Future Ready Librarians® Playbook
A guide to support Future Ready Librarianship
Future Ready Librarians® (FRL) was created in 2016. Over the past five years, FRL has helped change the conversation about school libraries and the role of librarians in leading, teaching, and supporting innovation in their institutions. Whether you are new to the network or just want a quick review, this resource is designed to help you understand FRL and how to transform your library practice, program, and profession.
How do I become a Future Ready Librarian®?
You’ve come to the right place! This site provides a quick overview to help you get up to speed, and the steps below will get you started in your professional learning and networking.
- Browse this resource. This page provides everything you need to know to start your journey as a Future Ready Librarian.
- Take the Future Ready Librarians® Self-Reflection. This tool is designed to help you quickly assess your current strengths and areas of growth in relation to the Future Ready Librarians® Framework.
- Explore the FRL Framework. Use your results from the Future Ready Librarians® Self-Reflection tool to identify your strengths and areas for future learning.
- Connect with others. Follow the Future Ready Librarians® Facebook group and #futurereadylibs on Twitter. That’s where you will hear about future events, podcasts, and more in the coming months.
Future Ready Schools® (FRS) is a core program of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., focused on educational policy, equity, and innovation. FRS was launched at the White House in 2015 with more than 100 school superintendents and educational leaders who were challenged to create a learning network of school systems to identify and promote innovative practices to improve student instruction.
The backbone of FRS’s mission is the Future Ready Framework, consisting of seven core gears, surrounding the learner at the center. Encircling the gears is “Collaborative Leadership,” a recognition that Future Ready Schools® require other educators to partner with school and district leaders to promote innovation.
From the beginning, FRS has sought to bring school leaders together to learn, share, and build capacity to transform their programs.
As a Future Ready Librarian® …
Since 2015, thousands of states and school and district leaders have embraced Future Ready Schools® as a model and framework for innovation.
As school librarians seek to be more involved in teaching, collaborating and leading, FRS offers a unique opportunity for them to find common ground with school and district leaders—and, more importantly, for librarians to be seen as leaders themselves.
The Future Ready Framework includes seven gear plus leadership, surrounding the learner in the center. Each of the gears is a foundational component of Future Ready Schools®. The framework creates the foundation for equity-focused, learner-centered experiences in which each student graduates from high school with the agency, passion, and skills needed to be a productive, successful, and responsible community member.
- Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
- Personalized Professional Learning
- Budget and Resources
- Family-School-Community Partnerships
- Data and Privacy
- Robust Infrastructure
- Use of Space and Time
- Collaborative Leadership
Even as the coronavirus pandemic has forced schools to close and pivot to remote and hybrid learning, the Future Ready Planning Guide to Remote Learning uses the FRS gears to create a clear model for exploring challenges and identifying solutions for both students and staff.
The power of FRS is the opportunity for all educational leaders to have a shared and common focus—using the same language, having the same priorities, and working collaboratively to improve student learning.
As a Future Ready Librarian® …
It is important to remember that the gears represent a systems view of schools and districts—categories that might, at first glance, seem beyond librarians’ responsibility. Nevertheless, these areas affect almost everything in a Future Ready School®, including the library. Understanding the perspective of a district or school leader ensures that school librarians
- understand what district leaders and principals dream about;
- perceive systemic priorities and challenges beyond the library or school level; and
- recognize the complexity and interrelationships of school and district operations.
The Future Ready Librarians® Framework is an adaptation of the Future Ready Schools® Framework, developed by librarians and educational leaders in 2016. Library leaders worked with representatives from American Association of School Librarians (AASL), Future Ready Schools®, the White House, the U.S. Department of Education, and Follett’s Project Connect initiative to examine the gears of the Future Ready Framework and identify examples of ways in which librarians can lead, teach, and support as Future Ready Librarians®. This team focused on two essential questions:
- How can librarians and libraries support Future Ready Schools®?
- How can librarians and libraries become more future ready?
The outcomes and subsequent work resulted in the translation of the original research-based gears into the now-familiar wedges and framework design. It also identified examples of specific roles and functions that could define future ready librarianship.
At ISTE 2016, the first Future Ready Librarians® framework was released, with the gears reimagined as wedges, and included examples of ways in which librarians could provide leadership for each area.
Each part of the framework includes examples of what librarians can do to lead, teach, and support Future Ready Schools®. While there are many more ways in which librarians can translate their skills and experience to support Future Ready Schools®, these eleven areas have been embraced as exemplars of Future Ready Librarians®:
- Literacy—Inspires and Supports the Reading Lives of Students and Teachers
- Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment—Curates Digital Resources
- Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment—Builds Instructional Partnerships
- Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment—Empowers Students as Creators
- Personalized Professional Learning—Facilitates Personalized Professional Learning
- Robust Infrastructure—Ensures Equitable Digital Access
- Budget and Resources—Invests Strategically in Digital Resources
- Community Partnerships—Cultivates Community Partnerships
- Data and Privacy—Advocates for Student Privacy
- Use of Space and Time—Designs Collaborative Spaces
- Collaborative Leadership—Leads Beyond the Library
As a Future Ready Librarian® …
Like the Future Ready Framework, the Future Ready Librarians® Framework is a simple systems-focused and learner-centered road map for innovation. It includes powerful examples of ways for librarians to lead, teach, and support, which not only strengthen their own programs and practice but also support strategic school and system goals. Recognizing that the library is integrated with school and district programs, the FRL Framework was designed to complement other more comprehensive standards, including AASL, ISTE, and state educator and learner guidelines.
The success of FRL led to the creation of other frameworks and the formation of Future Ready strands for district leaders, instructional coaches, principals, technology leaders, and school board members. Most recently, in 2018, the FRL Framework was updated to more strongly emphasize literacy as a central feature of the guide.
With the creation of additional strands and Future Ready Frameworks for other school and district leaders, librarians can literally work from the same page with coaches, principals, and IT leaders, exploring and defining how librarians can partner and collaborate for shared goals and outcomes.
For many librarians, the eleven areas of the framework have come to define what it means to be a Future Ready Librarian®—specific ways in which librarians can lead, teach, and support students and colleagues as professionals. Not only has the framework been embraced by librarians across the U.S., but it has also influenced or been included in trainings, presentations, courses, standards, and strategic plans.
Future Ready Librarians® is more than the sum of these eleven areas. Each wedge is a starting point for exploring and embracing unique ways in which librarians can lead in and beyond their libraries, defined by the unique needs of their school and community. This is why librarians have more recently used the framework and the FRL community to focus on the challenges of equity, social and emotional learning, information and media literacy, and student agency and creativity.
The Future Ready Librarians® Network offers a range of opportunities to learn, share, and connect. In addition to specific programming for librarians, other Future Ready Schools® events offer the opportunity for superintendents, district leaders, IT directors, principals, instructional coaches, and librarians to participate on their own or as part of district or school teams.
Regional events across the country have brought together diverse teams of educators and leaders to participate in one- or two-day in-person workshops. In addition to programming for each Future Ready strand (district leaders, principals, librarians, and so on), activities are designed for all participants to learn, work, and design together.
These online events have been designed for a variety of Future Ready audiences, from introductory overviews of Future Ready Schools® to workshops for specific strands and topics. Like the institutes, most of these events are live and interactive and are not recorded. They are designed to promote discussion, engagement, and sharing.
Webinars focus on a specific topic, often with expert guests sharing ideas and solutions. Available both live by registration and as a recording, the events are available on a variety of topics for librarians and other educational leaders.
The podcast series Leading for the Library, hosted by Shannon McClintock Miller, features audio interviews with librarians and leaders discussing current topics of professional interest for librarians.
These bite-size professional learning activities are great introductions to Future Ready Librarian® resources and ideas.
Created in partnership with Follett, these profiles highlight programs and library leaders which exemplify Future Ready Librarian® ideas in practice, either within a school or across a district, often highlighting team efforts versus individual successes.
In addition to in-person and virtual events, dynamic online communities embrace Future Ready Librarians® through social media and other platforms.
On social media, the Future Ready Librarians® Facebook group provides professional learning and support to more than 25,000 members every day. On Twitter, the #futurereadylibs and #futureready hashtags are used to connect like-minded librarians and celebrate and share innovative practices that support the FRL Framework.
Online platforms like Padlet and Follett Collections offer rich collections of resources, ideas, and solutions to help Future Ready Librarians® translate theory into practice.
As a dynamic online community, Future Ready Librarians® is about sharing ideas, suggestions, and solutions as each librarian defines their own Future Ready librarianship and leadership.