As far back as Oct 2007, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has already developed the “AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner” to replace the “Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning” previously in use. In addition to acknowledging the key role of information literacy in student learning, the new standard also acknowledges that school library programs must now address multiple literacies.
The 4 learning standards (each supported by 4 strategies – Skills; Dispositions in Action; Responsibilities; and Self-Assessment) are: “Learners use skills, resources, & tools to :
- Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge;
- Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge;
- Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members in our democratic society;
- Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.”
You can download a copy of the ‘Standards for the 21st-Century Learner’ here.
According to ALA/AASL, “the ‘Standards for the 21st-Century Learner’ offer vision for teaching and learning to both guide and beckon our profession as education leaders. They will both shape the library program and serve as a tool for library media specialists to use to shape the learning of students in the school”.
To support school librarians and other educators in teaching the essential learning skills defined in the “AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner”, a Lesson Plan Database was released in late Dec 2010. Via this database, you can create your own lesson plan content and publish it online for others to use. Submitted lesson plans must conform to the defined Lesson Plan Rubric and be approved by AASL before it is released to the database for sharing. You can search the database by learning standards and indicators, content topic, grade-level, resources used, type of lesson or schedule, keyword, etc.
Based on these developments, it is not difficult to see that the role of school librarians has now shifted from that of a facilitator to that of an educator. (Are you ready for the new role?)