Letters to the Editor

Libraries, librarians are essential resources

The University of Washington 2009 senior class gift was given to the UW Odegaard Undergraduate Library because, although our degrees will represent academic achievement across campus, we all share a common precious campus resource — the university libraries. And though no one gets a degree from the library, all undergraduates benefit from the wealth of resources and information available, especially in our undergraduate-specific building: the Odegaard Undergraduate Library.

Remember the role that the library played during your high school and college education, knowing that, today, the role of the librarian is more critical due to the overwhelming amount of information available in many different formats.

The students of the class of 2009 recognized this. The “wealth of resources and information available” are there because professional librarians made the purchases and helped college students find and use it.

The Legislature recognized the importance of technology in college, in career training and in the job market when, in 2007, it charged the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop an EALR (essential academic learning requirement) for Educational Technology, which would define what K-12 students should know and be able to do with technology.

The Educational Technology EALR was released in December 2008. Among its expectations are that students “identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation and plan strategies to guide inquiry” (standard 1.3.1), “locate and organize information from a variety of sources and media” (standard 1.3.2), and “analyze, synthesize, and ethically use information to develop a solution, make informed decisions and report results” (standard 1.3.3).

Furthermore, the Educational Technology EALR supports the eighth-grade technology literacy assessment required by the No Child Left Behind Act. There is even a line item on the state 2008-2009 School Technology Inventory report form to indicate the level of expertise of the Library Media Specialist, a space that will be left blank beginning with next year’s report.

I encourage public schools to support a high quality college preparatory education for all secondary school students by providing the teacher who is most qualified to steer them through the 21st century information age and enact state and federal technology standards — the teacher-librarian.

Jeani Littrell-Kwik

Bellevue

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