The library of the future will include the one you make for yourself

Your Name and Title: Kathleen Johnson


Library, School, or Organization Name: Seattle Academy


Co-Presenter Name(s):


Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Seattle, WA  (Pacific Time)


Language in Which You Will Present: English


Target Audience(s): School Librarians (middle & high school)


Short Session Description (one line): The ultimate student-centered library practice will require the courage to place each student at the center of their own information universe. 


Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

What if we put our students in the driver’s seat? My realization went beyond co-creating with our students, and beyond the user-driven library. If a student is in charge of their own personal and social learning network, their “personal library” so to speak, they can learn from the inside out.  A well-designed personal learning environment (PLE) amplifies an individual and allows them to connect and tap into the power of networked learning to support their interests. Best of all, a dynamic, responsive information universe can live on past the assignment, past the course, past graduation... on into life fulfilling the vision of lifelong learning.


With the introduction of the hyperlink, everyone gained the ability to personalize and define their own pathways through knowledge. It would be difficult to overstate the magnitude of this change and its implications for learning. Personalized learning and inquiry has emerged as one of the primary advantages of the internet. Technology is not just a tool; it has changed the face of learning forever.


Wendy Drexler one of the original PLE advocates, stated that “Librarians are faced with the same shift as teachers.”  That would be the shift from teaching to learning. How can our mission become even more learner-centered?  Librarians are uniquely qualified to participate in this learning revolution because “discovery” is and always has been our mode of operation.


Putting students in charge of their own library, or more precisely their learning network, satisfies their need to create (and co-create); satisfies their need to belong (social networking, social searching, social everything); and satisfies their need to understand (navigation and discovery, when and how they want to).  This organically creates an opening for students to add the library  and the librarian as valued nodes in their learning network. I can’t think of a more authentic relationship to have with our students. Our collections, our pathfinders and our expertise become an extension of the student’s network rather than the other way around. Collectors not collections![1]  It’s a new framework for everything we already do; new packaging for our classic product, one that is more relevant today than it has ever been.


Can this idea of putting our students into the center of their information universe become our new shaping mindset, a bridge to our remixed future?


Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session:

Graphic of Networked Student:



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I love this topic, and would really love to follow up with you on this independently. Would you be available for a short phone call next week?

Well, here is just a taste of where I am going from ol' JSB:

“If you think the internet is just an extension of how to find the old stuff more easily, you have seriously missed the challenge all of us face.”                                   

-- John Seely Brown (10/18/11)

   Author of A New Culture of Learning



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