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ETL 503 Assignment 2 Reflection

Reflection

I have been the teacher librarian at Wyong Public School for the past 12 months. Completing this subject has given me a lot of ideas for how I can improve the structure of the library, particularly the development of my school’s collection. The readings gave me a lot to reflect on being new to the position.  A few key things that I took away from the literature that demonstrate my knowledge and understanding of the role and nature of school library collections included:

  • Ideas for cataloguing applications (apps), promoting apps using Pinterest and Pearltrees, as well as creating order request digital forms to manage teacher app requests (Cantwell, 2013).
  • I am having trouble showing my principal the value of Apple ibooks/ebooks being a part of the collection and how they can support the needs of learners accessing information. Borne’s (2013) research revealed that students are actually growing to prefer ereaders to traditional books.
  • After engaging with McKenzie (2009) I learned the value and importance of creating an annual report. I also learnt about what this involves, such as: analysing the borrowing data, breaking down expenditure, keeping track of goals, reinforcing collection growth through donations and book club and making this known to families. It also showed me how a teacher librarian such as myself can gain a higher profile by annually reporting on the libraries success and areas of improvement.
  • I found Conway’s (2016) literature on how to support students with vision impairment a valuable tool for my school. This term a new student is starting with a vision impairment so I will be able to use the Non Visual Desktop platform to support this student. I also noticed that you can customise voices which may also support some of my school’s students that speak English as their second language and who are from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Forum Post 1.2 – After researching the literature and reading forum posts from my peers, I can see the importance of creating a collection development policy at my school. Avery (2014, p.13), as cited by Haifa (2015) defines, “Library collection development is the decision-making process by which libraries seek to accumulate (collect) and disseminate (publish) useful resources over time”. Like many of my peers’ blog posts that I read on collection development, I too had great difficulty in locating a collection development policy in my school because it just does not exist. This is most likely due to the previous librarian not having enough time or expertise in the area of policy development. I have found the literature quite beneficial to get my head around in order for me to develop a collection management policy at my school. I particularly found the examples from Debowski (2001) and Braxton’s (2014) sample development policy helpful in knowing what to include and what it looks like.

This subject has most certainly extended my knowledge and understanding of the role and nature of school library collections.

Future Proofing: Forum Post 1.2 – I found Mitchell’s (2011) reading, Resourcing 21st century online Australian curriculum: the role of school libraries very interesting in understanding the direction of future collections. I already feel that I have changed the direction of our curriculum since taking on the teacher librarian role a year ago.

The fact is that although we have part of an agreed curriculum published in 2011, we are in reality resourcing a curriculum that will change, and it is our role to keep an ever-watchful eye on what’s on the horizon and where we might be heading in the future

(Mitchell, 2011, p. 4).

This quote rang true to me as I feel that I am always reading literature in order to better understand my position and also make sure that I am personally driving the collection in the right direction to evolve with changes.

 

Resources

Debowski, S. (2001). Collection management policies. In K. Dillon, J. Henri & J. McGregor (Eds.), Providing more with less : collection management for school libraries (2nd ed.) (pp. 126-136). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. (e-reserve). Retrieved from: https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/debowski-s.pdf

 

Braxton, B. (2014). Sample Collection Policy. Retrieved from: http://500hats.edublogs.org/policies/sample-collection-policy/  Braxton, B. (2014). Sample Collection Policy. Retrieved from: http://500hats.edublogs.org/policies/sample-collection-policy/

 

Cantwell, K. (2013). Living appily ever after in the library. Connections, 86, 6-7. Retrieved from: http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/issue_99/feature_article/improve_schools_perceptions_of_teacher_librarians.html

 

Conway, V. (2016). Resources. WebKeyIT. Retrieved from: http://www.webkeyit.com/resources/

 

McKenzie, D. (2009). Importance of creating an annual report. [blog]. Library Grits. Retrieved from http://librarygrits.blogspot.com.au/2009/06/importance-of-creating-annual-report.html

 

Mitchell, P. (2011). Resourcing 21st century online Australian curriculum: the role of school libraries. 10-15. Retrieved from http://www.slav.schools.net.au/fyi/autumn2011/mitchell.pdf

 

Haifa, Atatreh . (2015, December). Re: Forum 1.2 [Blog comment]. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&forum_id=_74942_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_23324_1&course_id=_14217_1&message_id=_983680_1#msg__983680_1Id

Critical Reflection

My view of the role of the teacher librarian has not necessarily changed, but has most certainly gained depth. In my previous blog entry about the role of the teacher librarian, I did not really explain or have a very good understanding of the expectations of such a position. Being new to this role, I have found the module readings and discussions for this subject to be interesting, valuable and practical to my position as a TL. In short, my role consists first and foremost of being a teacher. I noticed in the readings that Herring (2007), Lamb (2011) and Purcell (2010) also recognise teaching as one of the most important aspects of the role of the TL. I have learned that the role of the TL is largely based on the context and needs of the students. The other aspects of my role consist of being an information manager, information specialist, technology innovator and leader, collaborator, financial planner (controlling budgets, expenditure etc) and literacy advocator. Valenza (2011), also recognised a number of other key TL responsibilities that I feel are applicable to my personal role as a TL. Valenza (2011) outlined that TLs teach and model inquiry research, digital citizenship, evaluation of resources in terms of their relevance and credibility, literary and media appreciation. All of the elements listed are crucial to the success of the role of the TL. With the role of the TL being diverse from school to school and quite complex, this can sometimes be a challenge for less experienced TLs like myself. Prioritising tasks according to Bonannos (2011) is key to the optimum running of the role of the TL.

Encouraging and promoting a love of reading amongst students is definitely a passion of mine and something that I feel even stronger about now after reading through some of the modules. Reading expert Stephen Krashen (2004, as cited by Hughes, 2013, p.19) indicates that wide reading and “access to reading materials through libraries are critical for literacy development, especially among students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.” The context of the school that I teach at has a low socio-economic background and I feel that promoting reading is even more of an important part of my role as a TL.

Throughout the modules and assignments, another aspect of the role in which I gained a deeper understanding of, was information literacy and guided enquiry. I had the opportunity to research a number of IL models, such as the Big 6 and Super 3, the NSW Information Skill Process and Kuhlthau’s (2010) Information Search Process. Since ‘hypothetically’ investigating which model would best suit the context of the school that I work at, I have initiated discussions with some of my executive colleagues to see if they have a preference for a particular IL model and how we could go about using a staff meeting to discuss our roles as educators in the IL integration process. Like Simpson and Walsh (2012) and O’Connell (2012), I think collaboration between educators will only benefit students understanding of information literacy. This collaboration could lead to our school developing an IL policy, something which we do not have yet.

Ultimately the role of the TL is a multi-faceted one (Herring, 2007, p. 30) and with this, the role of the teacher librarian will continue to change with the changing information landscape. Breivik and Gee (1989: 22, as cited by Langford, 1998) have stated “that literacy is in an evolving state that mirrors the expanding information needs of society.” With this change comes the evolving role of my role as a TL. In my new role as a TL, I have often felt overwhelmed with challenges, mainly feeling time poor. I know that I am new to the role but after completing this subject I can see that TLs really do have quite complex roles. According to Sandra Hughes-Hassell and Dana Hanson-Baldauf (2008),  some other challenges which I am now more aware of which affect the changing role of the TL is that although “media specialists recognize the importance of technology competence… many face barriers due to lack of resources, time, technical support, infrastructure, and professional development” (as cited by Lamb, 2011, p. 33). Professional development is one area that I hope to target in order to improve my skills as a TL coping in the ever changing information landscape.

References

Bonanno, K. (2011). Speech at ASLA, 2011 conference: A profession at the tipping point: Time to change the game plan.

Herring, J. (2006). A critical investigation of students’ and teachers’ views of the use of information literacy skills in school assignments. School Library Media Research, 9.

 

Hughes, H. (2013). Findings about Gold Coast Principal’s views of school libraries and teacher librarians. Chapter 8, School libraries, teacher librarians and their contribution to student literacy development in Gold Coast schools. Research report.

 

Kuhlthau, C. K. (2010). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st-Century Learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18.

 

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: linking research& practice to improve learning, 55(4), 27-36. doi: 10.1007/s11528-011-0509-3

Langford, L (1998). Information literacy: a clarification. Retrieved from http://www.fno.org/sept98/clarify.html

 

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-), 30-33.

 

O’Connell, J. (2012). Change has arrived at an iSchool library near you. Information literacy beyond Library 2.0.

 

Simpson, A. & Walsh, M. (2012). The impact of technology on reading practices for 21C learners. Scan; v.31 n.1 p.34-39; February 2012. Retrieved from: http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=191036;res=AEIPT

 

Valenza, J. (2010). A revised manifesto.  Retrieved from: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto

 

 

 

Managing Work Load

In order to be a productive teacher librarian in my school community good management skills are vital. Time management is an area that I personally need to strengthen, along with negotiating time with office administrators to carry out tasks in the library. This is where I found Sanders’ (2004) reading on Conflict Resolution to be particularly interesting and relevant to my own professional development. Not that I have conflict with any of my colleagues but it is certainly good to know strategies in case I found myself in that type of situation while negotiating my library administration time. Being new to the position, I often get quite overwhelmed with the duties expected of the teacher librarian. Purcell (2010) encourages teacher librarians and media specialists to identify the tasks that they complete on a day to day basis, highlighting any clerical tasks and noting those tasks as barriers to student inquiry learning (p. 31). I found comfort in this statement and often write notes for my assistant including clerical tasks that can be done by someone else other than myself, this definitely minimises my workload. I even encourage my student monitors and parent helpers to assist in some of these tasks.

 

References

 

Bonanno, K. (2011). Speech at ASLA, 2011 conference: A profession at the tipping point: Time to change the game plan.

 

Sanders, R. (2004). Chapter 13: Conflict resolution. In Australian library supervision and management (2nd ed., pp.127-132). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies.

Challenges

In the context of the school that I teach at, collaborative practice where teachers are leaders in areas where they feel their strengths lie occurs regularly. This is something that I love about my school. If there was a circumstance where teachers felt working with other teachers was as a major challenge, I would probably explain the strengths of collaborative practice and highlight the expectations of their role within this process. I would also ask them if there was anything that I could do in order to support them through this process.  One of my favourite roles as TL at my school is working with my colleagues to plan lessons, give them creative ideas for integrating technology into their lessons and simply suggesting valuable resources that I think would be useful for their units of work.

Convergence

To my knowledge, the school that I work at does not have an information literacy policy. We consider ourselves to be a 21st century school so this is something that I will definitely be looking more into. I don’t feel that we (staff at my school) discuss the IL approaches that we follow so it is therefore not consistent across our school. Obviously, in the context of my school, as per curriculum, it is being integrated across key learning areas but not explicitly addressed in terms of navigating through useful information without becoming overwhelmed. This is something that I feel is part of my role as the teacher librarian. Like Simpson, Walsh (2012) and O’Connell (2012), I think collaboration between educators will only benefit students understanding of IL. Therefore, I see the importance of ensuring that I start a collaborative discussion with my fellow teaching colleagues to formulate an information policy for our school which explicitly meets the needs of our school’s students.

 

References

 

O’Connell, J. (2012). Change has arrived at an iSchool library near you.Information literacy beyond Library 2.0.

 

Simpson, A. & Walsh, M. (2012). The impact of technology on reading practices for 21C learners. Scan; v.31 n.1 p.34-39; February 2012. Retrieved from: http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=191036;res=AEIPT

Information Literacy

There is a plethora of literature supporting information literacy, what it means, its value and parametres within the education system (Herring, 2006, p. 2-3). Defining information literacy is not as easy as it sounds. I was quite overwhelmed after reading through the module readings. According to Herring (2006), although there are a number of different viewpoints on the definition of information literacy it is collectively agreed that information literacy is “important and integral to student learning” (p. 3). For this reason, it is paramount that we ensure we as educators have a solid understanding of what information literacy is. Herring (2006, p. 3) claims that “information literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and use information from a variety of sources, to recognize when information is needed, and to know how to learn.”

 

References

Bundy, A. (ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) and Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL).

Herring, J. (2006). Progress in developing information literacy in a secondary school using the PLUS model. Retrieved fromhttps://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/execute/displayLearningUnit?course_id=_14224_1&content_id=_949210_1

Langford. L. (1998). Information Literacy- A Clarification. School Libraries Worldwide. 4. (1), 59-72.

View on the role of the teacher librarian

The role of the teacher librarian (TL) will continue to change with the changing information landscape. With this change comes the changing role of the TL. In conversations about my new role as a TL, I have said many times that teaching is first and foremost and everything else comes second. I noticed in the readings that Herring (2007), Lamb (2011) and  Purcell  (2010) also recognise teaching as one of the most important aspects of the role of the TL. “The role of the teacher librarian is a multi-faceted one” (Herring, 2007, p. 30), in the context of what do librarians teach? Valenza (2011), outlines that they teach and model inquiry research, digital citizenship, evaluation of resources in terms of their relevance and credibility, literary and media appreciation. Similarly, Herring (2007) concurs that there are a number of roles expected of the TL, particularly, “curriculum leader, information specialist and information services manager” (ASLA 2003, p.61 as cited by Herring, 2007, p. 32). I became quite overwhelmed by the standards outlined by ASLA and AITSL after I read through identifying the role and expectations of the TL. But I guess prioritising is key to the ‘optimum running of  the role” (Bonannos, 2011).

 

References

 

Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2014). What is a teacher librarian? Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/advocacy/what-is-a-teacher-librarian.aspx

 

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. 27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: mixing a media specialist’s palette.Techtrends: linking research& practice to improve learning, 55(4), 27-36. doi: 10.1007/s11528-011-0509-3

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-), 30-33.

Valenza, J. (2010). A revised manifesto.  Retrieved fromhttp://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/

What is the role of the teacher librarian?

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What is the role of the teacher librarian?

Up until this year, I really did not know very much about the role of the teacher librarian. After teaching on class for the past 6 years, and my students visiting our school library I knew that they would be read to and borrow books and sometimes they would watch movies. I really, personally did not find the role of the librarian very exciting and from my students perspective I felt that visiting the library once a week was more of a chance for my class to have a break from regular class learning.

However, a year ago, I went to an EDUTECH conference where l listened to inspirational speakers such as Hamish Curry, George Curos, Jan Holmquist and Tony Lunnis who spoke about the role of the librarian and how we can keep libraries relevant in the present and the future. I left the conference feeling inspired and enthusiastic about putting my hand up for the upcoming role of the teacher librarian within my school and changing the role of our school’s teacher librarian in our newly renovated space.

After delving into the role of the teacher librarian, I feel that the Australian Library and Information Association, (2004) outlines perfectly how I see my new role. “Teacher librarians support and implement the vision of their school communities through advocating and building effective library and information services and programs that contribute to the development of lifelong learners” (ASLA, 2004). Since I started in this role, I have had a number of professional collegial discussions in regards to how I can best support the students, teachers and families who visit our school library. In particular, what programs and learning opportunities I should be consistently providing in our library.

According to the American Association of School Librarians (AASL, 2007, p.2), “Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs. Today’s students need to develop information skills that will enable them to use technology as an important tool for learning, both now and in the future.” This statement resonated with me because not only is it practically outlined in our school plan, but within my school community, my colleagues often look to me for support in the area of information technology (IT). They understand and see the importance of supporting students in this area in order to widen and support their future opportunities. They rely on me to provide their class with IT opportunities that they may not otherwise be able to provide.

Through the readings for ETL 401, my understandings of the role of the TL have certainly been broadened. After viewing the “What do teacher librarians teach?” (Valenza, 2011) poster which explicitly outlines what TL teach and the importance of “ensuring that learners are effective users and producers of ideas and information.” The poster really encapsulates the complexity of the role of the TL and the importance of this position within the context of each school. According to Lamb (2011, p 27) “… the basic skills required of a media specialist have evolved over the past several decades. … today’s media specialist is facing a growing number of new challenges and increasing pressures to shift from traditional materials and services to a much broader range of resources and responsibilities.”

In conclusion, the role of the teacher librarian will continue to advance in order to keep up with societal change. Lamb (2011. p32) recommends that “Rather than waiting for the next technology wave, professionals must actively anticipate change and seek out opportunities to learn” in order to support the learning opportunities of students.

Reference List

American Association of School Librarians (AASL), Standards for the 21st Century Learner . (2007). Available from: http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards/learningASLA and Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians (2004).

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36.) Available  from: http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=738285e8-7ebd-4fb5-9caf-d752487f67bc%40sessionmgr105&vid=1&hid=115

Valenza, J. (2011). What do Librarians Teach? Available  from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/78154370@N00/5761280491/sizes/l/in/photostream/