Don't Be a Rotary Phone: Librarians Step Up

OR, What kind of phone are you?
The game has changed. Libraries have changed....and librarians must change with them. Telephony has changed, too! But has it, really?.....
Ok, just go with me on this. From candlestick phones, crank powered wall phones, rotary phones....the touch tone innovation to blue tooth smart phones and iPhones....telephones have moved forward, evolved, improved, and sometimes gotten more difficult to use as new features were added.

But do people still talk on the phone?

Do you foresee a time when people won't be communicating with each other in SOME way? Maybe through Voip or Skype but we'll ALWAYS talk to each other. It might not be the same WAY but we will communicate.

Same thing with libraries and books....the technology has changed from etchings on cave wall, parchment scroll, wax tablet to Kindle but we're still reading. I LOVES me my Kindle! But I really believe that the Kindle is more of an addition than a replacement to books. I could be wrong, but people LOVE to HOLD a BOOK. I know I do! I also like to smell new books (yes, i'm weird Mmm new book i the only one?) Heck, after the CD, MP3 there are still people who love their vinyl records!
So books....on shelves...for kids. That won't's the how but not the what.

With those changes librarians must change, too. The plaintive cry "I went to Library school not technology school" doesn't fly anymore. Obstinate and proud "old school" school librarians need to step up. Our profession is not going to freeze in static time just because you learned how to use the Sears Subject guide, do your own cataloging but don't know a wiki from a blog or a plurk from a tweet.

A doctor doesn't stop learning new surgery techniques in a 30 year practice nor should we. If we stay stagnant in our profession who are we to blame when we are deemed obsolete?

In this day and age when we are literally fighting to keep our school libraries open and keep our more than EVER we need to keep relevant and up to date and proficient with the changes in our profession.

Yes, it's a pain to learn new things - but to stay vibrant, relevant, and effective practitioners of information technology we must bite the bullet and learn. There are SO many ways to learn and to advance our professional development out there. FREE webinars from the TL Virtual Cafe, Learn Central, personal learning networks like TL Library and Classroom 2.0 Ning, and organizations like AASL, ISTE and attending conferences like ISTE10.

We need to ride that crest of the SMART phone not the Rotary phone!...take the challenge. And i have to admit...when it comes to cellular telephony I've been a Luddite for YEARS! I just got my first "real" cell phone a year ago to the daily teasing of all my friends (I'm still keeping my landline & answering machine, TYVM!) SO, i get that sometimes we dig our heels in obstinately (I'm admittedly oppositional defiant!) but this is a time where we have to bite the bullet and move forward.

Having a web presence as a librarian and a school library is not an option any longer. Does it have to be a fancy web page with FLASH, animations and all the bells and whistles?... NO!....actually i find those distracting. It can be just a blog, a wiki or a simple clean easy to navigate iWeb page. But SOMEthing! Something to communicate your mission and the things that you're doing in your school to the kids and out to the community. But don't worry...there's help out there for this!

This Monday March 1st, the TL Virtual Cafe is presenting a FREE webinar on Learn Central about this very issue. Please take a second to answer this poll:

How is your library available to students via the web? What is your library web presence in the community? Are you a web wallflower or dancing with the stars - web-wise? A discussion of effective practice and essential elements for making your library instruction, program, and tools more accessible for students and the community
visit our TL Virtual Cafe Wiki for more information

I worried this blog posting was too mean & tweeted it out asking that:

@gwynethjones not mean but maybe harsh (some don't have time/tech support to do things). Need to understand small steps are ok, too.

Absolutely! So...words to the wise:

Keep your appetite large but your plate small! Challenge yourself to try new things every day, week, month, or year. Whatever feels right and not too overwhelming to you! Give yourself a challenge! Push yourself but don't pressure yourself. So many times we go to conferences or webinars and see things and get EXCITED and ENERGIZED and then feel immediately DEFEATED thinking "OMG! how can i do all of that??!" Well, you don't need to do ALL of that just try to do some of that! You'll be amazed and proud of yourself at what you can accomplish when you stretch your tech muscles and jump! Most of all have fun and GROW!

Top 4 easy things to try if you don't have a web presence:
  • Create a FREE teacher wiki page for professional development or to list your research tips or database links. Here is an awesome example of that from Joyce Valenza and if that intimidates you then you can look at my not too shabby but less fancy research database wikipage! If you don't have a wikipage yet, you'll LOVE how EASY it is to publish fast!
  • Create a free Sqworl account so you can squirrel away visually great links & ideas for use in school and/or for yourself professionally! Directions
  • Start building your PLN and join Twitter, or a Ning. (see examples & more) even if you don't contribute much at first, you can lurk & learn!
  • Challenge yourself! Pick a App from this list and try it this year! 25 Free Apps And Websites For Tech-Loving Teachers or visit my site and pick one of those!

Got an idea for a good goal!? Please post to the wall!

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

photo credits:
Blue rotary by AZAdam
textured rotary phone by carlos Restrepo

Old Phone~New Phone by kc~Karen...studying.... ..
Smart Phone by Coated
Wall phone Antique Trader


  1. Nice piece, Ms Jones. Wonder how many readers don't know what a rotary phone is?


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