This section will continue to be, a rapidly evolving area so any contributions from LIPSSEE members would be gratefully received to help keep the information both current and comprehensive.
One of the roles of a school librarian to is to explore new technologies and discover how they might be used effectively in the context of a teaching and learning environment. Digital technology brings with it both challenges and opportunities. Whilst there is no doubt that it can excite and empower learning, the successful integration of digital resources into our Prep School libraries continues to be hampered by financial constraints, inadequate IT support, users’ attitudes and beliefs, and even the way in which our role is perceived within our respective schools. But despite these problems electronic resources will continue to grow in influence because our children are growing up in a digital world. Ofcom tell us that a staggering 75% of 5 to 15-year-olds use a tablet at home, as do over half (55%) of 3 to 4-year-olds. In the past librarians have always successfully assimilated new technologies into their existing traditional collections (think CD-ROMs, videotapes, CDs and DVDs); and there is little doubt that this will happen again – traditional books will still be used in our Prep School libraries for the foreseeable future, but there will be the increasing need to include electronic resources and to accommodate new technologies
The following suggestions are to help you get started
- Just Jump in! Try experimenting with a few free online resources such as DK Find Out or News Library and expand from there. Same thing with mobile devices – just one or two can be the start of building this service and motivational practice into your program
- Talk with colleagues. LIPSSEE meetings are great for this! There is no one formula for success, anything goes. We all have different contexts (and different budgets) within which we work, the ideas are out there and we just need to use the ones that will work for us.
- No money for e- resources? This section of the LIPSSEE website offers all sorts of solutions e.g. encourage pupils to use the free e-resources offered by local public libraries; download e-books from the public domain to read on your library desktop computer/s
- Target your collection development. It is a good idea to focus on one area of your e-resource collection at a time. For example, you could work on acquiring reference materials which could be accessed through the library desktop computers – again an online free encyclopaedia such as DK Find Out or News Library a free database of regional and national UK newspapers would be a good place to start
- What device to choose. It is very confusing to know which mobile device to start with for example – Kindle or Kobo/ Apple or Android. As there is no clear “winner” the best advice again is to discuss this with colleagues and with your students who can also advise you on which seem to be the easiest to use.
- CPD. At the end of the day if your school is just not ready for that leap into the 21st century then make sure you are!
Written by Joyce Kasman Valenza, an American school librarian, this inspiring article challenges us to reflect on our current practice and provides an extensive list to work from. Although as Prep School librarians we might not find it all relevant, there is certainly a lot to ponder on!