We hear a lot about 21st Century Skills. How do they affect school librarians and school library media center programs?

To survive in this economy, in a world of budget cuts, staff reductions, and political war on public education, it is more important than ever for schools to have viable school library programs staffed by licensed professionals. Today's school librarian must be indispensible to his/her teaching colleagues and be delivering information technology literacy skills either through direct instruction with students or working in conjunction with other content area teachers.

It is important for school librarians to understand how 21st century skills are defined. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed a framework that outlines what these skills are and how they fit into the larger context of K-12 Education. A complete visual of the framework and description of the skills is here:


What the Framework for 21st Century Skills tells us is that in addition to all the content knowledge, we need to help students build skills on HOW to learn, not just WHAT to learn. This includes helping students build critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity skills. Students also need to understand how to be ethical, discerning users of information. Today's student will be working in an information-driven economy. Now more than ever the school librarian is critical to fostering students who are prepared to study, work, and live in a global economy.

There is a great posting by Joyce Valenza, school library media expert, posted on her wiki page called I know I am a 21st Century School Librarian Because... that speaks to the changing nature of school librarianship and where the profession should be heading.

I will continue adding more resources to this page as time progresses. In the meantime, if you would like the slide deck I use for talking about 21st School Library Media Centers, here it is.

There is a fantastic wiki page called Webtools4u2use that contains links and tips to dozens of Web 2.0 resources. Check it out!

Professional Support

Minnesota school library media specialists, technology integrationists, and technology coordinators have the advantage of a state professional organization. The Minnesota Education Media Organization (MEMO) is the best place to network, share, and interact with other school library media specialists. Please visit us and consider joining.


MEMO has developed standards for Information and Technology Literacy Skills. These standards can help shape your instruction for students and align information literacy with standards in other content areas. You can access the MEMO standards here.