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Rita Sorrentino
Published
Sep 04 2010

NeverEndingSearch: A Leading Librarian's Blog

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In today’s digital world the role of the librarian has shifted from being an information provider of print collections to an information specialist equipped with new tools to facilitate services beyond books and walls.  The World Wide Web offers us vast amounts of information in an assortment of media 24/7. While some may question the need of librarians in this always-on and always open learning environment, many see the librarian as a key player in helping teachers and students access, question, organize, share, and present information. As new technologies continue to transform the role of librarians, there are leaders in the field of library science that are paving the way.

Joyce Valenza, who blogs at NeverEndingSearch, is one such librarian. She is the Teacher-Librarian at Springfield Township High School in Erdenheim, Pa and welcomes the new opportunities in the changing landscape of information and communication environments. In a blog post, “A Time to Reflect," Valenza notes that the traditional means for measuring the library's impact need revision to accommodate students’ exploring new options for communicating the results of their research. “What I really saw this year was our move toward becoming a learning commons. Our space is moving beyond research and reading and getting stuff, to a place for making and sharing stuff, a place for production, for the exchange of ideas, for cross-disciplinary activity. And so much of our activity is taking place virtually." In a one-to-one school such as Springfield Township High School, book borrowing and class visits may be down but student activity and production is indeed up. Students are finding new audiences for their authentic work. Headsets and cameras are tools of the trade for collaboration and publication of new knowledge. Visitors to the school library will find students working in groups or independently engaged in varied activities: writing research papers, reading e-books, posting in blogs, teleconferencing with experts, producing media, exploring new search tools, searching journal databases, collaborating on wikis and google docs, and preparing presentations of research results.

The NeverendingSearch(SLJ) is a must-subscribe blog for librarians and educators trying to keep pace with the changes in the creation and
delivery of information and the importance of equity in its access. Valenza keeps her readers up to date on library-related issues and acquisitions. She reviews virtual resources, such as the new "Library of Congress Virtual Tour APP" that mirrors its award-winning Library of Congress Experience and the iTunes Museum Room that gathers together downloadable audio tours from museums all over the world. She suggests sharing these resources with students to better prepare them for Museum visits as well as cultural and historical field trips. Her concern for the impact of shrinking resources on young learners and advanced researchers is presented in "POWER Library: A shadow of its former self."   The School Library Journal call for video trailers that promote books and encourage reading is explained in "New Video Book Trailers Awards!" Valenza supports the important role that video plays in bringing readers to books as well as the creative process for its creators. In "My ISTE Highlights (Part 1)," Joyce reflects on her experience at the ISTE10 Convention in Denver with links to her presentation on "Information Literacy" and an outline of resources from other presenters and workshops.

The links below provide additional resources for learning more about Joyce Valenza's professional involvement in the changing landscape of libraries and the shifting role of librarians.

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