A screen, a question, a reflection.
Why am I undertaking a Masters in Teacher Librarianship? A question I’ve heard a few times over the last few weeks. Truth be told I’m not really sure, I can’t put my finger on it. What I do know, is that when I follow my instincts they always lead me somewhere worthwhile. So here I am falling down a rabbit hole with no idea of where it will lead or what’s in store.
Me … a teacher, a mum, an arts advocate, a book lover, a food and wine lover, a lover, a sister – hopeful, sarcastic, impatient, impulsive, creative, organised and messy. Some of these describe me well … but I am sure other words could also, it depends on who you ask. Like all things. The answers are different depending on who you ask. I digress, or do I?
The role of the teacher librarian …
I went to school before the world wide web, computers and information technology were available. The library was the place you went to get info for your homework, assignment and projects. Where you whispered about boys behind shelves full of books and sneakily passed notes while a librarian helped you to find books, scour indexes and occasionally give disapproving looks while you giggled with your friends.
As a teacher I have seen libraries shift as the world becomes more and more focused on technology. I have seen the amount of information young people receive increase markedly through the internet, and the ever present smartphone. I’ve seen those beloved books gather dust and rarely get borrowed. I’ve seen students come to the library to escape the rain, to gossip and whisper about boys, to play games on the computers, to chat loudly and defy the librarians rules of no food and a quiet learning space. I’ve been grateful to the librarians for helping me find resources for my classes and frustrated that they don’t have time / energy / resources to help my students more. I’ve run my hands over the books, I’ve watched the library grow dvd resources, I’ve saved the books no longer wanted and added them to my shelves in my office. I’ve seen students who have more access to information struggle to find it and collate it.
And so, it’s clear the teacher librarian role has changed … but I think it’s cornerstone remains the same. The teacher librarian is still there to help students and teachers find resources, to help them shuffle through the information presented to find what it is they need. Yes, they now need to be more up to date with the complexities of information technology, and faced with an overload of information and sorting the fact from fiction, in doing so their role becomes more important than it has been in the past.
The skills of being able to find and filter information is one that most of our young people and time poor teachers struggle with. In an age of information overload our young people need the skills to filtrate and sort through the easily accessible wide world at their fingertips.
Teacher Librarians need to move with information technology and create inspiring learning spaces, that combine the best of the digital and the bound. They need to support and inspire. They need to create spaces for research, learning, and to whisper about boys. Spaces that capture our minds and hearts. They need to be the guardians and interpreters of knowledge …. or maybe that’s a Marvel film?
We can never replace the appeal of a good book, the feel, the smell.
The need for books of art, scripts, graphic novels, historical nostalgia will never fade.
But let’s be real, the digital world is exciting and addictive. There is movement and sound. The modern Teacher Librarian needs to embrace this and share it, creating vibrant spaces that have quiet corners and exciting middles.
Research wizards, literary warriors, smart leaders with a good ear for gossip and a smile for the bookworms.
Hmmmm, so what was the question?
Oh wait I have to get my kids to bed … perhaps we’ll revisit this again soon.