As digital technology becomes more of a presence in students' lives, there's a growing sense that school libraries are being squeezed out. After all, if kids can simply go online to find all the information they're looking for, that would ostensibly reduce the need for schools to have libraries and hire the staff members needed to manage them.
There's an argument to be made that librarians are more important in the digital age, not less.
Having said that, there's also an argument to be made that librarians are more important in the digital age, not less. After all, this new fast-paced, digitised learning environment can be difficult to navigate, especially for a young student. What if library specialists were able to guide this process?
Funding for libraries is drying up
As digital technology has become so omnipresent, students have begun to lose interest in print resources at their local libraries. Unfortunately, this has led to reduced funding. For example, The Western Star reported that the Southwest Coast Joint Council no longer wants towns to pay for their local libraries.
As part of the Ernst-Young Library Report, there's a proposal on the table that would decimate rural libraries in the southwest coast. Without the funding to buy books and pay librarians to organise them, we may soon see libraries lose their ability to be a significant contributor to their communities.
Why librarians still have value today
The decline of libraries is largely attributable to the rise of digital technology. One could easily argue, however, that the internet is a reason we need more libraries, not fewer. A report from the Australian School Library Association, entitled "Future Learning and School Libraries," pointed out that librarians are important for implementing digital asset management systems and teaching kids the keys to digital literacy.
The internet is a valuable tool for enhancing students' learning, but only if used optimally. Librarians in the 21st century should have the know-how to teach students the value of technology in education and build their capacity to get more value out of digital tools.
Using technology to improve efficiency
Managing educational materials in today's learning ecosystem can be endlessly complicated. It's not just about overseeing shelves of books – there are all sorts of other works in various digital formats involved, and a good librarian has a handle on all of them. This is impossible without an effective library management system and integration with tools to help academics and students get the most out of subscriptions, digital materials and physical holdings.
Fortunately, eReserve Plus can aid in this process and make managing educational materials simpler for everyone involved. By eliminating silos and putting all sorts of materials in into one automated workflow, eReserve Plus has emerged as the perfect solution for running a 21st-century library.