Over the course of my study, I have learned that the roles of the teacher librarian are many and varied and, with flexibility, determination and innovation, can become embedded in classroom programming and planning.
Selecting resources, collecting resources, organising resources and sharing resources are all vital components to the role of the Teacher Librarian. Resourcing the curriculum is a high priority for many teacher librarians, but first and foremost, we are teachers. Teaching students how to find information, how to use information, how to organise information and how to become efficient in doing so. The role of the teacher librarian is to make sure that the resources in the school library meet the learning needs of students in the school. It is also the teacher librarian’s role to share the resources with the students, letting them know they are available and also how to use them.
Teacher librarians are highly skilled information specialists, program administrators, instructional partners and communication specialists. Wherever possible, the teacher librarian should be working with classroom teachers to support and complement their classroom planning, programming and teaching. It is also the role of the teacher librarian to become familiar with the learning needs and the reading pleasures of students in the school community.
One of the most important roles of the teacher librarian is to advocate for the school library. Advocate for the experiences that can be had in the library, advocate for the resources and how they are used and advocate for the teacher librarian as an instructional partner. Over time I have learned that there are classroom teachers out there who think the librarian should stay in the library with the books, making sure they are ready for the kids to borrow. Over time I have also learned that thinking that way is passé. The 21st century librarian is getting amongst it in the classroom-learning curriculum, blending reading and learning to enhance the curriculum and make learning experiences more effective for students and more complete for classroom teachers.
Literature in education doesn't only mean selected books on topics you are studying in the classroom. It's about seamlessly embedding fiction and reading into classroom learning. It can easily be done to create an exciting and enjoyable learning program where students not only connect with what they are learning, but they are able to use the knowledge and skills across all areas of the curriculum. Embedding literature into the curriculum also provides an avenue for reluctant readers to be exposed to a variety of texts and genres specifically chosen for their learning needs.
The provision of literary resources isn't enough. It is important that students have the opportunity to respond to their reading to demonstrate the connection with their learning and, with their own life experiences. Learning through literature can be powerful, but students need to be shown how they can learn and how they can get the most out of learning activities.
· Herring, J. (2007). Teachers Librarians and the School Library. In
S. Ferguson, Libraries in the twenty-first century: Charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.
· Hughes-Hassell, S. and Mancall, J. (2005). Collection Management for
Youth: Responding to the Needs of Learners. ALA Editions.
· Kaplan, A. (2007). Is Your School Librarian 'Highly Qualified'? Phi Delta
Kappan , 89 (4), 300-303.
· Kulleseid, E. and Strickland, D. (1989). Characteristics of an effective
literature-based program. In Literature, Literacy and Learning (pp. 24-29). Chicago, USA: American Library Association.