Okay … I try REALLY, REALLY hard not to be the old school “shhhh-ing” librarian, but I get to the point where I think my head is going to either explode or implode (I’m not sure which) and I do the “shhhhh!!!” thing. I’ve found that it is important to hit the sweet spot of both volume AND duration in order for the “shhhh!!!” to have full impact. I truly wish that I could be an unquiet librarian like Buffy, but … uh … I’m just not. I’m just saying …
In some U.S. schools, librarians are no longer saying, ‘Shh!’
By Nick Pandolfo / The Hechinger ReportFriday, November 25, 2011 –
NEW YORK — Buffy Hamilton, who calls herself “The Unquiet Librarian,” holds the phone receiver away from her ear at the Creekview High School library in Canton, Ga., revealing a cacophony of noise in the background.
“It sounds like that a lot of the time,” says Hamilton, who welcomes what she calls “the hum of learning” — students talking about projects, watching videos and even singing “Happy Birthday.”
In 2009, Hamilton began re-imagining her role as a librarian at her new public high school of 1,800 in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In her new role, Hamilton focuses on enhancing lessons and class projects with tools of the digital world to access, organize and evaluate information.Her job “is really about helping teachers and students explore new mediums for learning,” Hamilton says. “So that’s been a big shift.”
Creekview High School’s media center looks and sounds nothing like the more silent libraries of the past. The new emphasis on collaborative learning and the use of digital tools to produce dynamic research projects leads to a louder, more hands-on environment that can prove beneficial to students later in college. Hamilton says graduates have returned to thank her because their digital skills are more advanced than those of their college classmates.
Hamilton’s transformation of the library’s role in her middle-class suburb evolved from her exposure to research and thinking by R. David Lankes, director of the master’s program in library and information science at Syracuse University, and Henry Jenkins, head of the comparative media studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others, regarding ways that digital natives learn through communication and collaboration. Her model challenges students to think more independently and go beyond a Google search to use digital media tools to deepen their researching, understanding and presentation of a topic.
The shift to a noisier and more interactive library model is relatively new in U.S. public school systems …