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Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 07/14/2011

Why librarians should be more like Lady Gaga

School libraries around the country are being dramatically cut as government officials look for places to cut their budgets — even though research shows that the country’s highest-performing students come from schools with good library centers.

This is a version of a post written by The Daring Librarian, otherwise known as, Gwyneth Anne Jones, who works as a teacher-librarian in Laurel, Md., and who writes The Daring Librarian blog. She was named a “mover and shaker” of 2011 by the Library Journal, and is on the board of directors of the International Society for Technology in Education.

By Gwyneth Anne Jones

Times are tough all over for education. Superintendents and administrators are making some hard financial decisions. Any position that does not have constant student interaction, testing expectations and direct grading is vulnerable. Librarians and school libraries are at a crossroads.

This is one of the most exciting times to be a teacher-librarian in our country and is also the scariest. A revolution is at hand, and we need to be nimble, daring, digital and shift both our practice and the way the world thinks of school librarians and libraries.

Some revolutions compel you to throw everything out. This revolution is easy ... keep what you love but just make a shift.

[Author] Seth Godin recently said: “A librarian is a data hound, a guide, a sherpa and a teacher.”

I like that... We are NOT expendable because we are guiding the minds of our students to lead them to become life-long learners, curious searchers, and good digital citizens.

Librarians must teach Google ed and social media ed because we know kids are going to connect and create online, and its better that they do it with knowledge, discernment, responsibility and ethics. We must shift our language, adding words like attribution, tagging, widget, Creative Commons, transliteracy, and authority.

“I’ve always been famous, it’s just no one knew it yet.”

— Lady Gaga

Shift perception! We need to be more like Lady GaGa than Lady Bird Johnson. We need to establish a clear, pervasive, vibrant, and involved presence in their school, community, and on the web. The more visible librarians are the less likely that they’ll be taken away. Those teacher librarians who are hiding their brilliant programs under a bushel, that’s when they’re most likely to get cut. We need to stay positive, be proactive, and always be professional!”

Why Lady Gaga?

She loves her “little monsters” and so do we!... She is innovative, a risk-taker, a change agent, an early adopter and dag she’s COOL! She also is all about self-empowerment. ...

I’m SO not saying that we all need to start wearing meat gowns or Alexander McQueen sky high pumps ... but to paraphrase my mentor and super hero [teacher-librarian] Dr. Joyce Valenza...We need to step up our game, get fierce, throw off the pumpkin sweaters, be awesome at our jobs and fight the good fight!

[Here’s one of the great corrections: The original post misstakenly said the sky high pumps were Steve McQueen’s.]

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