In 2017, I had the honor of contributing an essay to a collection of essays written to honor Blanche Woolls, a school library leader and mentor to librarians across the United States and the world. Contributors were invited to focus on the past, present, or future of school librarianship.
My choice of focus was easy because, at the time, I was trying to figure out inquiry in the digital environment. I recognized that the school library profession had to confront the new demands and new opportunities of digital inquiry. I looked at my own information behavior and thought about the ways I was struggling to adapt my inquiry skills to this online world. How could I sort through thousands of hits to find the best information on issues that I cared about? How could I trust the information I found online when I often could not determine the credentials and authority (or even the name of) the authors? How could I avoid my own confirmation bias?
I wanted and needed to understand the types of thinking that would be required for effective learning in this ever-changing and tumultuous environment. In the essay, I used a quote from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to encapsulate my state of mind as I was trying to make sense of this world:
My responsibility as a school librarian is to figure out what skills and strategies we must teach to enable students to be successful in making sense of online information without running "twice as fast." This book chapter captures my thinking in my own journey to understand inquiry in the digital environment.
Click on the pdf above to read chapter 4, "Empowering Students to Inquire in a Digital Environment" from School Librarianship: Past, Present and Future, edited by Susan W. Alman (Roman and Littlefield, 2017).
Stripling, Barbara K. "Empowering Students to Inquire in a Digital Environment." School Library Connection, June 2021, schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2254698?topicCenterId=2252404.
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