by Patty Slate Warner
It seems not long ago that when you walked into your school library and asked for assistance from the library staff, you were directed to an enormous card catalog. You weren’t sure where to start flipping through drawers of endless cards trying to decide what interesting books to read or which you needed for your research paper. The unfamiliar library staff would help you search for the call number on the shelves and check out your books.
Now, the explosion of technology has created a new and improved library staff.
Library staff today have to know how to Tweet, Tumble, SnapChat, post videos on You Tube, generate a Facebook account, be a “pinner” on Pinterest, how to “embed” a link, what Vine is, how to use email, Gmail, Google Plus, Google Play, Google Drive, and Yahoo, to name a few. Whew! We help students learn how to use the school’s library database and webpage, how to check out ebooks and audio books, numerous online research databases, and making their own accounts to access them all.
It doesn’t even sound like we have real books on shelves, does it? Schools fortunate enough to have computer labs are afforded library staff that assist students with specific programs and personal printing, too. We rent laptops to students, check out Chrome books and net books to teachers, and are even ascertaining troubleshooting techniques. With the newest transition to Common Core and 1:1 computing, library staff have become the essential Technology Specialists.
I find the new and improved library staff to have a closer connection and a creative relationship with their students. We spend increasingly more individual time with students, utilize much of the same technology and social networking services as our students and help them create accounts, essays, sites and blogs. The new and improved library staff has a clearer understanding of the needs of their students which allow students to feel more connected to their library staff; regardless of the age difference.
I love being part of the new and improved library staff. Is it time we changed our titles?
Patty came to Napa Valley with her two children in 2001 after a lucrative career in corporate America as an Executive Assistant, Employment Specialist and Recruiter. Her career with the district started at Donaldson Way Elementary School as a Yard Duty Supervisor, and then became their Instructional Assistant and Library Clerk. After losing her husband of 17 years to cancer in 2008, she was ready for a fresh start, and was recruited for American Canyon High School, where the library has been her home for the last 4 years.
Patty is currently collaborating with the district and Library Services to implement the student laptop rental program at ACHS for the district. She will also begin to finish her goal of obtaining a BA in Child Psychology this summer. Patty’s favorite part of her job is the connection she makes with students every day.