Education Matters

How important are school libraries in the 21st century?

Posted by Stefanie Gaspari on Nov 23, 2015 5:30:00 PM

Libraries in the 21st centuryLibraries have existed for hundreds of years but in today’s digital world, where we have at our fingertips access to an endless collection of information, a new standard of information literacy has emerged. And with this, we face a new digital divide … based around who has the skills to find and curate information and who does not.

It’s no longer a debate about who has access to a device and who doesn’t.

Nowadays, the wealth of information available to students has been described as “complex and fluid; connective and interactive; and no longer constrained by time and space.” (Transitions for Preferred Futures of School Libraries, R. Todd).

Access is ubiquitous, but legitimate sources do vary. Rising to the challenge, libraries provide specialised and comprehensive programmes to teach users how to identify and collect relevant information. This is especially true of school libraries, which are responsible for imparting skills that students will retain and use for the rest of their lives.

John Dewey (1859–1952) asked us to “… cease conceiving of education as mere preparation for later life, and make of it the full meaning of the present life.” In effect, education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

At Trinity Grammar School, we not only provide resources to support teaching and learning, we are dedicated to fostering an environment where students may engage with information and develop the confidence to locate, evaluate and apply relevant information independently.

Recognising the often chaotic nature of the information landscape and exponential changes in technology over recent decades, libraries have evolved to meet the needs of their users. Likewise, in the one hundred plus years of education at Trinity Grammar School, the library spaces, both primary and secondary, have evolved many, many times.

Library Services at Trinity Grammar School has become a variegated organism, performing multiple functions, all in partnership with staff and students and all with the end-goal of providing an enriched user experience.

Our library learning spaces are designated transdisciplinary media spaces that give teachers the opportunity to conduct lessons with all of the advantages of the latest technology, and our automated library systems free up time for library professionals to focus on providing personalised assistance to students.

We are equipping our students with the tools to gain knowledge for themselves, cultivating curiosity and inspiring life-long learning, so that they may be, now and in the future, inquisitive, judicious and informed. If education is life, libraries give us immortality.

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Topics: Literacy