In many of the one-to-one schools that I visit the media center director, aka librarian in some schools, is central to the success of the program. They often serve officially and sometimes unofficially as a technology director or technology assistant. That includes not only dealing with technology problems, but also coordinating professional development. Many also serve as mentors to teachers who need a little extra help as they try to use technology as a tool to transform teaching and learning. Some have certainly become leaders in their schools by totally redefining what it means to be a librarian.
I don't think the same can be said of the physical place that most of us identify as the library or media center. Many media centers, even in one-to-one schools, look relatively similar to the way that they did before the transition to one-to-one. Maybe that is OK, but I think they can become so much more. I'm not calling for a mass book burning, or anything that drastic. I still read physical books VERY frequently. What I would argue is that student research has made a drastic shift from physical books to online resources in the past ten years. That shift by itself should be enough to generate conversations about how the look of our media centers should change. I don't know exactly what these new media centers would look like, but I do have some ideas.
What if media centers......
- became the most technology rich room in technology rich schools.
- reallocated their budgets to focus on technology.
- served as the "test lab" for new technologies before implementing them in the entire school.
- included, or were in close proximity to, virtual reality rooms, media editing and production rooms, etc.
- began providing book check-outs on devices such as the Nook, iPad or Kindle.
I'm also not naive about the state of most school budgets, but I also don't think drastic changes aren't possible. Schools would have to make some tough decision about how they allocate resources. For most schools, it would be unlikely that all of these changes could happen at the same time, but with proper planning a major transformation could take place. Many of the possibilities that I mentioned are not actually terribly expensive.
This is just a short list and I'd actually like to hear from you. Feel free to leave comments about other things your school is doing, or things you are dreaming of doing with your media center.