School libraries have been called instructional media centres, media centres, information centres, information commons, iCentres, learning labs, learning commons, digital libraries, and cybraries (Farmer, 2017). These terms are in some ways faddish and transitory. ‘Library’, however, has a deep and long tradition associated with it, although the spaces and tools of libraries change over time. Librarians in schools have also had many names, such as teacher librarian, library teacher, library media specialist, library media teacher, cybrarian, information navigator, information specialist, information professional, informationist, and information scientist (Farmer, 2017; Lankes, 2011). Lankes (2011) argues that the terms ‘library’ and ‘librarian’ are entwined with the concept of knowledge and learning. I have said before that those claiming disruption should embrace interrogation of their ideas. Does ‘library’ need to be disrupted, in what ways, and why (or why not)?
Deborah Netolicky reflects on her recent investigation into libraries. This included their history, how they and those who work within them are defined. Her review of literature found that libraries are:
- Neutral and democratising;
- Participatory and connected locally and globally;
- Centred around learning, literacy, research, and knowledge; and
- Facilitators of interdisciplinarity.
She also created a tri-venn diagram to represent the contested nature of the space:
I have written about the future of libraries before, however Netolicky’s deep dive takes it a step further.