Reflecting on your experiences as a teacher before you became interested in working in a school library, write a 500 word piece about your understandings of the role of the TL in schools.
Libraries have always been a wonderful place for me, and so this has coloured my perception of them as a teacher. I am an English and Philosophy teacher and the school library has provided a gateway for students to explore both the known and unknown in a guided and supported manner.
As a class room teacher, it has been of interest to me as to which students are to be found in the library, and the ways that they are engaging with each other and learning when they are afforded self-direction. The range of activities available has served to build a diverse community of learners, and this has always seemed to be a significant strength of libraries. The library in responding to diverse needs should be designed to provide spaces that facilitate ‘communal and individual learning’ as is required, they are in effect ‘flexible and varied learning spaces,’ (Future Learning and School Libraries, Australian School Library Association Inc. 2013, p.10).
Of particular importance to me as a class room teacher is having students be able to apply a critical thinking lens to their own knowledge and evaluate the quality of the information they are utilising. Additionally, students are expected to be both ‘ethical and creative’ with their use of information, these are skills that need to be explicitly taught in a world where they are deluged with information (Future Learning and School Libraries, Australian School Library Association Inc. 2013, p.10).
The role of the Teacher Librarian as disseminated by The Australian School Library Association can be too easily read as a list of tasks, and so I am reminded that we must always remember purpose, ‘the student is infinitely more important than the subject matter,’ (Noddings, 2013, p.176), when imagining our roles. The Library is student centred and all tasks performed are the means by which we deliver better access to information and consequently knowledge that enables informed choices in both a personal and educational sense.
Reading the Creative Commons website has resulted in my reevaluation of the knowledge sphere, and I have sought out more information on the ‘commodification of information,’ and the impact this has upon the types of roles we fulfil in a teacher librarian role (Beck, Cohen, Faulkenberg, 2017, p. 45). The focus of replacing more knowledge with ‘knowing more deeply,’ and the ways that that could be delivered, has resulted in me thinking more about the type of teacher librarian I want to be. I have started to read about Critical Information Literacy and am particularly interested in the ways that ‘social and political dimensions’ create and replicate systems that alienate and disenfranchise some students (Tewell,2018, p.11).
Finally, I am really not keen to refer to the Library as the School Information Service Facility, it seems like a term that belongs to a Monty Python skit. Would that make me a School Information Service Facility Officer/coordinator?
I am renaming my blog, ex libris in honour of the tradition of the not so humble Library.
Australian School Library Association Inc (2013) Future Learning and School Libraries. Retrieved from https://asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Resources/2013-ASLA-futures-paper.pdf
Australian School Library Association Inc (2019) What is a Teacher Librarian? Retrieved from https://asla.org.au/what-is-a-teacher-librarian
Beck, K., Cohen, A., & Falkenberg, T., (2007) Bridging the Divide: In Quest of Care Ethical Agency, Paideusis, Volume 16 No. 2, pp. 45-53.
Noddings, N., Caring: A Relational Approach to Ethics and Moral Education (2013) University of California Press
Tewell, E.C., The Practice and Promise of Critical Information Literacy: Academic Librarians’ Involvement in Critical Library Instruction (2018). Retrieved from https://crl.acrl.org/index.php/crl/article/view/16616/18062