A transformative shift is occurring in education that is causing the role of school libraries to change from quiet sanctuaries of silent reading and research to vibrant learning hubs, buzzing with collaboration and creative learning opportunities. There are multiple drivers for this needed shift, and technology is at the heart of it. As ubiquitous access to technology increases and as the way we access information changes, we need to view libraries differently. Information and materials are changing rapidly, so organizations that do not modify their school library goals will be viewed as antiquated and less relevant.
Organizations such as Future Ready Schools provide resources and professional learning centered around the ideas of keeping our school libraries current, modern and relevant. Mark Ray expresses some thoughts about the need to shift in his TEDx Talk, Changing the Conversation about Librarians below.
Additionally, ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education features standards and resources specifically designed to support future-ready libraries to succeed in a technology-reliant environment. This Tech & Learning article also highlights successful libraries that are making the shift to vibrant learning hubs. These learning hubs may include maker spaces, flexible seating, collaborative areas, and special events.
The ultimate responsibility for successfully implementing this urgently needed change rests on the shoulders of school leaders. Some school leaders will be more likely to support and drive shifts from what they experienced from school libraries if they are emotionally moved to do so.
It is this shift from a traditional library to learning hub that prompted the need for our district to transform the summer library program to the STREAM camp in my innovation plan.
During the design of my innovation plan of STREAM Camp, I created this video to outline our need for transforming and innovating our STREAM Camp to double enrollment to include virtual learners, specify lessons for middle school students, and include the use of 3-D printing. It is my hope that the use of video and images from previous successful STREAM camps may have influenced our leaders to continue with the program and add the innovations I planned. The images showed students engaged in various learning activities fervently enjoying themselves in the library as learning hubs.
As we are currently right in the middle of planning STREAM camp, with a healthy budget and a fully engaged and talented staff, I believe that my emotional appeals for change have been heard.
However, the drive for change and innovation is not over. As the pressures of the current times of the pandemic include huge uncertainty around school funding, I feel the need to frequently bring the topic of transforming our libraries to the attention of our administrators. Below is listed the WHY, HOW and WHAT of my plan for creating change in my district.
Why – We believe that libraries are learning hubs where students build skills beyond literacy.
HOW – To make the library the heart of the school, we host a variety of activities and events.
WHAT – We prepare students who explore and think critically while developing varied interests.
In this blog post, Dr. Harapnuik emphasized that appealing to the hearts of those you hope to influence is the key to implementing true change. Overwhelming your audience with facts and data before telling the stories behind the need for change can counteract the effect your are hoping to achieve. Taking the approach of showing WHY there is a need for change will be more effective.
Simon Sinek points out in his Start With Why video, that if you share what you believe and WHY you believe it, you will attract those that have similar beliefs. Those that are more reluctant to subscribe to the new beliefs may follow after being emotionally moved or after observing the success of others that acquiesce to the change.
John Kotter asserts that before attempting to create a big change, it is important to win over the hearts and minds of the team. In his YouTube video Leading Change: Establish a Need for Urgency, he also details the need for developing a sense of urgency when trying to develop a change in an organization. This blog post on Viral Solutions provides further guidance on strategies to create urgency.
As we progress in the course, I am looking forward to developing my skillset in leading positive, meaningful, and effective change. The need to innovate is an ongoing process that requires the commitment and effort of leaders and their teams.
Change management – Step 1: Creating a sense of urgency. (2018, January 20). Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://viralsolutions.net/change-management-step-1-creating-a-sense-of-urgency/#.YHx4balKj0o
Changing the Conversation About Librarians | Mark Ray | TEDxElCajonSalon [Video file]. (2016, June 7). Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://youtu.be/IniFUB7worY
Covey, S., McChesney, C., & Huling, J. (2012). 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. S.l.: Simon & Schuster.
Harapnuik, D. (2015, January 9). The Head Won’t Go Where the Heart Hasn’t Been. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from http://www.harapnuik.org/?p=5461
John Kotter – the heart of change [Video file]. (2011, March 23). Retrieved April 16, 2021, from https://youtu.be/1NKti9MyAAw
Leading change: Establish a sense of urgency [Video file]. (2013, August 15). Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://youtu.be/2Yfrj2Y9IlI
Leading from the library. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://futureready.org/thenetwork/strands/future-ready-librarians/
SJBAccounting (Director). (2013, September 29). Start with why – Simon Sinek TED talk [Video file]. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE
Teich, A. (2019, August 30). Repurposing school libraries as VIBRANT hubs and centers of change. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://www.techlearning.com/resources/repurposing-school-libraries-as-vibrant-hubs-and-centers-of-change