Who Among Us is Explicitly Tasked with Helping Children Learn to Teach Themselves?

I would suggest that “YOU NEED OUR LIBRARIES!”

From the Texas Library Association web site

One of the upcoming events I especially look forward to is the Texas Library Association Conference in Austin. I’ll be part of a series of presentations for administrators about libraries and their evolving and increasing importance in a mouse-click world.

One component of my message came to me about a week ago during a conversation with someone who works with librarians across the country. I did not know her before this conversation, and so, do not remember her name now. It takes two meetings for me to remember someone’s name. No stickiness left in my brain.

During that conversation she said something to me that did stick. She suggested that for high school students, who are going on to college, the school librarian is perhaps the most important teacher they will have. I think that this was a gross understatement.

We talk hard about life-long learning, but I do not believe that it is figuring in to the procedures, policies, and pedagogies of formal education nearly as much as it should. Today, with everything changing so fast, the ability and proclivity to learn is as critical as the basic literacies were in my time.  Perhaps they should be the same thing — learning and literacy.

I often ask people, especially non-educators, “How much of what you do in your job or profession, did you learn in high school?” “..in college?”  “In the last five years?”  “In the last month?” How much of living and working today is significantly dependent on our ability to learn? Imagine education focusing less on what’s been taught, and much much more on skilled, curious, resourceful, and habitual learning. Imagine a generation of super-charged learners embracing a day and time when almost anything is possible.

Coming back around, what educator in today’s schools, holds, as an explicit part of their mission, helping children learn to teach themselves. Why it’s librarians, those educators who are too often among the first to be laid off in order to balance budgets.

Such a sad and tragic lack of vision.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.