Based on your reading to date:
- what sort of role do you see yourself fulfilling in the school as a TL (Herring Lamb, Purcell and Valenza)?
- within your experience, how do principals perceive the role of the TL?
- What can you do? ie. suggest 2 strategies to change perceptions?
I found the readings very interesting this week. Two of the readings continually referred to the Teacher Librarian (TL) as a Media Specialist (MS), demonstrating that the changing nature of the role.
Of the four readings I think that realistically at this point I would be following Lamb’s guidelines. Annette Lamb summed up the role of the TL (or as she called it the MS) into the acronym PALETTE; being People, Administration, Learning, Electronic information, Technology, Teaching and Environment. These were then broken down and explained. I felt this was done in an easy to understand guide.
What Valenza talked about in her ‘manifesto’ I’m sure is the pinnacle of Teacher Librarianship. Some of the tasks she describes I do not know how to do at this point and would need professional development to complete such as inserting widgets into websites and using RSS feeds. Perhaps this is what I can aspire to.
Herring examines the role of the Teacher Librarian in Australia, USA, Canada and the UK. He describes the role and the additions each of these countries make. If I were following a guideline, this might not be it. It was a good insight into information literacy models which we need later in this course.
Purcell simplified the role of the TL like Lamb did, I felt I liked Lamb’s approach more as one of the first elements Lamb described was the importance of people skills, which I find essential in a school library, dealing with students, teachers, school leaders and the community.
Within my experience (having worked in two schools) the school librarian has been perceived in two main ways. In the first school I was working in the teacher librarian played an IT role in the school and the school was seen as an e-centre. Electronic equipment was lent out, tv programs were recorded, student problems with logging on were dealt with, as well as the role of lending books and administration.
In the second school where I worked the teacher librarian was an invisible role. The library assistants were the seen element. Administration was the big role in this school. The main focus was on printed media.
The support of the principal could make all the difference, but I believe that the wishes of the principal and the capabilities of the person in the role would have to be taken into consideration.
Two strategies I can think of to change perspectives would be:
- Attend various faculty meetings and promote the role of the library working collaboratively with teachers. In the school I am currently working in there are two types of staff meetings; Whole school and faculty meetings. Whole school meetings are where all 100 staff come together for briefings. This could be a good time to present that I could go to faculty meetings. Faculty meetings are about 7-12 teachers each and would give a chance for the teachers to ask questions and give feedback. I could promote working collaboratively with teachers, explain the role of the library, and talk about projects I am working on and take suggestions.
- Get a Student Helper program under way. Purcell in her article discusses that administration takes a lot of the TLs time that could be better spent working collaboratively with teachers. There are always students who like to stay in the library and want chores. This would be a win-win program as it would allow the TL time to work on professional development and presentations with teachers and it gives empowerment to particular students.
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
Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36.
Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books right? A look at the roles of the school library media specialist. Library Media Connection 29(3), 30-33
Valenza, J. (2010) Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians, http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/