What concerns me is that we’re preaching to the choir here: those who NEED a PLN are not likely to join Twitter, or read a wiki – then what?
At a recent HVLA meeting, Linda Braun talked about some of the cool 2.0 tools that we could use in our libraries: VoiceThread, TeacherTube, Screenr, among others. After, several “oldies” asked about finding time to play – they wanted to learn new tricks, but also wanted to feel supported in their learning. These are women who have been librarians for more years than they want to count, who consider themselves to be dedicated to being librarians, not those who are just retiring to the “easy” job of sitting around shushing and reading books. My guess? They don’t read many blogs, if they read them at all. They probably read SLJ and possibly LMC, but don’t belong to ALA/AASL/YALSA/ALSC (etc.) and so don’t get those professional journals. There’s no professional development money at their school so going to a conference better be local.
Are they good librarians? I think it depends. Do they create wonderful programs for their students? Does their school graduate life-long learners? Is their collection responsive to the curriculum and the students’ interests? If the answer to all those questions is “yes”, then yes, they are “good librarians.” I don’t want them kicked out of my profession. I want them there to help guide newbies who come in all enamored with the latest and greatest in technotools, who don’t see that school cultures change slowly or that sometimes, less is more.
I know one woman who does not have her MLS. Her program is warm, student-centered and everything a school could ask for. I know other women who have their MLS and who are the very definition of the Disposable Librarian. A local friend of mine was telling me about a new Administrator at her school; he’d come from another school, one with what most of us local folks think of as being a good library with a strong program. His response? He could never find anything he needed in the library and that the collection was worthless (he’d be a big supporter of James Tracey.) His “new” librarian has spent years cultivating that collection, enhancing the finding experience and has helped his see that it’s not necessarily the fault of the books, it’s the fault of the people guarding the books. And the first librarian? An extensive PLN.
So, where do we go from here?