Being a Librarian in the Digital Age
It was the “aha!” moment that Stephanie Rosalia was hoping for.
A group of fifth graders huddled around laptop computers in the school library overseen by Ms. Rosalia and scanned allaboutexplorers.com, a Web site that, unbeknownst to the children, was intentionally peppered with false facts.Ms. Rosalia, the school librarian at Public School 225, a combined elementary and middle school in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, urged caution. “Don’t answer your questions with the first piece of information that you find,” she warned.Most of the students ignored her, as she knew they would. But Nozimakon Omonullaeva, 11, noticed something odd on a page about Christopher Columbus. “It says the Indians enjoyed the cellphones and computers brought by Columbus!” Nozimakon exclaimed, pointing at the screen. “That’s wrong.” It was an essential discovery in a lesson about the reliability — or lack thereof — of information on the Internet, one of many Ms. Rosalia teaches in her role as a new kind of school librarian.Ms. Rosalia, 54, is part of a growing cadre of 21st-century multimedia specialists who help guide students through the digital ocean of information that confronts them on a daily basis. These new librarians believe that literacy includes, but also exceeds, books.
Ms. Rosalia introduced herself to her new colleagues as the “information literacy teacher” and invited teachers to collaborate on lessons.“You can read magazines, newspapers, pictures, computer programs, Web sites,” Ms. Rosalia said. “You can read anything you like to, but you have to read. Is that a deal?”