Oct 09, 2017

What is a Future Ready Librarian?

Lynn KleinmeyerAllow me to introduce myself: My name is Lynn Kleinmeyer, and I’m the newest member of Grant Wood AEA’s Digital Learning team. Although my title has changed, I will always be a teacher librarian at heart and will work passionately to support Future Ready Librarianship.

Why Future Ready Librarianship? What’s the big deal?

Well, actually, let’s take a step back and start from the beginning.

The Future Ready movement was actually launched in 2014 as part of the ConnectED to the Future Convening. President Obama, the Secretary of Education, and the Office of Educational Technology recognized the role that digital learning plays in education and wanted to recognize school leaders who were supporting their districts in transitioning to digital learning. They recognized that “[t]echnology has the potential to transform education in America, allowing students to learn more, to do so at their own pace, and to develop the knowledge and skills employers demand” (Office of Education Technology, n.d.).

The recognition of the importance of this work--not only in integration of technology, but also in transforming pedagogy--lead to a partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education, who worked to create a structure that would help make this work more concrete and to ensure stakeholders were considering the multiple aspects integral to success. Although the Future Ready Schools movement has the bend of a digital learning framework, it truly encompasses so much more. It’s about creating learning environments and experiences that our students deserve. It’s about access to information and resources. It’s about personalized learning. It’s about college and career readiness. It’s about actionable steps that we can take to ensure our students have the learning opportunities now that will ensure they’re ready for whatever their future holds.

Library graphic - personalized learning

As this movement and the frameworks were developed, it became clear that all the key-players needed a “voice,” especially teacher librarians. Teacher librarians are uniquely situated to support the Future Ready movement. We are the curators of resources. We teach the ethical use of those resources. We encourage our students to become creators. We advocate for student privacy. We are collaborators. We support curriculum and assessment. We are leaders. We are valuable assets to our schools and vital participants in the conversation.

As a teacher librarian, the Future Ready Librarians Framework was my cornerstone of advocacy. Yes, I utilized lots of resources and my work was definitely guided by standards (ISTE, AASL, Iowa Core, etc.), but no other resource helped others understand what the role of a teacher librarian was all about like the Future Ready Framework. It allowed me to open a dialogue with my administration and my colleagues and made my work visible and tangible for others.

It ensured my spot at the table.

So why do I feel so passionately about Future Ready Librarianship and Framework?

Because our Teacher Librarians and our school libraries matter, and the framework can help others understand the “why.”

Lynn Kleinmeyer is a Digital Learning Consultant at Grant Wood AEA. She can be reached at lkleinmeyer@gwaea.org and you can follow her on Twitter @THLibrariZen

Work Referenced

“[Archived] White House ConnectED to the Future Convening.” Office of Educational Technology. Retrieved from tech.ed.gov/superintendentsummit/