Like seagulls waiting for coveted chips, the different roles of a teacher librarian wait eagerly to be met, demanding our time and our concentration. Everyone in the industry and beyond have their own ideas. Some have an accurate view and others are still in the mindset of the Library and Teacher Librarians as separate entities to learning. The past week I have been challenged, stretched, confused and uncertain as I read of standards, ideals, aspirations and the inspiration behind the role of a Teacher Librarian.
One of my take home ideas from The 30 Second Thought Leadership Podcasts was the importance of Teacher Librarians using their expertise at a leadership level within schools (American Association of School Librarians, 2012). This combined with the other readings for the week helped me as I pondered the order of priorities for Teacher Librarians and in particular Purcell’s article that listed the role of teacher librarian as teacher not as first priority. (2010)
The Question : Would I change the order of the role that Purcell puts forward?
Initially I would have said yes, teacher librarian as teacher should come first.
After reading the articles, my view of this is different. If a key priority of teacher librarian is to be at the forefront of teaching and learning, (Herring, 2007) then Teacher Librarians need to be active leaders at a curriculum and policy level. This enables them to use expert and current knowledge in education and information literacy to inform and influence the curriculum, supporting the position that libraries are integral to learning. Once embedded at a foundational level, information literacy models and technologies are then taught and supported across the whole school from teacher to classroom to individual student. The expert knowledge and an awareness of changes in information technology then influences the practices of the Teacher Librarian (Valenza, 2010) as they instruct both teachers and students.
We have to learn to crawl before we learn to walk. Crawling provides the foundation for learning how to walk. In prioritizing Teacher Librarians as foundational leaders at a whole school level, it provides the basis for effective learning at a classroom and individual level.
American Association of School Librarians. (2012). 30 Second Thought Leadership: Insights from Leaders in the School Library Community: American Association of School Libraries,.
Herring, J. (2007). Teacher Librarians and the school Library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.), Libraries in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. p. 27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies: Charles Sturt University.
Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians Do Is Check Out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30.
Valenza, J. (2010). Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians Retrieved from School Library Journal website: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/