Recently, Blount County Public Library and Blount County Schools have decided to link together and make resources from both available to the community through one comprehensive organization. This initially began because the school’s funding for computer labs was cut back. The library, having the necessary resources, felt the need to help out.
Another technology provided to the school for students without access public library cards is the e-Card; these e-Cards give up to 4 students per teacher access to the public library’s electronic resources and online databases. Access to these online resources is also projected to help teachers develop their students digital literacy skills, not only through ease of access but the ability to judge the value of the information they have access to.
The main point of this article comes in a quote from one of the public librarians, “A librarian’s role is to help people generate new knowledge.” This assertion helps us, as students and digital natives living in a time of seeming transitions, understand the roles we see as disappearing. When thinking about e-Books and online databases, we often forget about public libraries and the librarians that run them. But what does happen, say, when the economy plummets and funding is removed, therefore cutting back on luxuries–it always seems that technology is the luxury that faces the penalty. Computer labs, printing labs, school-issued devices all receive less administration funding than other aspects of learning. This says that, although we value our technology, we (the administrations) do not yet view it as a complete necessity in the spectrum of education. We can do without the computer lab–or can we?
The truth is, now, we can’t. Almost every class requires students to use technology, the internet, some form of online access is necessary. So what to do, then, when the school that requires these things does not provide the means to make it happen? Public facilities are the place to turn if you are not fortunate enough to own the technology in your own home. But, being digital natives, often students nowadays could not even stack away or find books using the Dewy Decimal System. So, are libraries really on the way out? This article provides evidence that libraries are equipped to evolve to the digital needs of a school or community. Aside from providing paper copies of resources, they can provide a network of other resources online and digitally to help improve overall digital literacy in a community.