If I had my way…
1. All students and faculty would be able to access hundreds of e-books, research databases, and other quality resources from anywhere in the school or at home.
2. There would be ample room, comfortable seating, technological hardware, and thousands of fresh and current paper books and magazines available all day long for students and faculty to use in the physical library. Ample desktops would be available and e-readers could be checked out and used, coffee and hot chocolate would be served, and students would be free to explore and learn about the things that interest them as well as school assignments.
3. The library would be staffed to allow students to use the library as early as 6:30 to as late as 4:30, as well as over their lunch breaks. Adult library staff would check out materials, keep the space orderly and correctly filed, create marketing displays, and other tasks. The certified librarian would teach students to find, analyze, assess, and use information effectively and ethically, whether in print or digital format.
4. Information Literacy would be a dedicated course offering taught by the librarian. The librarian would also be available to collaborate with all teachers to create multidisciplinary lessons that address needed 21st century skills.
Our students deserve all of these things to help prepare them to be successful and competitive in a very different employment and professional environment than ever before.
Some of these items are in place here at my school. Most require a financial investment that feels very out of reach. Bill Gates, are you listening? Congress, are you listening? State legislature, are you listening? It is not just educators that serve impoverished students that stay up at night, worrying about whether we are adequately preparing our kids.