...As she spoke in the school's spacious, bustling library, teenagers were scattered all around her, but few were looking at the stacks of print books. Most were tinkering at the library's makerspace, scrolling on one of the library's computers, or working on homework in groups, with many using their smartphones, tablets, or laptops.
Welcome to the 21st century school library. Gone are the days when librarians spent most of their time monitoring the stacks and checking out books to students.
Now, Whiting and Luhtala see their role as school librarians as teaching students how to navigate and consume information online—and helping teachers embed those skills into their curriculum. To do that, they take on any number of job descriptions: They're instructional partners, innovation leaders, and digital-literacy scholars.
"We have a really great collaborative, trusting relationship in this building," said Luhtala, the library department chair. "I can be walking down the hallway and see an opportunity to touch base with [a teacher] and know that it's going to be OK to do that. There's a real symbiosis in our teaching."