Four Futures for School Libraries – Guest Post by Valerie Hill #4FOR14

4 themes for school libraries in 2014 by by Dr. Valerie Hill.

The four areas for the future of School Libraries that Dr. Hill outlines are:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Constructivist Learning
  • Collaboration
  • Digital Citizenship

This guest post was written by Dr. Valerie Hill, school librarian for Lewisville ISD in Texas and adjunct instructor at Texas Woman’s University School of Library and Information Studies.

Critical Thinking:

Today’s youth live in global participatory digital culture with a tsunami of incoming information in multiple formats at their fingertips, which requires constant critical evaluation of content. Students have always needed to think critically about information (task definition or asking the construct learning Vall Hillright questions) but with unlimited resources and search tools, critical thinking has become a monumental task. Librarians must not only help students but also teachers and parents to learn to navigate the “sea of online chaos”.

Constructivist Learning:

The rise in apps, multi-media tools, gamification, and tools for user-generated content creation and curation, has rapidly made the production of information more prevalent than the consumption of information. Alvin Tolffer calls students today prosumers because they both produce and consume information. Pedagogy is moving toward constructivism and the first choice for most young people is not to just “read” the book- but to enter the game, the virtual world or even to “create” the world.

Example: Digital Citizens in Minecraft (a game created by 5th graders to teach digital citizenship to younger students)

Here’s the link:


Because students today live in digital culture, physical distance is no longer an obstacle. Physical world libraries are moving toward the learning commons or makerspace models, giving students opportunities to collaborate in physical and virtual spaces on a global scale. Examples of the move toward collaborative learning for real-life relevant issues include Problem Based Learning (called PBL’s) or the ability to use Skype or Google-Hangouts for author visits or to meet experts around the world.

Example: Our Google Hangout with author Aguirre and Illustrator Rosado

Here’s the link:

Digital Citizenship: 

One of the most important challenges for school librarians is the need to teach digital citizenship. Information literacy now includes personal responsibility for both intake of information in all formats (print or electronic) and participation in networked society. Sharing knowledge through ethical behavior and respect for intellectual property, while promoting understanding of online privacy, cyber safety and digital footprints is an enormous task as young students may lack understanding of misconceptions, conflicting information, bias, propaganda or the need for aesthetic personal growth. Librarians and educators can learn how to teach digital citizenship through the development of professional learning networks and resources such as the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner or

Example: 4th Graders created digital citizenship tips for younger students using Tellagami avatars.

Here’s the link:


It is an exciting and important time in School Libraries and these tips for the near future spark our drive in getting to the next stage. Thank you, Val.

What are your #4for14?