Teacher Librarianship – what a profession! With no experience and very limited knowledge, twelve months ago I began my role as TL. I had been studying a Graduate Certificate in Information Studies thinking this would help me. A role statement came with the position; however pressure from staff and a lack of knowledge and experience in the role had me achieving very little of what was on the statement. My studies were not particularly relevant to the position. This led me to search for something more suitable and so began my Masters of Teacher Librarianship. To say making this move provided me with a ‘light bulb moment’ is an understatement.
I knew that I needed to interact with the Principal but was unsure to what extent or how. Dr. Tim Snyder’s 2004 article discussed in the blog post titled ‘The TL and Principal Support: How does it work?’ emphasised the importance of the relationship between a TL and the Principal. The efforts the TL in the article went to are inspiring and have ensured this is one area of my role that I have taken steps to improving. Meetings regarding the Collection Development Plan, Budget, Stock take and evidence based practice have now been scheduled into the calendar for 2014 with administration staff. The realisation came that it was not enough just to have these documents planned if I was not sharing with administration. The goals being to have administration understand the scale and potential of the TL position and also for continuity in areas such as purchasing resources. The Principal has also been a weekly visitor to the library, reading to classes, discussing some of his favourite books and participating in information literacy lessons. Already the relationship between library staff and the Principal have improved with support and time provided to teachers to begin collaboratively planning and discussing Information literacy models such as the Information Search Process and the NSW Department of Education Information Skills model.
Whilst I had some knowledge of Inquiry learning due to past curriculums and the new Australian curriculum, my knowledge base was not great enough to implement this in the library. The readings provided in this subject have given me both the base of knowledge and enthusiasm to give my students an optimum learning experience every time they walk into the library. Ross Todd’s book ‘Curriculum Integration: Learning in a Changing World’ (2010) is a wonderful resource regarding Inquiry learning and the question he raises ‘What do we want to enable and achieve for all young people?’ (Todd,R., 2010, p. 2) has been instrumental in my quest for knowledge in this area. The Australian Schools Library Association (ASLA) states that ‘Effective teacher librarians are expert in collaboratively developing and implementing such an approach’ (retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/information-literacy.aspx ASLA 2012)
This is my goal: to be an effective teacher librarian. Joyce Valenza’s manifesto found at http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/ along with the ASLA website http://www.asla.org.au/ have become two, well frequented sites in my quest for this goal as has any resource written by Carol Kuhlthau. Researching and writing the blog post ‘Implementing a Guided Inquiry Approach’ introduced me to the three roles of the Librarian in regard to Guided Inquiry. Being a resource specialist, information literacy teacher and collaboration gatekeeper (Kulhthau et al., 2007, p. 57) are my intentional goals when implementing Guided Inquiry tasks. Recently, when endeavouring to collaborate with teachers, on two occasions I was left with a feeling of failure. Something wasn’t working. Upon reflecting I realised that each time, the staff members had sat down at a bank of computers and begun to work. This was not collaboration, yes, there was discussion and ideas but overall the outcome was ineffective. The third time, I suggested we leave the computers aside and armed with one laptop we sat and discussed, planned, contrived and collaborated! A definite step to my career as a collaborative Teacher Librarian and one I was thrilled to take as my blog post for Topic Two highlighted that this was a goal of mine. This post also spoke about the role statement within my school. Herring’s 2007 article has been pivotal to my understanding of the role I am undertaking and provides guidance when considering my goal statement for each term.
This subject has given me so much to learn from, its relevance to the role has been so welcomed. I look back at one of my first posts regarding using learning tools in topic one and the sentence ‘I took a deep breath, thought of what I teach the kids at school and focused on what I really needed to find’ makes me smile. The connection between my need to focus and that of the stage of Formulation in Kuhlthau’s ISP is proof in the pudding that I am learning and doing what I need to be in order to become the best I can in this role.
ASLA. (2012) Statement on Information Literacy. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/information-literacy.aspx
Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.)
Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information
(pp. 27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University
Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., Caspari, A. K. (2007). Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.
Snyder,T. (2004). Gaining the Hearts of Administrators. Teacher Librarian 31(4) 75-76
Todd,R.J. (2010). Curriculum Integration: Learning in a changing World. Camberwell: ACER Press
Valenza, J. (2010). A revised manifesto. Retrieved from School Library Journal website: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/