ETL401 – Part B Critical Reflection

How my view of the teacher librarian has changed during the subject

During this semester I undertook 3 subjects. You may be asking why this is relevant to a summary of this subject alone. For me the learning done in this semester of study has crossed between subjects. Research for one has lead to ideas in another and vice versa and all have affected my view of the teacher librarian role. Although I think very little has changed of my overview of the role certain aspects have become clearer. Originally on my blog (Petterson, 2016) I defined a TL’s role as information service mangers, a creative force and a learner and leader. These are all still correct and accurate definitions of a TL but through research done for the assignments and my own readings of discussion forum posts and posting myself this knowledge has only increased.

I now see the role of a teacher librarian as much more complex. In my assignment I defined the role of a TL as an acronym (TRAILS) teacher, researcher, advocate, information specialist, librarian and supporter each heading having its own long list of roles and responsibilities. Academics and organisations (ASLA, 2004b;  ALIA,2004; ALIA & ASLA, 2014) produce enormous amounts of information and lists for us to follow, however, I still believe that the role of a TL should be defined by the needs of the school in which they work.

One thing I was not surprised by but rather reminded of is the role of a TL within inquiry learning. Somewhere along the way of my career inquiry learning became something I saw as nearly unachievable. Working in the UK and as a casual mostly I saw very little evidence of best practice and inquiry learning skills being taught in classrooms. This course has encouraged me to use inquiry learning more and to become an advocate for its implementation (ASLA, 2014a). The benefits of teaching students 21st century skills far out weigh the hard work required to begin this journey. (Braxton, 2016)

Another thought that has been struck home is the importance of working with the teachers in our school even if it is one by one. I was fortunate enough to before moving to Dubai work in a school with an amazing librarian. She actively sought out staff and educated them on her role in the school. Which could only be done through the support of our principal. She was given enough room to be independent while also working collaboratively with staff to give students the best tools and information she could. We need to be advocates for our jobs and remind teachers why we are a vital part of the school community.

Finally, although not explicitly taught in this subject I have realized how alone the role of teacher librarian can be. Studying online is a new and confusing concept for me and keeping up with the different means of communication has been challenging especially with the added challenge of 3 subjects I set myself. However, from reading others comments and looking at others blogs we do not have to be alone. Teacher librarians are everywhere on the internet when you know where to look and who to ask for help and advice which is incredibly encouraging for a young aspiring librarian.


ASLA. (2014a). Advocacy: reason, responsibility and rhetoric. Retrieved from

ASLA. (2004b). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from

Australian Library and Information Association [ALIA] & Australian School Library Association [ASLA]. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from

Australia Education Union [AEU], ALIA, ASLA. (2014). Joint statement on school libraries and teacher librarians. Retrieved from

Braxton, B. (2016). The presenter’s hat. Retrieved from

Petterson, S. (2016, July 27). ETL401- Assessment 1 [blog post]. Retrieved from

My initial thoughts on “What is a teacher librarians role?”

What teacher librarians do is a hard question to answer because they do so much. In the lead up to beginning my training as a teacher librarian I had to think about the role and whether it was something I would want to commit to. For most of my life I’ve been surrounded by teacher librarians as my mother took on the role while I was in primary school. I also know quite a few people now undertaking training in librarian roles. It seems all of a sudden everyone wants to be a teacher librarian.

So what do they do? What is there purpose in the school?

Well… for the record here is what I think now:

  1. to inspire
  2. to develop research skills
  3. to support teachers
  4. to develop resources within the school
  5. sometimes the technology guru
  6. literacy specialist

In coming weeks Im sure that my ideas will change and develop. These are just my initial thoughts thrown out into the cosmos and are still very vague. How do I go about doing all these things? How dod I develop these skills? How will they change over the years? I have a lot of questions and I look forward to investigating all these thoughts buzzing around in my head.