Educators That Rock!

Joyce Valenza, Joyce Valenza librarian
Jim Graham
Joyce Valenza

Educators That Rock!: Joyce Valenza

June 15, 2010
by Shannon Firth
Earlier this year findingEducation spoke with Joyce Valenza, an information specialist and author who manages the Springfield Township High School Library in Erdenheim, Pa. Valenza is also a blogger for School Library Journal, a former tech columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a lecturer on education issues and technology.

Valenza sets the bar exceedingly high for librarians. Inspired by the benchmarks set by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), she recently published "14 Ways K-12 Libraries Can Teach Social Media" (Tech & Learning, 21 Sept. 2009) and her own Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians, which calls for librarians to acquire the necessary skills to guide learners in new and emerging information and communications landscapes.

“If you call yourself an information professional, you have to be a professional in the information landscape of your time,” says Valenza.

fE: What made you want to become a librarian?

JV: I grew up loving books. And I loved helping people. It was a way to connect those two things. When I was 16, I got a job as a page at the local branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. And I worked with a very cute library intern... He started feeding me stuff that was not the stuff my friends were reading, [such as] existential literature. He had given me Kobo Abe’s novels. And I was blown away by that trust... I was reading good stuff anyway—J.D. Salinger, Sylvia Plath. But this was stuff they hadn’t taught me about in school. That job became so much fun. I wanted to connect people with books and information just like that library intern did for me.

Read the rest of the Q&A with Joyce Valenza at findingEducation’s Digital Teachers’ Lounge.

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