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Technology in School Libraries 

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Saved by Staci Cox
on July 21, 2008 at 12:04:40 pm

In the age of Library 2.0, technology is an essential part of any school media center.  21st Century Libraries must support project-based learning and are frequently a hub of technology in the school.  In addition, the librarian may be expected to act as a technology leader of the school.  At the very least, it is the librarian's responsibility to communicate with the school's administration and technology committee about the central role libraries should play when it comes to information access. 


The following list of equipment is only general. Specific models and brands will depend upon the size of your project, your budget, the needs of your patrons, and requirements predetermined by your district's purchasing department. Use this list in discussions with your administration and/or technology committee about the needs and values of technology in the library.  (Several districts have adopted minimum educational specifications for libraries, and locating that information may be of additional assistance to you.)


Technology in the library must support four areas:

  1.      The curriculum and teaching program of your school
  2.      The research and information access of students and staff
  3.      The production and presentation of research projects
  4.      The management of library processes


1.  Curricular Support


  • Video screens or Smart Boards permanently available in all instructional areas (preferable)
  • LCD projectors permanently mounted in all instruction areas
  • Document projectors
  • DVD players and/or recorders
  • Portable video receivers (if necessary)
  • Satellite dish or cable access, with the ability to record educational programming
  • Audio speakers in all instructional areas (perhaps in conjunction with video)
  • Portable computer speakers
  • Capability to play CD, MP3, and DVD audio files
  • Public address system (microphone)


It should be noted that several staff members may utilize quality instructional materials that are only available via older media formats.  While it's a good idea to regularly evaluate the use of equipment in your storage room, exercise caution before removing all older machines (VHS players, tape recorders, LaserDisk players, etc.).  It is wise to keep an appropriate number of functioning machines on hand if there is still a need in your school.


2.  Research and Information Access



  • Computer workstations with network access to school server
  • Internet access (both wired and wireless)
  • Access to online public access catalog (OPAC)
  • Access to databases (Digital Pipeline and additional purchases) without a password
  • Access to eBooks
  • Networked laser printers (at least one should be reserved for library use only and available in media center)
  • Access to playback machines (video, sound, eBook, and audio eBook) through library
  • Photocopy machine
  • Telephone
  • Fax machine
  • Site license arrangements for software when necessary


Distance access

  • Access to databases (Digital Pipeline and additional purchases) with a password
  • Access to online catalog
  • Access to eBooks
  • Appropriate licensing agreements for software


3.  Publishing and Presentation


  • Computer workstations (including webcams, CD or DVD R/W drives, and adequate memory/processor speed for multimedia presentations)
  • Word processing, spreadsheet, and slideshow software (with appropriate licenses)
  • Storage media (access to school server, portable hard drives, or CD/DVD)
  • Laser printers (color)
  • Scanner
  • Poster printer
  • Laminator
  • Binding machine
  • Copy machine (color)
  • Digital camcorder
  • Digital camera
  • LCD projector
  • Video editing equipment
  • Document projector


4.  Library Management


  • Computer workstation with capability to:
    • access online public access catalog (OPAC) system
    • run circulation software
    • order materials and read reviews online
    • read online journals and database articles
    • process materials and perform routine collection maintenance tasks
    • access student records
    • access school server
  • Fax machine
  • Printer
  • Photocopy machine
  • Teaching computer station with all video, sound, network, etc. available in any classroom


For more specific information or help in planning a technology project for your library, contact the School Library Coordinator.

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