

5 skills for today’s librarians

By Librarian's Role, Media Literacy & Information Literacy One Comment
Creative Commons: Disha Aswani

Supporting information and media literacy

Education in India is evolving and changing. Teachers are imbibing new ideas and strategies to impact student learning. It’s time for librarians to evolve, change and grow.  With a growth mindset for change and desire to be relevant, there are 5 skills for librarians to learn and build upon:

1. Learn a new tech tool or skill to help all learners, both adults, and students

2.  Skill to  curate, evaluate and use information ethically

3. Skill to decipher fake news from real news

4. Skill to critically evaluate media

5. Skill to create flexible schedules and lessons to support relevant information and learning in a digital world to all

Libraries are meant to be the center of learning and not a storehouse of books. Librarians are no more ‘keeper of books’ but supporters of learners. In this digital age, learning goes beyond the textbooks. Learners use the internet, youtube, and social media to learn about their hobbies, their interests, their queries and for entertainment. So, in today’s times and more than any other time that librarians need not only talk about change and read about the modern changes happening around the world, and take an active part in upskilling their role and positively impact learners.

What is a Librarian’s Role?

By Librarian's Role One Comment
medlibrary

Library in an Indian Educational Institution

Historically, we’ve known that Librarians have been a vital resource in developing and maintaining collections of books on various subjects. Libraries have been a place where individuals have congregated to discuss politics, ideas, cultural norms and governance. It used to be a place where ideas were exchanged, argued upon and challenged.  What a lively interactive and learning space it used to be!

Over time, the Library turned into a quiet place where students entered the library to study, use the literature and information in books, and the role of librarians became that of a keeper of information, more like a policeman/policewoman, who maintained the discipline in the library.

Presently, all educational reports state that a library needs to be the hub of all education institutions. Therefore, changing the role and duties of the librarian is important. It is required of the Librarian to not only develop the collection to suit the needs of the clients of the Library but collaborate with teachers to support students in their educational journey. The librarian not only now supports love for reading and learning but must support teachers and students in delivering information, media, and news literacy.

The present role of the Librarians is to help manage books, online databases, perform duties of an information technologist and teach information literacy skills to students or adults so that the individuals can navigate the web of information safely and use information ethically.

Some of the desired traits necessary for being a dynamic Librarian is to

  • Be a reader
  • Be approachable & friendly
  • Be a listener to tease out users needs and interest
  • Continue to learn new skills to enhance one’s role as a librarian