I have submitted my application for admission into the Kent State School of Library and Information Science as an avenue for professional growth within my current career. As a former Spanish teacher and currently a computer technology teacher, it is important to pursue the MLIS as current librarians seek retirement and technology continues to infiltrate libraries across our nation. I am currently interested in pursuing the MLIS plus the K-12 licensure in order to serve in an urban school library setting.
My current teaching assignment of computer technology lends itself to a smooth transition from the classroom to a librarian position as our school district places more emphasis on digital media. I remain fully committed to providing instruction to students; however, with teachers and school librarians retiring in droves, I fear that our schools will be left with overworked teachers and no librarians in our schools. By completing the MLIS degree, I will be accomplishing an additional career objective. I remain committed to my career goals that were previously established many years ago.
My first goal was accomplished by completing my undergraduate course of study at the University of Cincinnati. My second career goal was to obtain my M. Ed. In School Administration and I accomplished that particular goal in the year 2000. My third goal, albeit somewhat personal, was to earn my private pilot’s license, and I successfully completed that task in 2001. My fourth career oriented goal was to transition from teaching Spanish to teaching computer science with an ultimate goal of finishing the required courses to earn the MLIS degree. I am currently in the middle of this goal.
After speaking to our retiring librarian, she suggested that I apply my technology expertise and apply for the vacant school librarian position. Our current librarian highly encouraged me to seek at least the minimum courses for K-12 certification. After speaking with Dr. Sarah Harper and educating myself about the MLIS program and learning about the additional career opportunities associated with the MLIS, I have decided to pursue this additional graduate degree. The role of the librarian appears to be shifting from the traditional aspects of managing a library to more of the role as a librarian media technologist.
An important current issue of the library is to also serve as a digital media center due to the increased technology needs facing libraries. I am greatly interested in this transition as many school librarians almost double as the digital media technologist. Colleges and universities are also adopting the model of librarian media technologist to enhance the needs of such educational institutions. As our digital technology library needs grow, I foresee a point where the current traditional school librarian could potentially be at a slight disadvantage without minimal technology background.
I firmly support digital media; however, print media is equally as important. It will be the role of the librarian to determine which media shall remain in print edition for students, and which media will transition to digital media. Another current issue that is important is to fully integrate the school library as an extension of the classroom. It is important to fully utilize the library beyond the common routine of “pulling books” for a specific course. Instead, it would be beneficial to teachers and students if the library were to be established as an academic department.
Establishing meaningful collaboration between the library personnel and teachers will foster a learning environment conducive to learning. As a school librarian, a goal should be to create a library setting that embeds the role of the library into the classrooms. Instead of thinking of the library as an independent space of a school, the library now serves as an extension of the classroom. However, it is equally important to keep in mind, the school librarian is not able to provide content specific instruction, but rather, instruction on how to locate the resources required for the specific content.
It is important for the librarian to serve as an instructional partner in the learning process. Finally, another current issue that I believe is important is increasing the mobility of the library. Technology has advanced to where it is no longer required to leave the house and go to the library to seek and acquire information. With nearly all of our students owning a mobile device, whether it is a cellular telephone, iPad, Nook, mobile devices are changing the way information is delivered and accessed.
While students easily have access to the internet through mobile devices, it is equally important that students have access to digital records housed in the library. Furthermore, many library users have learned the convenience of downloadable e-books. As teachers, students, and others navigate away from the traditional book delivered in print, it will be important for the librarian to explore new ideas and collaboratively implement a plan to cost effectively deliver more data via mobile devices.