Saturday, February 01, 2014

Super Librarians - the power of information literacy in a digital world

Some of my best mentors over the years have been librarians. From the elementary school librarian who first spotted the chubby bookworm huddled in the library window seat, to the corporate librarian on Wall Street to library media specialists who helped me with our first cybersafety program for schools in 1998.

The power of words, information and imagination always drew me, as it has drawn so many others. In #PEI I was lucky enough to meet an incredible group of teacher-librarians in connection with @youthsummitpei. I was also saddened to learn that many schools, given budgetary problems, were cutting the teacher-librarian positions. While I am sure that school administrators and ministry officials are also fans of librarians, I wonder if they know how important librarians are to our children's safety online, digital security and innovative educational programs that will help our children learn?

I am not sure that teacher-librarians need my help, but I need theirs. So, one of the first things we are doing is developing a professional development program for teacher-librarians, library media specialists and librarians in general to help them become certified under the socially safe program in #stopcyberbullying, intimate image abuse (sexting, sextortion and revenge porn), digital best practices for schools and libraries and cybersafety, privacy and security. In the program we will help them understand the importance of home/school policies and how to prepare a policy that works within their school and their library environment. They will understand the risks and benefits of bring-your-own-device programs, laptop school programs and school-wide wireless access. We will share the free interactive resources developed to help address cyberbullying education, awareness and intervention in schools and the community for K-12.

The program tuition will be waived for any #StopCyberbullying teacher-librarian and librarian volunteers committing 160 hours or more a year to local #stopcyberbullying programs. The program will begin in Atlantic Canada, before being released across Canada and the US. Initially, the professional development programs will be delivered face-to-face. Eventually, e-learning options will be released.

For more information, visit stopcyberbullying.ca starting next week. The program size and enrollment will be limited, as necessary. And the number of tuition waiver spots may be limited.