There are people who believe that libraries are no longer relevant now that we have access to astonishing amounts of information at the touch of a pod or pad. Reading is a thing of the past now that we can just plug our brains into the Internet—oh, wait, we can’t do that yet? So, we are still active participants in accessing, evaluating, and understanding information? Wouldn’t it be great if we had someone to help us sort through this avalanche of information; teach us to be information literate? We do; they are called librarians. The idea that librarians only handle print sources is an antiquated notion.
The definition of an information-literate person extends beyond the scope of education and into the workplace and everyday life. Information literacy is an important aspect of an effective and enlightened citizenry, impacting students’ lives well beyond school.
Just because so much information is readily available does not mean that it is worthwhile or even true. Quality information is harder to get—not easier. Teacher librarians educate students and give them the necessary tools to use, find, manage, and critically evaluate information and ethically apply that information to think and solve problems.
Today’s employers are looking for people who understand and can adapt to the characteristics of the Information Age. If a student has “learned how to learn,” they will be a much more attractive job candidate. An information-literate student, with strong analytical, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills, can be expected to be an adaptable, capable, and valuable employee, with much to contribute.
San Luis Coastal will be replacing the teacher librarians instructing our students in the ways of information literacy with babysitters. Or worse, they will hire back qualified teacher librarians as “clerks” knowing that because they are dedicated to teaching and to their students, they will do the same job they have always done—for half the pay.
I just wanted to lend my support to my fellow librarians at San Luis Coastal. The service that they provide is invaluable, and in 10 years San Luis Coastal will realize the enormity of their mistake.