Which library system is best for students in your state?
By Jennifer Strain Next Big Futures: The question that we ask as we build our libraries is: “What will be the future of our education system?”
Libraries can offer students the chance to learn in the same environments and have the same opportunities for success that are available to their peers in traditional classrooms.
And while it’s a hard task to imagine a library system that doesn’t offer opportunities for students to be immersed in the curriculum, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do here at Next Big.
Our goal is to make the libraries of tomorrow available to all students, so they can pursue the careers and enriching experiences they need to thrive in our changing economy.
The Next Big future of libraries, a new project from Next Big, is the first comprehensive review of library systems to be published by a public academic journal.
“There are a lot of different things that you can do with a library, and many libraries don’t have the resources to do all of them,” says lead author, professor of education at the University of Michigan School of Education, Richard Strain.
“In the end, we’re just looking at libraries as a resource for learning.
And that’s the goal of this research.”
To be sure, libraries are just one element of a broader array of educational services available in our world.
We’re also talking about a plethora of different kinds of digital services that are increasingly available to students.
From video game rentals and online learning tools to social networking platforms, libraries have become increasingly important components of many people’s lives.
But what’s the future?
What’s next for libraries?
In order to understand what’s going on, Next Big took a look at the major libraries in the United States and found that, while there are many important things libraries can do to keep students on track in the classroom, they have one huge challenge: the availability of a dedicated computer that can process the huge amount of data students process in the course of their day.
So while most students use their laptops, computers, and tablets, libraries rely on specialized computing devices called servers, which are essentially digital copies of the physical computers used in the classrooms.
The servers are often housed in large, airy, and expensive buildings, and while they may look the same as a regular computer, they are far more powerful and provide access to all sorts of information that students need.
“When we look at how our libraries are performing in terms of performance, they’re really performing really well,” says Strain, who has been working on the Next Big library research for two decades.
“But we’ve also seen that a lot is happening outside of their control.
So, when we look to the future, what’s their role?”
To answer that question, Strain and her colleagues took a broad look at many aspects of the library systems in each state, including: their student population, the amount of staff they have, the types of content they offer, and the type of information they offer.
They also looked at how libraries are managed, including how libraries were funded, their staff budgets, and how many staff are on staff at any given time.
“We really want to understand how libraries perform, what services they provide, and what services are needed in order for them to thrive,” says co-author, Professor of Education and Public Policy at University of California, Davis, Barbara Rolle.
In their review, they also looked more broadly at the availability and financial success of all types of public libraries, and used the results to create a picture of what future systems could look like.
The picture that Next Big presents is one of a future where students have access to the entire curriculum from birth through high school.
There are currently more than 6 million students enrolled in public libraries in North America, and students account for nearly 90 percent of all the students in the country’s public libraries.
However, the majority of them come from low-income families, who rely on government-supported, federally funded programs that help them afford the basics in the form of books, movies, music, and other media.
And when you think about it, these programs help students to pay for everything they want to buy in school and at home.
The problem is, many students can’t afford to buy those things, and even if they could, they don’t want to.
“That’s where the libraries come in,” Strain says.
The next big challenge is the future availability of the computers used to process the data students need to learn. “
The libraries of the future will not be just places where students can access information in the physical space, but will be places where they can access the entire content of their education,” she adds.
The next big challenge is the future availability of the computers used to process the data students need to learn.
And in order to make that happen, libraries need to invest in new technology.
The question of