In 2014 and 2015 respectively, ASLA (Australian School Library Association) (2015) released two documents outlining professional standards of the TL for the proficient and accomplished stages. These documents were in response to AITSL’s (Australian Institute for Teachers and School Leaders) set of professional standards which were published in 2011 and link to the Australian Teaching standards. It is suggested that these guidelines be used to assist TLs to meet the accreditation standards at each level.
As a classroom teacher, I am familiar with AITSL’s (2017) professional standards for teachers. Despite having worked as a teacher for almost fifteen years, these standards are very useful and provide me with a means to evaluate my professional practice as well as a guide for how I might improve my practice moving forward.
As someone who is at the beginning of my TL journey, the ASLA Evidence Guide (2015) is an invaluable tool to help me develop a greater understanding of the role of the TL. My knowledge is still very limited at this early stage and these standards clearly outline what types of skills and knowledge I should be demonstrating in my role as a TL. Furthermore, it provides examples of what this looks like from a practical sense. Once I am working as a TL, using these standards will help me to see what else I should be incorporating into my practice, what I am doing well and what I need to continue working on moving forward.
Maria L. O’Toole provides a useful example of how to collect and share this evidence through her weebly: School Library Portfolio. I really like the way that Maria has used a contemporary tool to share her learning and the clear and concise way in which she has organized the standards.
The ASLA Evidence Guide (2015) will be a very useful document for me beginning my TL career and help me to have a clear picture of my role and how to be conditionally improving my professional practice.
AITSL (2017). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from https://www.aitsl.edu.au/teach/standards#!
Australian School Library Association (2015). Evidence guide for teacher librarians in the proficient career stage. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-2798134-dt-content-rid-5542611_1/courses/S-ETL401_201930_W_D/ASLA%20evidence%20guide%20proficient%20career%20stage.pdf
O’Toole, M. L. (n.d). School Library Portfolio. Retrieved from http://otooleschoollibraryportfolio.weebly.com/
This week, the penny dropped. Life slowed down a little and I had the opportunity to spend time exploring some of the websites associated with the acronyms that regularly pop up in my class notes. As a classroom teacher, I am familiar with a few of these but there are also a lot of library associations that I know little about. Since I am a visual learner, I found it useful to list all of these down and visit them one after the other in order to gain an understanding about what each organisation does.
I’m learning that Australian teacher librarians love using acronyms but for us newbies to the profession, they can take time to commit to memory. For my own personal reference, and anyone else who is just starting out, here are a few associations with accompanying acronyms to get you started. Most of these links will take you to the role statements of the respective association.
ALIA – Australian Library and Information Association
ASLA – Australian School Library Association
AITSL – Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership
IASL – International Association of School Librarianship
IFLA – International Federation of Library Association
Hopefully these acronyms will be rolling off my tongue in no time but for now, this is a point of reference for me. I have no doubt I will be adding to this list in the near future.
I have always had a deep love of quality children’s literature and have been an avid reader since I was a child. I attended a rural school in country Victoria and one of my fondest memories was visiting the mobile library to borrow books each month. My love of books continued as I became a classroom teacher and I never missed an opportunity to incorporate literature into my lessons to support my teaching. I truly believe that whatever the subject, there is always a text to be found which will enhance my teaching and the student’s learning.
When I first decided that I wanted to make the transition from classroom teacher to teacher librarian, I imagined myself reading stories to the students, helping them learn how to select appropriate reading material and inspiring the students to become active and avid readers and information seekers. I dreamt about creating magical nooks within the library for students to settle into with their favourite books where they could travel to far away places or learn about something new that makes their world the incredible place that it is. In my role as a classroom teacher, I have had very little to do with the teacher librarian, in any school, so I was somewhat surprised to learn what a teacher librarian’s role entailed.
The role of the teacher librarian in the 21st century
In a rapidly changing world where there is an app for every imaginable task, where one can access reading material 24/7 and where anyone can publish their own thoughts and ideas for the world to see, the role of the teacher librarian is a complex one, and vastly different to what it used to be.
“Teacher librarians support and implement the vision of their school communities through advocating and building effective library and information services and programs that contribute to the development of lifelong learners”.
(Australian School Library Association, 2014, p. 1).
The Australian School Library Association (2014, p. 1) identifies three major roles of the teacher librarian which include:
- being a leader within the school
- being a highly skilled information specialist
- being an information service manager
A 21st century librarian is an information expert and use their expertise to ‘enhance digital and information literacy, resource the curriculum and help students become critical, creative and collaborative thinkers’ (ACT Government Education Directorate, 2012, p. 3). They are curriculum experts who work with teachers to help them effectively embed ICT skills into their lessons, whilst at the same time teaching the students to be discerning information gatherers and users.
My initial understanding of the role of the teacher librarian has already shifted fundamentally in the past few weeks. The role of the teacher librarian is not a simple one, but rather, a multi-faceted and highly significant one. The teacher librarian in an expert in curriculum, leadership, pedagogy, collection management and digital literacy, among other things. The mere fact that I had little idea what our school librarian does tells me that there is much work to be done, at least in my own workplace, around the promotion of the amazing work that teacher librarians do and the invaluable resource that they are to our school communities.
ACT Government Education Directorate. (2012). School Libraries: The heart of 21st century learning. Retrieved from: https://www.education.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/916301/School-Libraries-21st-Century.pdf
Australian School Library Association (2014) What is a teacher librarian? Retrieved from