I have been a casual teacher now for two years in the local public school system and have had minimal contact with teacher librarians. Because of this my reflections come from positive experiences through volunteering for Scholastic Book Club in my son’s primary school library.
This particular school library had the most passionate librarian that I know. She taught and inspired her students to do their best by educating them about books, telling the story with great enthusiasm and then asking rhetorical questions to help the students understand the content on different levels. With her lessons she would teach and cater for different kinds of learners by offering a range of activities. She would also offer learning activities that would not have been conventionally accepted in the library years ago such as drama, chess and craft at lunch time. The teachers too would come to her during the day for advice on texts, resources and teaching.
I can see the role that she plays and the jobs that she does as integral within the school community. She makes the school successful in their role as an educating body while inspiring those she comes in contact with. I have been lucky to know, learn and be inspired by a librarian like her.
This poster came from Mia MacMeekin and it clearly communicates the many roles of the librarian. She sees the teacher librarians roles as:
- A competent teacher with great teaching skills,
- a thoughtful, caring and compassionate individual,
- A person that has an amazing technological knowledge and ability,
- someone who is a marvellous creator,
- someone who gives her time without question to help her students,
- Someone who takes the time to listen to students and teachers
- Someone who collaborates with many individuals and groups within the school community,
- a fundraiser,
- the social police force,
- an organiser and
- A lifelong learner that teaches others how to be lifelong learners
Effectively a teacher librarian is an individual that looks after the whole school community. She is someone wanting the best educational and social outcomes for her students now and into the future and in order to reach these outcomes provides fantastic teaching, resources and opportunities for learning. I can see these qualities in the librarian I described above.
The Standards of Professional Excellence
The Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians describes the professional knowledge, skills and commitment that are required by teacher librarians. “It represents the goals to which all Australian teacher librarians should aspire” (ASLA, 2012, pp 1). These standards make it clear that the knowledge required by a teacher librarian is extensive and includes the curriculum, individual developmental levels, technology, library management, resources and an understanding of the school community. They also expect excellent teacher librarians to provide an information rich learning environment, prepare equitable programs that support learning and then evaluate the quality of resources and student learning. Teacher librarians must show commitment to their profession and so must look at their role as one that carries community responsibilities. They are responsible for building and promoting the reading culture within the school while instilling the love to learn by making lessons interesting and providing relevant resources.
Australian School Library Association. (2012). Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians, Sydney: ALIA/ASLA Policy Advisory Group
ALSA – see Australian School Library Association
27 Things Your Teacher Librarian Does. (2013). Retrieved from http://anethicalisland.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/27-things-your-teacher-librarian-does/