Librarians Point the Way on Digital Learning

Project Tomorrow‘s annual Speak Up surveys show that librarians are in a unique leadership position to develop new visions of learning at their schools. We see that administrators now have a well-articulated need and community backing to support digital integration, and teachers are increasingly looking for resources and training to take better advantage of new technology in their classrooms. Librarians are already on the front lines supporting both administrators’ visions and teachers’ daily needs and we only see that increasing.

Over the last few years, we have seen large changes in both what librarians are sourcing for teachers and in the challenges librarians confront with digital content in schools. For instance, in 2010, 30 percent of librarians told us they were securing e-book subscriptions. By 2014, that number had increased to 45 percent. The following chart shows increases among all sorts of digital content, particularly subscriptions, videos and games. SpeakUp2014 Content Types

Anyone who is curious about the types of learning resources that are in demand from teachers and students can learn a lot from these results. Librarians are the ones getting the requests, and they are pointing the way to what is in demand.

When we look at the challenges of supporting digital content in schools, there were large increases in the percent of librarians reporting that Internet access is insufficient (19 percent in 2010; 34 percent in 2014), students lack access to technology in school (17 percent in 2010; 41 percent in 2014), difficulty locating appropriate digital content (10 percent in 2010; 28 percent in 2014) and teacher uncomfortable using digital content (33 percent in 2010; 46 percent in 2014).SpeakUp2014 Library Challenges

An increase in challenges is not what anyone wants to report, but our hope is always that Speak Up data helps bring serious issues to light and helps offer some potential solutions. The people who are closest to the classroom – students, teachers and librarians – share their experiences and opinions every year, and we are proud to turn up the volume on their voices. We know that administrators and policy makers across the country look to Speak Up survey results to help guide decisions about funding, training and practice.

The 2015 Speak Up surveys are open until December 18th. Librarians are encouraged to take the confidential survey and to share it with their colleagues and their schools. Speak Up wants to hear from everyone on these important issues!

How are you supporting teachers in reaching their digital learning goals? How has your role as a librarian changed throughout the years? Let us know through Speak Up! Our annual survey is open today through December 18th and enables you to have a voice in education policy decisions. Speak Up surveys available at

Julie Evans is the CEO of Project Tomorrow. Find her on Twitter @JulieEvans_PT.

Author: Julie Evans

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Technology

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