School Librarian of the Year

School Librarians of the Year look ahead to 2018 education trends

Brittany Sullivan  //  Dec 20, 2017

School Librarians of the Year look ahead to 2018 education trends

What education trends will be big in the New Year? We asked all four School Library Journal School Librarians of the Year—Michelle Carlson Colte, Kristina A. Holzweiss, Todd Burleson, and Tamiko Brown—about the innovative work they’re doing in their own libraries and what they predict will become larger trends for educators in 2018.

Read their full responses, below!


Tamiko Brown (@booksforkiddos)

2017 School Librarian of the Year, Ed White E-STEM Magnet, El Lago, TX

As 2018 approaches, I predict students and teachers will increasingly utilize the school library to collaborate and curate information. Open educational resources (OER) have been around for a while, but I believe in 2018 they will become increasingly popular to help students and teachers access free and reliable resources on-demand. An OER engages learners, empowers learners in a personalized learning setting, and levels the playing field for resources since they are free. Curation platforms will make it easy for students and teachers to curate content, and find content. In 2018, open education resource usage will continue to increase as content found on OERs grows and if you are looking for examples of OER databases, start with Flickercc, OER Commons, Open Michigan, or the Internet Archive. In the new year, curation will ignite collaboration, and OERs will provide more people access to free reliable information.


Todd Burleson (@todd_burleson)

2016 School Librarian of the Year, Hubbard Woods School, Winnetka, IL

Over the past several years, many school librarians, including myself, have been enjoying the maker movement. It has ignited the minds of many learners and created intricate connections across disciplines. There has been a re-imagining of the physical and virtual spaces we call libraries. All of this has been fantastic for our readers and school communities. This year, I'm redoubling efforts in my K–4 school to help both teachers and students utilize picture books. Picture books are the perfect tool to model the best practices to our students—they can be the spark that ignites a passion. The blog There's A Book For That by @CarrieGelson is an amazing resource to share with students and teachers alike. I will be referring to it often this year!


Kristina A. Holzweiss (@lieberrian)

2015 School Librarian of the Year, Bay Shore Middle School, Bay Shore, NY

The most important trend that I see is using print, digital, and makerspace resources to transform “passion projects” into “purposeful projects.” Students are not just learning how to use Tinkercad to design a 3D model, or using digital tools such as Buncee, Flipgrid, and Cospaces for fun. Now they are creating presentations, videos, and virtual worlds to share and to collaborate with others. Students are exploring and even designing ways that they can apply what they have learned through research to solve real problems. For example, students from all over Long Island, NY used the Flipgrid video recording app and web tool to create pitches for their favorite charities. Community members voted for the top 5 of the 76 groups of students to pitch their charities live at our SLIME - Students of Long Island Maker Expo. Our local library organization SSLMA-Suffolk School Library Media Association donated $500, split among the top 5 entries. From using a button maker, to fundraising money for a charity, and even assembling prosthetic hands for the LimbForge organization, students are preparing for their futures today while also making a difference for others.

As John Dewey believed, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” Libraries promote equity by providing access so that all of our students can succeed regardless of socioeconomic background, religion, gender identity, language, age, and academic ability. 


Michelle Carlson Colte (@Michelle_Colte)

2014 School Librarian of the Year, Hale Kula Elementary School, Wahiawa, HI

In 2018, I will be using Seesaw in the library to empower students to curate their spontaneous discoveries. “The library is filled with ideas,” I tell my students. “Many ideas we read in books; others we find online, discover through playful, hands-on exploration, or hear from a friend.” To help record these ideas that they’re exploring in library, I ask a few students to snap photos or video in our Seesaw account. They love being in control of the devices; capturing their learning. Before students leave the library, we gather together and look at the Seesaw feed. To encourage reflection, I ask, “What do you see?” Students inevitably see something they haven’t yet explored—searching the online library catalog, painting on the Buddha board, building with Keva blocks—and they see themselves taking charge of their learning.