Teacher librarian adapts to new digital world


By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor


MFL MarMac teacher librarian Melissa Haberichter gave the school board a library program presentation Monday night about some of her duties with the district, as well as how a librarian’s role has changed in the new digital world.


While other librarians might focus on budgets and the number of patrons, Haberichter said she wants to get away from some of those “boring” things. She also wants to get rid of the stereotype some might have of librarians as older ladies who constantly “hush” students.


“I no longer want the hush, but the hub and the hum,” she said.


Today, said Haberichter, librarians go by a number of names and wear many hats, which she said keeps her job interesting.


One aspect of her job is reading engagement, which involves adding the right books to the school’s collection and getting kids interested in reading. To aid in that, within the last year, Haberichter said students have gone on field trips and listened to guest speakers. At the high school level, students participated in speed dating with books. For this, tables full of books of different genres were spread out and students traveled table to table to see if they could make a “love connection.”


“Books are a surprisingly small part of my job,” said Haberichter, adding that information literacy has also become important. “Never before have we seen so much information.”


Haberichter said she works with not only students, but also teachers, in sorting through information and learning how to handle it, especially when dealing with research projects. Some of the key things she teaches are access, evaluation, ethics, synthesis and perspective, which helps students understand context and each side of a story.


Technology has also become an important aspect of a librarian’s job.


“I really enjoy this part,” Haberichter said, explaining that she enjoys being part of a team that teaches other people how to use technology. “I teach what to do when you don’t know what to do.”


In concluding her presentation, Haberichter said she sees today’s computers as yesterday’s pencils and paper.


“I see the role of a librarian expanding,” she said, “and I’m prepared to continue to help with that transition.”

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