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Do you see librarians as part of the future?

mark rayCourtesy Mark Ray

Mark Ray is the Chief Digital Officer for Vancouver Public Schools.

I posed that question in my recent TEDx talk during the 2016 Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools meeting in San Diego. In my district, across the League, and across the U.S., the answer is coming back: “Heck Yeah!”

In June, I began working formally with the Alliance for Excellent Education as Lead for Future Ready Librarians. Thanks to a partnership with Follett, I am now collaborating with national educational leaders to connect librarians and libraries to the strategic work of districts. At Future Ready Librarians, we pose two essential questions:

  • How can librarians support Future Ready Schools?
  • How can librarians and libraries become more Future Ready?

Whether educational leaders are working from the Future Ready Framework, the new ISTE NETS, or a local district strategic plan, there is a need for what my boss, Dr. Steve Webb, calls “ubiquitous leadership.” How can educators lead, teach and support innovation?

In Vancouver, librarians have been part of strategic work for years. Other educators, like Dr. Mark Edwards and Dr. Steve Joel, are part of Project Connect, the national workgroup led by Follett that planted the seeds for the Future Ready Librarians initiative. In the last year, a new #DPLIS work group was formed to build a community of practice to vision, implement, and support innovative library programs in League districts. In Baltimore this November, libraries and librarians will be a featured strand during site visits. Across the League, there is renewed interest and commitment to reimagine library spaces and programs.

Digital citizenship, content curation, making and coding, student data privacy, blended learning, open educational resources. To use a term coined by my former boss, Lisa Greseth, these are “chopportunities” (challenge + opportunity). What excites me is that in Vancouver and across the League, the question is not ‘if’ but ‘how’ can librarians help with wicked difficult challenges.

In Baltimore and in the coming months, I look forward to continuing the conversation about librarians and libraries in our schools. If you have innovative/future ready/superstar librarians in your district, I would love to hear your story in the comments below. And if you want to learn more about cultivating them in your district, I invite you to be part of our #DPLIS work group or stop by futureready.org/librarians.


About Mark Ray

Mark is the Chief Digital Officer for Vancouver Public Schools. Follow him on Twitter @_TeacherX.

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