Teacher Lab: Library Literacy and Classroom Teacher
Brooklyn Public Library, N.Y.
The Teacher Lab online course, launched in July 2017, is Brooklyn Public Library’s effort to connect library resources with as many teachers as possible. The free, self-paced course introduces fundamental library, research and information literacy skills while helping K-12 educators find a richer variety of resources for their classrooms.
Teachers desperately need help guiding students (and themselves) through an expanding world of information, yet connecting with busy teachers is always a challenge for librarians. The online course brings essential information literacy skills to educators where they are; they can learn for free at their own pace and earn professional development credit for their coursework. Material is kept directly relevant by guiding teachers to connect new skills and knowledge to their own classroom practice.
The course introduces foundational library skills, like navigating the collection and online catalog, and builds to more advanced topics like finding primary sources in an archive, searching databases, using Google and Wikipedia as research tools, writing citations and evaluating resources from journal articles to tweets. Video lectures, discussion boards and independent work keep learning varied and interactive. Educators must build an annotated bibliography for their final assignment to earn a passing grade in the course.
To date, 1,300 educators from over 20 states and Canada have enrolled. More than 150 graduates have earned 12 hours of state-certified credit, applicable towards their teaching license requirements. The Teacher Lab course is planting the seeds of library awareness and support in classrooms across the country, as shown by this comment from a teacher in Texas, “I am so inspired to update my lessons for next year! Libraries are more relevant than ever.”