The evolution of libraries

October is Library Month.  To celebrate this, we are focusing on CUPE members who work in Alberta libraries. This story comes from Juliette Leask who works in Fort McMurray, AB.  Marle Roberts

Libraries have evolved with each change in history. The printing press, television, the computer age has all contributed to the way that Libraries store and share information.

We are now embracing the “digital shift”. School libraries have the potential to be a vibrant hub for learning, information, reading promotion, creativity, student leadership and the school community.

International research gives compelling evidence that school libraries make a significant contribution to student literacy and learning outcomes. 1.

Keeping our libraries open to students and employing Library Technicians enable students and teachers to use the libraries resources and spaces to their fullest potential.

In an age of differentiated learning all means of access to information needs to be at a student’s fingertips. Library staff also needs to be informed and educated on where students can find “true” information.  “Growth” is the goal we should aim for when talking about libraries and student outcomes. The library needs to be the centre for inspiring the love of both formal and informal learning.

With budget cuts to Education some short-sighted schools have closed some school libraries and or cut services to students to have enough money to run the school. School libraries have to exist with 0 budgets.

Library staff across the province have been reporting a reduction in hours spent in the Library. These dedicated and passionate staff sometimes gives “volunteer” hours to try and maintain some level of service to students and teaching staff. But with an aging demographic, school boards will be hard pressed to get any “young” qualified Library Technicians to take this part time and split jobs.

We need to be far sighted and keep our school libraries open and evolving with the 21st Century.

  1. Australian Government, 2013, National Plan for School Improvement

Juliette Leask
Fort McMurray Public School Board