Spotlight on School Librarians – Wyne Cler, MLIS
The library at Graland Country Day School in Denver, Colorado is abuzz with students. While parent volunteers (the library has over 100) – shelve books and check out materials, head school librarian, Wyne Cler, and her staff gear up for a day with pre K – grade 4 students who will visit the library to hone their information literacy skills. Cler has “very high expectations” for the graded skills assignments that students must complete. Graland, a pre K – grade 8 school with 645 enrolled, has a strong commitment to integrate technology into learning: each 5-7th grader has an iPad and all 8th graders have a laptop.
In addition, the library has numerous laptops for student use. Connecting library visits with what is going on in the classroom can be a challenge. Cler notes that an ever-changing curriculum means constant change in the library’s resources.
While there is no formal discussion between teachers and library staff about the curriculum and support from the library resources, the school is initiating a more formalized communication process by mapping the curriculum electronically so all educators can have access. Cler also takes the initiative to engage in informal exchanges between her and the teaching staff. But the ever-smiling Cler sees the constant shift as a good thing – it allows for enhancements to the library’s collections.
This flexibility allows technology to be woven throughout the curriculum. Cler notes continual exploration of 21st century learning in action with digital storytelling: podcasts, epubs, apps (e.g., Educreations, ScribblePress, Book Writer), YouTube, Apple applications (e.g., PhotoBooth, Keynote, Pages).
Cler, with two children of her own, says that being a parent has given her great empathy in working with students and parents. A former academic and public librarian, Cler notes the most surprising thing for her about coming to a school library over 11 years ago is how much she loves it – “the kids are fabulous, they just want to learn and have fun and have a BIG passion for reading.”
The biggest shift Cler has seen over the last decade is time spent teaching students how to use digital resources – from applying critical thinking skills to evaluation of information sources to organizing and sharing information – beginning in 4th grade. “It’s more of a learning curve for the librarian than the digital native. Kids are teaching each other.”
-Dana Abbey, Colorado/Health Information Literacy Coordinator