At the very beginning of ETL401 I thought the role of the teacher librarian was to organise books in the library, take classes and provide a lesson based on a book or idea then send the students back to their classroom teacher with no follow-up or involvement until the next week when I took them again. I was basing this on observations of school librarians that were doing this job and have been doing this job for many years.
After my first couple of weeks in the subject and my first blog posting I knew that I was underestimating the role of the teacher librarian, although I still didn’t quite understand the extent of the job. As I read the forum postings I found that many people’s views were similar to mine. I read the topic notes and readings, as well as doing some research of my own and feel I have a better understanding of the real role of the teacher librarian.
The TL has an extremely important job within the school that many people do not fully understand. Teacher librarians manage the library and its resources, they acquisition new and relevant resources, they keep resources up to date, they encourage and provide interesting reading material for recreation and information, they provide technology for students and teachers to use and learn on, they are a model for teachers and students and they are teachers that impart knowledge and skills on their students, as seen in the image by Mia MacMeekin (2013).
The principal, classroom teachers and other members of the school community need to recognise these roles and capabilities of the teacher librarian and the training they have undertaken to do this important role. As Morris & Packard (2007) state they need to provide an environment that encourages collaboration, they need to provide financial support to the library so we as librarians can provide the best up to date resources and technologies to our students, classroom teachers need to know they can ask for our help if they have questions about the curriculum or how to find suitable resources for a particular topic and teachers need to know that we are there to help as teachers in our role as teacher librarian.
In my second blog posting I wrote about “the convergence of literacies in the 21st century”. I talked about the changing landscape of literacy education without understanding how it could be implemented. I had a very basic knowledge of the new technologies that teachers and teacher librarians were teaching and how overwhelming it is. It wasn’t until I was doing the readings for blog number three however that I think it really came together. Here was the information that I needed to put my new knowledge into practice! “Implementing a Guided Inquiry approach” scaffolded the information that I had in my head into something concrete that I could see on paper. It wasn’t just words on a page telling us what we had to do, it was the instructions on how we could make it happen!
During assignment 2 I could see myself and feel myself moving through each stage of the GI model, I understood what our lecturers and Kuhlthau (2004) were talking about first hand. I became overwhelmed and frustrated as I read the large amount of information. Once the topic became a little more familiar I was comfortable, the next stage saw a genuine interest in the topic and wanting to know more, when I finally finished and reread the final report I felt I had a much deeper knowledge of what the role of a teacher librarian could be and the help that I can provide to students through guided inquiry.
The process of guided inquiry encompasses the role of a teacher librarian. It allows us to introduce information literacy across the curriculum for all stages within the school in a consistent way, it provides work that matters to students through project based learning, it allows us to acknowledge different kinds of learners and help them find what they are interested in and good at, it allows us to foster independence, it helps us to instill a love of learning, researching and reading while turning these individuals into lifelong learners.
Kuhlthau, C. (2004). Model of the Information Search Process [image]. Retrieved from http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htm
MacMeekin (2013) 27 Things Your Teacher Librarian Does. Retrieved from http://anethicalisland.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/27-things-your-teacher-librarian-does/
Morris, B. & Packard, A. (2007). The principal’s support of classroom teacher-media specialist collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 36-55.