December 1, 2020

Canada: School Librarians: "Librarians Fight for a Role in a Digital World"

From The Globe and Mail:

Today, many Canadian children have never even seen a school librarian and never will. Nova Scotia has none, and the full-time equivalent of just three are left in all of New Brunswick. At least one school board in Ontario hasn’t had a teacher-librarian in 15 years, and numbers have declined in Alberta and British Columbia as well.

Spring is a hard season for bibliophiles, as school boards across the country set their budgets for next school year. In recent weeks at least two Ontario boards have decided to cut library staff.

Teacher-librarians have been among the first to be sacrificed when boards make cuts, and the digital innovations they help students navigate are now being used as the justification for eliminating their jobs, and Canada is bucking an international trend of investing in school libraries.

People for Education, an Ontario advocacy group, will release a special report on the decline of school libraries on Monday.

Note: Technology is a tool. Making it available doesn’t mean a person will use it (or even know about it), use it to its fullest capacity, feel comfortable using it, etc.

Of course, technology can’t provide the connections between ideas between like a human can. What about resource purchase/selection both for the entire school or school district and for the student, “What resource should I use?”

Also, simply finding a resource doesn’t mean it’s accurate, current, worthy of mention, etc. As we’ve said a couple of times in recent weeks, digital literacy, is essential. Info pros can provide it.

Simply spending money to purchase technology can create more problems than it solves. You likely have examples, professional and personal, of acquiring technology and never using it or using it at its most basic level.

What’s both sad and scary about simply swapping technology for people is that it the belief exists and it’s likely to increase unless something is done to educate those who make staffing decisions.

Read the Complete Article from The Globe and Mail

See Also: “Research: 23 Studies Find Positive Link Between Library Spending and Student Learning” (May 2, 2011)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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