Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saving the Google students..

In Sunday's editorial at the LA Times, recently pink-slipped school librarian Sara Scribner writes:

     The current generation of kindergartners to 12th graders -- those 
     born between 1991 and 2004 -- has no memory of a time before 
     Google. But although these students are far more tech savvy than 
     their parents and are perpetually connected to the Internet, they 
     know a lot less than they think. 

     And worse, they don't know what they don't know.

Sara and I clearly agree--there's much to be done, and teaching kids how to do research is a critical part of their education, it's not really optional. She makes a good argument, very consistent with what I happened to also write yesterday.  

As the VP of Search at Google, Udi Manber, has said many times, we now live in a time when the Four Rs dominate:  Reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic and Research.  (At least Research actually begins with an "R.")  

Librarians, especially school librarians, are a natural teachers for bring research skills to students.  There's nothing much sadder than when a student comes to the reference desk and asks "Do you have 'The Great Gatsby'?"  Well, gee, it's a public library... I dunno.  How do you think you'd find out?  (True story.  I saw this happen--and the patron was a college student who really should have known better.)  

I always worry when school budgets are cut back, but I deeply worry when it's library staff that's being let go.   Chin up, Sara!  Let's get that parcel tax passed, lest we create a generation of kids who don't know how to do any kind of research, let alone grow up to become an informed electorate.