Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Analysis of Technology and the School Media Center

For class this week, we were required to interview a librarian about the role of technology in the media center or library. I decided to interview the media specialist at my home school - Hamlet Middle School.

There was a lot that I didn't know. I thought I was more knowledgable about the processes for using, managing, and removing technology than I really was. For example, I learned that technology can be thrown out. Yes, you read that right, thrown out. If it was worth less than $500 when it was purchased, it can just be "gotten rid of." However, if it's a fixed asset, it will be auctioned later. I had no idea that the school did technology auctions. Who buys old, obsolete technology??? Maybe that is just coming from a youngster who only wants new and usable stuff. 

I knew about all of the technology that we had in the media center - computers, Nooks, SMARTboard, projectors, cameras - but I didn't know how often it was being used. From what we discussed, it sounds like there is rarely someone in the library using the computers. This made me wonder how often I can push and get my class in there. If it's sitting there, not being used, I WANT IN! I fight over laptops upstairs, so if I can just travel to the media center, I'm game. I would be about three computers short for my biggest class, but I always have students who want to do their assignments on paper. It works out.

Something that bothers me about this interview was how to handle broken or malfunctioning technology. For the entire county, there are only four people who are equipped to do repairs.  Four. FOUR! This helps me understand the long wait when we submit a technological work order. For example, there are currently four laptops on the cart assigned to my team that do not work. I have tried to fix them as has the media specialist. Nothing can be done until they are reimaged, at the very least. The only people with those capabilities are required to do other orders for the whole county. If we are moving into a more technological age, shouldn't we have more people who have the ability to repair computer issues?

Budget is an issue, again. The school media center always gets the short end of the stick with the budget, I feel like. I remember from another class I've taken (one from the summer with Dr. Veltze) that the school library budget is supposed to be very large, but never is. $9000 for everything may sound like a lot of money, but it goes fast. Between weeding out old material and replacing it with something better, subscriptions to magazines and online services/databases, upkeep on technology and other equipment needed, etc. the budget is gone. Imagine the amazing things that the school media center could do if it was given budget that it could really work with.

I think that this interview really just served to frustrate me a little. I'm inspired as well, because I can see the potential for beautiful things to be done in the media center with technology, but I'm frustrated because the media center is so separate from everything else. I wish I knew how to explain it...