Museums, Libraries and 21st Century Skills

This document, from the United States’ Institute of Museum and Library Services (“the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas”) provides important information about helping library users develop 21st century skills.

Although primarily developed for public libraries, there is much that can be transferred to school libraries. The website explains:

The Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills initiative underscores the critical role our nation’s museums and libraries play in helping citizens build such 21st century skills as information, communications and technology literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, civic literacy, and global awareness.

And the following items seem to be exactly what many schools need to address:

Specifically, this work aims to help library and
museum leaders:
• Envision the library/museum’s role in providing
lifelong learning experiences, specifically around
21st century skills;
• Inventory the 21st century skills and practices
currently in use by the library/museum;
• Identify goals for future operation and program
improvements;
• Build awareness among policymakers and the
public about the unique value these institutions
provide to the nation’s learning systems.
  • Envision the library/museum’s role in providing lifelong learning experiences, specifically around 21st century skills;
  • Inventory the 21st century skills and practices currently in use by the library/museum;
  • Identify goals for future operation and program improvements;
  • Build awareness among policymakers and the public about the unique value these institutions provide to the nation’s learning systems.
  • A notable point from the document applies to all schools:

    The need to enhance 21st century skills is a compelling national imperative. Built on a foundation of deep content mastery, these skills are the new workforce requirements for maintaining U.S. global competitiveness and ensuring each person’s personal and professional success.

    If you are addressing, or wanting your school to address the development of 21st century skills, this document is a good starting point.

    7 thoughts on “Museums, Libraries and 21st Century Skills

    1. This is just what I needed today, the document has info that I was looking for to make an argument for new pilot program I am trying to start next year. Perfect timing thank you!

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    3. I think this mission – to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas – is a good start for school libraries. The school community still thinks of school libraries as a physical space containing books, etc. We need to break away from the physical into the space of information and ideas which belong to the whole school. Thanks for this article – always a source of great knowledge and latest news!

      • Thanks Tania. There is so much to rethink now for schools and school libraries and this document is a very good start.

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