Professional placement offers information specialists opportunities to delve into information agencies, dialogue with professionals, and engage in opportunities to apply theory to practice. Therefore emerging teacher librarians are often challenged to seek professional placement in information agencies outside school libraries to broaden their understanding of varied roles and services.
As a practicing teacher librarian in a large Catholic high school, I have chosen to complete my placement at a nearby campus of the Australian Catholic University. There were several reasons for this choice. The main reason is that it is a library in an educational institution and therefore as an information agency seeks to assist staff and students in developing their knowledge and skills. As such it mirrors similar roles and responsibilities to what I undertake daily as a teacher librarian. Another pertinent point is that there is a strong continuum of academic integrity, information literacy and pursuit of knowledge between the two educational institutions because many students from my school pursue a tertiary education at the ACU campus. Therefore it would be interesting to see the success of our school’s implementation of information literacy within the tertiary setting, as this would encourage a professional analysis of my own efficacy as a teacher librarian. On the other hand, understanding the information literacy and academic integrity needs of tertiary students would incentivise a ‘backwards by design’ approach to develop and implement appropriate information literacy strategies at a high school level. This process would increase my efficacy as a high school teacher librarian as it would allow for the creation of a more appropriate information literacy continuum between both educational institutions.
The final reason for selecting ACU Library for my placement is that its mission statement and values are similar to the school I am currently employed at, and as such, endeavours to value everyone as one who is loved by Christ. The ACU mission of acting in truth and love in the pursuit of knowledge, the dignity of the human person and the common good, complements my school’s ethos. Therefore a placement at ACU Library would benefit and improve my ability to support my own practice as a teacher librarian in a Catholic school as well as allow me to plan and implement a more robust information literacy program.
My Professional goals:
ASLA & ALIA (2004) Teacher librarian standards are a framework that indicate the necessary attributes of an effective teacher librarian, as well as providing emerging TLs with professional goals. Therefore the standards indicate the parameters of a teacher librarian practice within a school context. This includes the development of a positive learning environment, provision of resources that support the curriculum, as well as collaboratively planning and creating programs that embed information literacy across all areas of learning (ASLA & ALIA, 2004).
The standards have provided a scaffold for my professional goals as they delineate the caliber of an effective teacher librarian. In my current role as a high school teacher librarian, I am mainly focused upon embedding information literacy in pedagogical practices, integrating digital technologies into classroom teaching, and resourcing the curriculum. Therefore I have a strong interest in observing and understanding how information specialists at a university library develop and support the information literacy needs of their community. I would also like to develop an understanding of how the physical and digital collections support the needs of staff and students, as well as how academic integrity programs are promoted through all levels of learning.
ASLA & ALIA. (2004). Australian professional standards for teacher librarians. ALIA. https://asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Policies/TLstandards.pdf