Changes Coming To Elementary School Libraries

Created: 05/14/2014 6:44 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- It could be a sign-of-the-times in elementary education.

Starting next year, the Austin School District will have new positions with high-tech titles at the district's elementary buildings.

"We have been looking at and implementing an initiative to modernize and upgrade out technologies," Austin School District Superintendent David Krenz told us.

“Along with the support that's necessary to make that happen."

And that means a change at the libraries at Austin's elementary schools.

"Libraries used to be the center or hub of all information, now it is accessible through many digital tools," Krenz said. So the positions now held by media paras is being changed.

"They aren't librarians as you would think of librarians, they're a para position. But we're looking at something bigger in terms of digital media, and how we can support our teachers and work together, " Krenz said.

And with the school district placing more computers in its elementary classrooms:

"What we are doing is we are leveraging that position along with our old lab paras, because the need to send kids to a lab to access the technologies will no longer be there" Superintendent David Krenz said. “We've taken those two positions and combining them into one licensed position and we'll be getting a licensed teacher to work side by side with our teachers as well as supporting the computer lab and the media centers. Individuals who were in those as media paras, media specialists if you want to call them that won't be in that role. We've offered them other positions within the district."

We contacted Austin's elementary schools, seeking their comments on the change. Those that called us back declined on-camera interviews.

"How will look will be different, but nothing is really going away," Krenz said.

When Austin's new fifth and sixth-grade intermediate school opened this year, it opened with a "technician integration coach."

Next year, there will be a similar position at the seventh and eighth grade middle school.