The Blue Skunk blog is one of my favorites.

Doug Johnson does such a good job of making readers feel comfortable. His tone, word choice and laid-back attitude when sharing new ideas just feels right. I mean, who doesn’t love a writer who feels confident enough to say

I . . . wouldn’t recognize a popular children’s book author if s/he came up and bit me in the butt.

A recent post by Doug discussing one of his presentations caught my eye. He was asked to talk with librarians at a children’s lit / young adult book conference and spent some time during that presentation sharing ways of using technology tools to “enhance the reading experience.”

It was the paragraph at the end of the post that really caught my attention.

So more or less during the workshop, I had a little epiphany – one I am sure most of you, dear readers, had years and years ago:

You can’t just be a “book” librarian anymore and be considered professionally competent even if your area of interest and expertise is literature.

If you work with books and kids, you can’t do your job without understanding how to use technology in your field. Tech’s no longer a “nice extra” – it’s a vital set of tools, skills and understandings you need to master if you want to provide the services kids deserve. I would categorize librarians who fail to recognize how technology can support what they do and actually use it as unprofessional and incompetent as a doctor who can’t use a CAT scan or an accountant who can’t use a spreadsheet or an engineer who doesn’t use CAD/CAM.

There you have it. There are no more “book only” librarians.

It’s a message I’ve been working to get across to social studies teachers for some time. It continues to astound when I hear a teacher remark that they just don’t have time for technology or when they tell their students to stack their laptops in the corner of the room because “you won’t need those in this class.”

But for every teacher who stacks laptops in the corner, there is another like the one who commented last week concerning cell phone use in the classroom:

Cell phones aren’t going away. So . . .what are some ways kids can use them to learn?

To paraphrase Doug, if you teach history or geography or economics or government and want to provide the services kids deserve, you can’t do your job without understanding how to use technology in your field.

In 2010, there shouldn’t be any “textbook only” social studies teachers.

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