The Future of Schools & Libraries

Public schools are not the future. Any teacher will tell you that it is impossible to teach a classroom full of 30 students when 80% of the class doesn’t want to be there. Now that all information is available online, there isn’t a reason to have mandatory education, because students will use the internet to look up the things they are interested in. The smart students will realize that they won’t get far without a teacher. And this will create a new type of student, one that is hungry to learn, and one that craves instruction.

This means that if you are a young person looking for a meaningful career, you shouldn’t try to become a public school teacher. You should be a librarian. And not a traditional librarian. You should aim to be the navigator, the person who points the student in the right direction to find the information that they need, in the sea of books and news that we are drowning in today. As a librarian, you are a compass. We no longer should have mandated schools, but open public places of learning for people who are hungry for knowledge.

As a bookseller, my job is to connect people to the books that they are looking for. People are overwhelmed by choice, and having a knowledgeable contact who points out the first few stepping stones in any subject is valuable. Let’s say that you wanted to study botany. Plants interest you, but you don’t know which books are the best or who to talk to. The library should be the hub to connect the student with the teacher.

I was sad when a co-worker approached me and told me that I would make a good high-school teacher. I told her that I have considered it, but I don’t believe America can make the necessary changes to adapt to the new informational landscape. K-12 is babysitting, and I think the entire system needs to be abolished or restructured if any real learning is going to happen.

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