The Evolution of Metadata and Implications for School Librarians

School librarians must use traditional cataloging practices as well as contemporary metadata to source, evaluate, organize, and provide access to increasingly digitized resources. Because school librarians are responsible for ensuring access to the best, most relevant resources for their school communities, comfort and proficiency with the various codes used to index resources is essential.  The evolution of metadata, of the patron’s ability to access, alter and even to create it, have redefined the role and responsibilities of the school librarian.

School librarians are no longer simply responsible for acquiring access to desired resources; students are no longer simply recipients of information. Librarians and their communities are now contributors, analyzers, and evaluators of information.

Today’s students now have the power to change the data rather than merely to access it. Students have access to a universe which extends well beyond the library walls and beyond their communities out into the world. Because of this new normal, education in digital citizenship, effective communication, and critical thinking skills are essential components of library education.

Teacher-librarians have a responsibility to prepare students not just with the skills to be successful in the modern world, but to be flexible and reflective enough to change – to prepare not for what is, but for what will be. Just as the libraries of today do not look like the libraries of yesterday, neither do they look like the libraries of tomorrow.


Photo Credit

Rees, David. (1974). Librarian at the card files at a senior high school in New Ulm, Minnesota [Digital image]. Retrieved from

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