Reflecting on your experiences as a teacher, write a 500-word piece about your understandings of the role of the teacher librarian in schools.
What do I think the role of a teacher librarian is?
Miracle Worker and Jack of all trades
In my experience teacher librarians have so many roles that vary slightly in each school and each circumstance that it is often hard to identify exactly what the role of a teacher librarian is because it covers such a large array of jobs that combine so many different aspects of the educational system.
Firstly, teacher librarians (TL) are information service managers. Australian professional standards clearly define TL’s as information specialists placed in schools to educate students about information literacies. They also educate teachers on how to best utilise resources available to the school both online and physical present (ASLA, 2014). As a result TL’s need to have a wide and varied knowledge of their resources and most importantly know where to find out information if they themselves do not know it immediately (Purcell, 2010).
Secondly, they are a creative force. Teacher librarians need to be constantly challenging themselves to find creative ways to encourage lifelong learning and a love of reading in children. They need to creatively link resources together for teachers and students. They need to be creative about the environment they provide for students to study, relax and work in. (McMeekin, 2013)
Thirdly, they are a learner and leader. TL’s need to be always learning about new technologies and resources in todays complex multimodal environment. Libraries are no longer just books they encompass the online environment and often include resources beyond books that students can borrow e.g. musical instruments, laptops, video cameras. They are leaders and teachers because we need to be teaching and sharing this information with our colleagues and encouraging them to do the same for their classroom environment. This can take the form of mentoring, running classes or just chatting to other staff and building professional relationships. (Lamb, 2011 & Valenza, 2010)
Finally I believe that teacher librarians need to be community outreach advocates. By this I mean that teacher librarians often have a unique ability to run after school clubs, to meet and share with parents and to build community partnerships. These can be beneficial for the students to learn outside the classroom and to encourage parents and community members to get involved in there local area. (Brown, 2010)
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
Brown, J. (2010). Community outreach in school libraries. Retrieved from https://prezi.com/ilyhwqahpmzc/community-outreach-in-school-libraries/
Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialists palette. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 55, 27-36. DOI: 10.1007/s11528-011-0509-3
McMeekin, M. (2013). 27 Things your teacher librarian does. Retrieved from https://anethicalisland.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/27-things-your-teacher-librarian-does/
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, 30-33. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail/detail?sid=1494c574-6d79-4540-824d-947a33aec09e%40sessionmgr106&vid=0&hid=123&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=eric&AN=EJ907292
Valenza, J. (2010, December 3). A revised manifesto [blog post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/