by Joanna Gerakios
Has the saying “future ready” been bounced around in your professional circles recently? Does this term have special meaning for us as school librarians? As I initially began hearing “future ready” used in professional conversations, it seemed to be a mashup of two other educational buzz words: “21st-Century Learning” and “College and Career Ready.” Earlier this year, I facilitated a professional development session with the help of three of my colleagues which we titled, “Is Your Library Future Ready?” In the context of our presentation we used the term “future ready” as a lens for envisioning the school library facility. We focused on creating an environment that accommodates multiple and varied activities and groups, provides flexible learning spaces for both collaborative and individualized learning, and supports access to digital content, mobile devices, and online learning platforms. We were on the right track, but at this year’s AASL Affiliate Assembly meeting at ALA Annual Conference, I gained a much deeper understanding of the national “future ready” effort and the essential involvement of school librarians.
Delegates to the Affiliate Assembly were presented an overview of the Future Ready Schools (FRS) initiative by Sara Trettin, a teacher and librarian who now works at the US Department of Education in the Office of Educational Technology. The initiative is supported by an alliance of leading educational organizations partnering to help districts implement research-based digital and personalized learning opportunities for all students. The delegates were pleased to hear that FRS recognizes school librarians as likely leaders in the digital transformation of learning and is developing resources and strategies to help librarians fulfill this vital role. This graphic illustrates the Future Ready principles and shows how librarians can lead and support in these efforts.
The delegates were challenged with these two questions through a group discussion and storytelling activity:
- How can librarians and libraries support Future Ready schools?
- How can librarians and libraries become more Future Ready?
Lively interactions took place, with participants making connections between the future ready principles and their everyday work with teachers and students.
The Future Ready Librarians webpage states, “If properly prepared and supported, school librarians are well-positioned to be at the leading edge of the digital transformation of learning.” What about you? Are you ready to champion the future ready cause and lead in transforming learning at your school? I bet you are already actively involved in this effort. I encourage you to reflect upon what you are already doing and consider how you and your library can build from there. I also urge you to explore these resources at the Future Ready website so you can be fully prepared to play a central role in the “future ready” conversation and implementation in your school or district.
- About FRS and Future Ready Librarians
- Future Ready Librarians Fact Sheet
- Future Ready Librarians Press Release
- Has my superintendent/district signed on?