With the plethora of online resources at the fingertips of our students, research has shown that "...students' feelings of confusion and frustration when interacting with information technologies. Research reveals troubling data related to students' ability to navigate the Web to find the resources they need for academic research" (KasmanValenza). Strong leadership of a school librarian is essential to provide guidance and tools to help facilitate the learning of 21st century students.
With the new release of the Language Arts Common Core Standards, it is evident that the English class is the primary place to ensure students are reading non-fiction books. The library media specialists' role is to select materials that will enhance the curriculum, including non-fiction books, magazines, and newspapers. This same collaboration is true across the content areas as reading in the content area is as important as reading in the English classroom. As Richard Vaca quoted "Adolescents entering the adult world of the 21st Century will read and write more than at any other time in human history. They will need advanced levels of literacy to perform their jobs, run their households, act as citizens, and conduct their personal lives." (Schmoker). With the advance of technology and the expanse of material available for research, students are required to evaluate all sources for their content and validitay, unfortuantely students aren't prepared to tackle such a task, and teachers often lack the time to provide a variety of materials.
A virtual library is one way to collaborate with classroom teachers and provide one place for students and staff to access resources, databases, links to websites, and library materials in support of the curriculum. A virtual library can be a LibGuide, such as was used for this project, wiki, or website. Several examples of an excellent use of the virtual library for collaboration can be found under the Resources tab for this LibGuide.