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Hi --

I wanted to weigh in on this one because I have experience on both sides of
the question. And, as many of you have figured out by now with other
subjects, coming down in the middle of a thorny issue can be downright

I was the HS library in this district for 7 years. When I came into this
district, the HS library was probably the most irrelevant place on campus.
Kids literally prided themselves on never having the need to come to the
library for the entire 4 years of their HS experience. Teachers arranged for
their kids to have access to the public library rather than using our HS
library. Needless to say, I needed ways to make the library relevant to both
students AND teachers. One of the ways I did this was to become very
knowledgeable about the district's technology efforts. I was on the district
committee charged with implementing a multi-million dollar bond issue.

In this district, there are 8 librarians from grades K-12. Only one other
librarian, besides myself, were acknowledged technology leaders in their
schools. Libraries in our district are not seen as technology centers -- and
some of the librarians like it that way!!

Two years ago, I "cross to the other side" and became a Technology Education
Support Teacher. I do lots of trouble-shooting and training. I also help
both kids and teachers navigate the intricacies of our district's programs
and equipment. I have acted as liason between the tech department and
teacher/student many times, smoothing the way for things to get done. I've
spent lots of time building credibility with the tech guys and know the
kinds of questions that will be asked by and of both sides. I can give/get
information more smoothly than anyone else. I like to think that I'm
continuing the mission I had while HS librarian.

In working more closely with the technology department, I try to balance my
knowledge of both areas. I've had to tell teachers that they are better off
looking at home improvement listservs on their own time. I've had teachers
yell at me because the network is too slow -- when they wanted to watch the
video of last night's college football game. I really do find myself caught
in the middle because I understand both sides of the question and do my best
to make sure kids' research needs really are met. Our tech department (those
in charge of the network) are really great guys -- and I've told them that I
wouldn't want their job for anything. I respect their knowledge of the
network and what issues they try to manage and keep everyone happy. They
also know that they don't have my background and they respect my knowledge
of curriculum and student needs. If it is at all within their power, I've
never had them tell me that they couldn't unblock a site that is needed for
educational purposes. There are times that we've had to find ways to work
around some needs -- like streaming video -- because of bandwidth and speed

Guess this has gotten longer than I intended. I do think that many of the
skills that made me a good librarian also make me good at the job I have


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