Technology in School Libraries

Article excerpt

Some lucky students in K-12 schools are surrounded by the latest technology and computer-based information systems. Some of us work in those environments or send our children to those schools. Some of us only get to read about them.

I've always featured cutting edge school library specialists in annual Computers in Libraries conferences. And regular readers of this magazine know that we now set aside several pages each month to offer updates of technology-based systems and services of special interest to school media centers. I'm especially proud that Doris Epler has joined the Meckler Technology

Team as school technology track coordinater for CIL '93 and as a regular columnist here.

One (Have) Library

A recent feature in The New York Times focussed on a school library not far down the road from our hometown. The library is set in a tremendously well off institution in Armonk, NY, world headquarters for IBM and close to those of Pepsico and Reader's Digest.

The school, Byram Hills High School, is committed to New York State Education Department's New Compact for Learning, a plan to reform and restructure education. The thrust of the plan is "to change the teacher's role to that of facilitator, or coach, to the student's active learning."

And the kids there are particularly lucky to have Pam Berger as their librarian. Berger is also editor of Information Search and chair of a national database conference aimed at school librarians. She says for her "It's a time of change, but a very exciting a time to be a school librarian."

But What About the Have Nots?

Because of Berger's personal and dynamic enthusiasm, the New York State Initiative, and the school's wealthy suburban setting, kids at Byram Hills are growing and learning in and about computer technology. The same technology they'll use in continuing education and in their professional job life.

But we all know that not all school kids are so lucky. For every Byram Hills there are dozens of students in less affluent districts who have never touched a computer -- let alone are able to do regular coursework by searching electronic databases. …