In my first blog I mentioned that previous to starting my study to become a qualified teacher, I had little knowledge about the multiple roles that a teacher librarian needs to perform to be successful. Obviously since starting the course my thoughts have not only expanded, but I have also been able to begin to plan and start applying my learning into my practice.
Being truly honest, to begin, my idea of the role of the teacher librarian was very vague and out dated and I thought most of what I should be doing would just come to me. My idea of the role consisted of the teacher librarian being: an advocate for reading and information literacy, an information specialist who would only be there when requested, a manager of the library and that’s probably about it! However, I was pleasantly surprised with the potential roles I could now begin to do without fear of over stepping my role after reading Herring’s(2007, p.30) description of the role of the teacher librarian in which he describes it as a multifaceted one, as well as Valenza’s (2010) elaborate description which again discusses the role as multifaceted.
The stereotypical idea that the teacher librarian is an introvert and will not collaborate or step into leadership roles is something I found frustrating. The justification provided by Kaplan (2007, p.300) that it is the teacher librarians role to in fact step up to become a known leader with in the school and to collaborate with all of the school community about student learning, has somewhat alleviated my frustration. Oberg (2006, p.14) discusses the idea of occupational invisibility, especially in the eyes of the principal. This has highlighted to me that it is vitally important for a teacher librarian to make themselves and their proactive ideas known to the principal in a way that works in with his/her busy schedule. Once principal collaboration occurs, collaboration between teachers needs to begin as this is the best way to implement the ideas of the teacher librarian. It has become clear to me that without the collaboration and support of the principal and teachers it is difficult for a teacher librarian to implement programs and ideas. Morris and Packard (2007, p.37) discuss this idea and also state that student achievement is influenced by collaboration between these groups.
A major role identified in much of the research that I have come across is that of the teacher librarian being an information literacy leader. This means that the teacher librarian needs to collaborate with teachers when planning to implement information literacy. It also means that the teacher librarian should be involved in the assessing of students information literacy skills. I have learnt a variety of ways to teach information literacy such as through using information literacy models such as the New South Wales Department of Education and Training (NSW DET) model or a guided inquiry model.
I have realised that if I am to teach students to be information literate I needed to update my knowledge of what information literacy means in the 21st century. I was able to do this via the many reading found in the information literacy module, as well as through completing forum tasks and blog tasks two and three. These readings and tasks lead me gain an understanding of how continual assessment can occur when teaching information literacy, through the use of a guided inquiry approach suggested by Kuhlthau, Caspari &Manitoes (2007). Diagnostic, formative and summative assessments suggested by Stripling (2007, p.26) also influenced my understanding of assessment through the use of a guided inquiry approach.
Overall, this subject has begun to shape my idea of the role of the teacher librarian and the part that he/she plays in a school setting. I understand that the role is multifaceted and requires a teacher librarian to be a leader within the school. They can become leaders through being involved with and stepping up into such roles as information literacy leaders, information specialists, leaders and collaborators of curriculum content and more. I’ve come to understand that teacher librarians may perform different task in different schools and it is the teacher librarian’s job, in collaboration with the principal and other school community groups, to find what roles their school requires them to carry out. It is vitally important that the teacher librarian makes themselves and their role known. This is because much of the school community may not understand the part that a teacher librarian plays with the school and will therefore be hesitant in collaborating and assisting in the implementation of programs provided by the teacher librarian.
Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information (p.27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.
Kaplan, A. G. (2007). Is your school librarian highly qualified? Phi Delta Kappan 89(4), 300-303. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=4bdfaa51-0e80-4c5c-8edc-2571751d8520%40sessionmgr15&vid=2&hid=19
Kuhlthau, C.C., Caspari, A. K. & Manitoes, L. K. (2007). Assessment in guided inquiry. Guided inquiry: learningin the 21st century (p.111-131). Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuhlthau-c.pdf
Morris, B. J., & Packard, A. (2007). The principal’s support of classroom teacher-media specialist collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide 13(1), 36-55. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=4d2ebba6-9541-4039-ba04-1eeaa6e38283%40sessionmgr13&vid=1&hid=22
Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian 33(1),13-18. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ps/i.do?action=interpret&id=GALE%7CA142480427&v=2.1&u=csu_au&it=r&p=EAIM&sw=w&authCount=1
Stripling, B. (2007). Assessing information fluency: gathering evidence of student learning. School Library and media activities monthly, 23(8), 25-29. Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/stripling-b.pdf
Valenza, J. (2010). A revised manifesto. Retrieved from School Library Journal website: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/