Where does learning come from today?

Well, according to my son, it’s from the Internet.

Here’s what he told me tonight about his day.

“She gave us a tub of books, random choices off the shelves of books they thought we would like.

My library teacher has no idea of where learning is coming from today.”

I work in a library and I see our non fiction collection losing relevance by the day. Not because the content within the books isn’t worthy, some of it is incredible. But to students with a vast array of online resources available at their fingertips in a 1:1 school, it’s hard to convince them to visit the shelves. In recent times, with some assigned tasks, I’ve recommended the students head to the Internet to find more detail than that available in our books on the shelves. Two paragraphs in  book is sometimes all there is on a topic, and yet they can source web pages with enormous detail. Any wonder they are attracted what is available online.

As Teacher-Librarians, we don’t want to go the way of some books and lose relevance to our students. My son’s comment is something I fear is echoed in the living rooms of countries everywhere. Subscribing to authoritative databases or looking at an ebook platform are important considerations for Teacher-Librarians today. Resources need to be accessible for multitudes of students simultaneously rather than the ‘borrow the book, make it unattainable for others’ model of libraries of the past. To that end, providing school libraries with adequate funding to ensure they can do just that is necessary too. Database providers need to lift their game as well, and make their sites more appealing and user friendly so that our students want to use them.

While I don’t think my son is totally right in his estimation, I do think there are plenty of teenagers out there who’d share his sentiments. In schools’ today, we need to stay relevant and know how to make the most of all the online resources at our disposal.

3 Replies to “Where does learning come from today?”

  1. I am a huge book lover and believe it is important to encourage students to ‘visit the shelves.’ Online resources are also incredible and I couldn’t imagine life without them now. I think the way to go is to try to teach that both are of equal importance the best we can.

  2. I hear everything that you say, and what your son says too. It’s scarey, isn’t it? It’d be awful if books become obsolete. . .
    Josie x

  3. This is not a unique situation. This thought is clearly echoed here.

    I think that teacher-librarians need to view these thoughts as a challenge. If your resource centre is just a place for students to go and “look up stuff” then I don’t see it ending in this cost cutting era. Teacher-librarians need to continually strive to bring extra value to the school in what they do.

    There are activities that can be unique to libraries that can be so valuable.

    – book talks (student and teacher)
    – pairing with classroom teacher and lessons
    – author visits
    – multi-media support for curriculum materials
    – professional development
    and so much more than just bringing a tub of books out.

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