The role of the Teacher Librarian (TL) is a far more complex and important role than I first realised. Building effective information services (ASLA 2013) which benefit the whole school community is essential and a significant responsibility with far-reaching implications. School Libraries Work, (2004) suggest that ‘Resource-rich’ school libraries allow students equitable access to information literacy and support the learning needs of the community regardless of demographics. Furthermore, as Debowski (2001) states, it is our professional duty to be held accountable for the resources collected and the financial management of these resources. This is quite a daunting statement but one I now feel somewhat better equipped to deal with.
Previously I had assumed that selections of resources to support the curriculum were chosen by matching outcome criteria and the unit requirements. However I am now very aware that professional selection tools, such as those recommended by Hughes-Hassell & Mancell (2005) are essential in ensuring a valuable and supportive collection is present. Involving learners in the selection process is a great way to encourage participation and endorses feelings of equity and importance. As Warren (module 2.1a) recommends, perhaps something as simple as allowing students to select books through a commission basis from book fairs may encourage students to appreciate the library further.
Incorporating digital technologies into the library is at its infancy in my library but its relevance in 21st century schools is substantial. Being a TL at this time of extraordinary change is both exciting and unnerving and as Lamb (2011) explains, TLs are in a new kind of environment, one that combines the best of both the digital and physical worlds. As the new Australian Curriculum is implemented, Mitchell (2011) suggests that TLs will need to be engaged in ongoing professional learning as we will be looked upon to facilitate other staff members as they seek to effectively implement this new curriculum into their classrooms. However this is not a short term vision, we are resourcing a curriculum that will undoubtedly be reviewed and changed again, so keeping up with syllabus modifications is crucial.
Taking a ‘helicopter’ view (Mitchell 2011) and undertaking a thorough, analytical look at the current collection and the procedures in place for that collection has enabled me to target the strengths and weaknesses in a clear and defined manner. Organising and maintaining a valid library collection, as Katz (2012) states, is not an easy task as the amount of works being published both on-line and physically can be overwhelming. Consequently, writing a policy while difficult and time-consuming has allowed me to categorise my learning in a more practical manner and will no doubt assist me in becoming discerning in my choices of resources to support student learning and information literacy.
It is safe to say that while the teaching side of the TL role has come relatively easy to me as this is where my experience lies, the librarian side has needed development and while I don’t presume that I have learnt all I need to know, I do feel more confident in embracing web 2.0 resources and sharing them with staff and students. My hope is that I can be a leader in my school community and become highly knowledgeable about what is required to support both my colleagues and students in the pursuit of a highly relevant and valuable education.
ALIA Schools and Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians, (2007). Budgeting policies and procedures. A manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian school library resources centres. Chapter 4, (pp.12-17).
Debowski, S. (2001). ‘Collection program funding management” In K. Dillon, J. Henri & J.McGregor (Eds.), Providing more with less: collection management for school libraries (2nd ed.) (pp. 299-326). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University
Hughes-Hassell, S., & Mancall, J. C. (2005). Collection Management for Youth: Responding to the needs of learners. Chapter 4, ALA Editions, Chicago
Katz, L. (2012). Collection Development Policies: New directions for changing collections.
(Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36.)
Mitchell (2011). Resourcing 21st century online Australian Curriculum: The role of school libraries, FYI Autumn 2011, pp. 10-15.
School Libraries Work: Research foundation paper (3rd ed.). (2008). Scholastic library publishing. Retrieved from: http://www.scholastic.com/content/collateral_resources/pdf/s/slw3_2008.pdf
Taylor & Francis. Retrieved from: http://www.csuau.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=801745
Warren, N. (2013, March 24). Online forum comment: Who guides selection (Module 2.1a)