When Bonanno said that teacher librarianship was an “invisible profession” I nodded my head, and then glanced around furtively to make sure no TLs saw me do that (ASLA, 2011). In my experience with TLs (or as we will see; distinct lack thereof) I have yet to come across one who manages to tell us all that this course urges us to be. It is most likely my lack of experience in the teaching world that leads me to (sadly!) agree with a statement like Bonanno’s, but in schools where I have learnt and taught the TLs were so very rarely out from behind the desk.
And don’t get me wrong; I loved them behind the desk! Their use in helping me find new things to read and controlling the climate of the library were two of my favourite things about school! But my limited view helps me to understand when I see titles like ‘The calamity of the disappearing school libraries’ (Kachel, 2015) and hear of new schools being built without libraries altogether.
However, it is in Bonanno’s push (2015; ASLA, 2011) to not let libraries and TLs slip into this fate that help reinvigorate my passion for the career I’m now trying to break in to. Bonanno offers five practical tips of strength of character, focus, brand, relationships, and little things (ASLA, 2011) as well as specialist skills and areas for advocacy (traditional literacy skills, information literacy, and ICT) that TLs can seize as an area of strength that they bring to the national curriculum and classroom programs (2015).
So in the question ‘are school librarians an endangered species’ I say yes, and no. I believe that the school librarians of my past (the gatekeepers, the passive players) are an endangered species. I believe that librarians such as the amazing cohorts I find myself in while studying, are the way of the future, and how we come back from the brink of extinction.
Australian School Library Association (ASLA) (2011) A profession at the tipping point: Time to change the game plan. Keynote presentation, Karen Bonanno . Retrieved from https :// vimeo .com/31003940
Bonnano, K. (2015). A profession at the tipping point (revisited). Access, 29(1), 14-21.
Kachel, D. (2015). The calamity of the disappearing school libraries. The Conversation. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/the-calamity-of-the-disappearing-school-libraries-44498