What Does a Library Lesson Look Like?

It's a question I get asked over and over again, by strangers and by those closest to me.  My friends and family know that I love what I'm doing, some of them know I get to do cool tech things like play with Glogster, or Prezi, or VoiceThread, and iPads, but they don't really know what happens during a library lesson.  The short answer is, of course, not very helpful: many things.  Our core goals as school librarians are to foster a love of reading (naturally), but in today's "information overload" age, our job is also to teach students key information literacy skills while meeting state curricular standards.

"What does that mean?" I hear you asking. Well, to give you an example, the past two weeks I've worked with several high school classes in my practicum to help them with different research projects.  Part of this process has involved teaching a refresher on how to use the OPAC to find books relating to their topics.  Part of it has been website evaluation - a recap of website extensions and a reminder to always check who is publishing the information you are using so that you can gauge their potential biases. Or I've been teaching them how to do advanced searches in the databases, or navigate the library's new collection of e-books.  At my elementary practicum, my lessons included a unit on nursery rhymes, poetry, Greek mythology, and global Cinderella stories. Information literacy is a vital skill for success in today's world, because these are skills students will use not just in school, but in college and throughout their lives as well.

Librarians are also involved in educating students about cyberbullying, a responsibility laid out in the Massachusetts state law relating to bullying.  We teach students how to use technology, software that enhances their learning, and how to think critically.  We design graphic organizers to help them learn effective note-taking techniques and information organization.  In the younger grades especially, we are closely involved in building key early literacy skills by exposure to books and language, both in library lessons and by giving students access to books through checkout, which is vital especially when they don't necessarily have access to them at home.

This is a very enriching, engaging, meaningful profession, and the Simmons program trains you to be an excellent librarian, one who is given the skills, training, and experience to create and implement a curriculum that will benefit your students.  As I draw to the end of my time here at GSLIS, I realize what a great choice I made by coming here.

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