February 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Future Ready Schools Announces Project To Recognize School Librarians as Leaders in Learning Transformation

Alliance_FRS2Future Ready Schools (FRS), led by the Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, has announced Future Ready Librarians, aimed at positioning librarians as leaders in the digital transformation of learning, according to a release. The project is an extension of the FRS initiative, which helps district leaders recognize the potential of digital tools and align necessary technologies with instructional goals to support teaching and learning.

“In today’s digital world, the school library has evolved from a place to merely check out books to one that offers opportunities for collaboration, project-based learning, and online access,” says the Alliance president Bob Wise. “Similarly, librarians are now playing central roles in school leadership and working daily with students, teachers, and administrators. Through Future Ready Librarians, school librarians will be better equipped to support teachers in their transition to a digital learning environment while themselves becoming more future ready.”

Follett, provider of educational materials and technology solutions to pre-K–12 schools, will support the development of tools and resources. “Follett is thrilled to support the Future Ready Librarians initiative, as it aligns perfectly with our history and our vision for the future of education,” says Nader Qaimari, president of Follett School Solutions. “Now we can be even more effective as we create new resources and services designed to position librarians as leaders in a digital transformation.”

A network of nationally recognized librarians, including Mark Ray, chief digital officer for Vancouver Public Schools in Washington, will provide input on the development of strategies, tools, and resources aligned with the FRS framework. A former high school librarian, Ray has been nationally recognized for transforming the role of the school librarian into a technological innovator in schools.

Ray recently gave a Tedx Talk about the changing the conversation about librarians:

“Future Ready librarians embrace change and innovation in education,” says Ray. “As teachers, they empower students as creators and digital citizens; as coaches, they collaborate with teachers as curators and guides. Future Ready schools require new kinds of leadership. The Future Ready Librarians initiative will help define what that leadership can be.”

Future Ready Librarians builds on the Alliance’s 2014 report, Leading In and Beyond the Library, which first outlined the Alliance’s belief that school librarians and libraries should play a key role in efforts to transition to digital learning.

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Christina Vercelletto About Christina Vercelletto

Christina Vercelletto is School Library Journal’s former news editor. An award-winning writer and editor, Vercelletto has held staff positions at Babytalk, Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child, and NYMetroParents.com.



  1. I take issue with Wise’s comment that the school library “…has evolved from a place to merely check out books…” I think it would be challenge to find a librarian in ANY era since the job has existed, who would describe his or her job as “merely check(ing) out books.” His comment underscores not only the need for the Future Ready Librarians program, but also the complete failure of our profession to articulate and promote the vast scope of what our job entails.