Tag Archives: librarians
This has been reposted from my school library blog.
On the topic of the teacher librarians’ role and exactly what it is we TLs do in our jobs, I wanted to share this article in The Guardian: Beyond books: what it takes to be a 21st century librarian. We all know that there’s more to being a librarian than stamping books, as the subtitle of the article states. How bothered are we by the fact that a large proportion of our school communities have little idea what we do?
If we stopped the next person walking by on the street and asked them what our jobs as librarians involve, we’d be willing to bet that their first answer would be stamping books. This is because many people’s experience of librarians is of the frontline, customer service staff.
I think the same can be said of school libraries although it varies greatly depending on the interaction between teacher librarians and teaching staff. What the article says about librarians is surely relevant to teacher librarians, librarians and technicians –
If anyone ever thought they’d become a librarian because they liked books or reading, they would be sorely disappointed if they did not also like people too.
Of course, in the digital age, in fact, in the global digital culture in particular, teacher librarians play a vital role in schools. What exactly is the role of a 21st teacher librarian?
It’s not something which can be answered in a simple sentence. For this reason, I want to share links to curated websites on this topic. I am including a list of Scoop.its which have been curated by various people (including me) on the topic of the 21st century teacher librarian. I hope you find this list useful; it includes all things relevant to the 21st century librarian in the broadest sense.
My Scoop.it – What is a teacher librarian?
Curation and libraries and learning – Joyce Valenza
e-Books – Carmel Galvin
Create the web and learn to live – @pipcleaves
21st century libraries – Dr Steve Matthews
Educational technology and libraries – Kim Tairi
Embedded Librarianship – Buffy Hamilton
Graphic Novels in the classroom – @dilaycock
Information coping skills – Beth Kanter
Information science and library studies – Joao Brogueira
Information fluency, transliteracy, research tools – Joyce Valenza
Inquiry and digital literacy – Shawn Hinger
Internet Search – Phil Bradley
Learning – Darren Kuropatwa
Libraries and ethnography – Buffy Hamilton
Libraries and Tumblr – Buffy Hamilton
Libraries as sites of enchantment, participatory culture and learning (what a title!) – Buffy again
Livebinders – Peggy George
Multiliteracies – Vance Stevens
New librarianship – Karen Burns
Personal learning networks for librarians – Donna Watt
QR codes – libraries – NairarbilUCA
Readers’ advisory for secondary schools – Marita Thomson
School libraries – Nickki Robinson
Social media content curation– Guiseppe Mauriello
Social networking for information professionals – Judy O’Connell
The library technician – Dawn Jimenez
Weird and wonderful – for librarians and booklovers – Jean Anning
This selection is only a small fraction of what’s being curated by people passionate about their topic on Scoop.it. It’s overwhelming but also a fantastic way of keeping track of evolving scoops on searchable topics. The fact that the list relevant to teacher librarians is so broad indicates the breadth of the teacher librarians’ focus and involvement. Of course, we can’t do everything but it’s a good idea to see potential involvement, and having seen the bigger picture, delegate to team members (assuming you have a team) the most pressing areas according to their interest.
By the way, Scoop.its are very easy to make and make reading enjoyable in their magazine-scoop-style presentation. It’s easy to follow, to search, to share and to recommend Scoop.its and articles. It’s also a brilliant way to build your Personal Learning Network by investigating the curators, checking out their bio, looking at what else they’ve curated or what they themselves follow.
You’ve got to start somewhere! Happy scooping!
Trends, transformations, and change in libraries – David Lee King and Hamish Curry at the City Library
Thanks to my colleague Denise at my new school third term ended nicely with an excuse to revisit the City Library and come together with a largish group of people for an injection of ideas mixed with wine and a very impressive spread. This is what we attended –
David Lee King – Digital Branch & Services Manager at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
Freak Out, Geek Out, or Seek Out: Trends, Transformations, and Change in Libraries
Hamish Curry – Education and Onsite Learning Manager at the State Library of Victoria
Putting IT back in Reality
When: 2.00pm to 5.00pm on 23 September 2011.
Where: The Majorca Room, City Library, 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne Victoria 3000
Between them David Lee King and Hamish Curry gave us enough food for thought to last for a long time but for some reason two things pushed their way into my mind and disabled all the rest – risk and fun. This is something which has been on my mind for a while. Thinking about the library as a space, a service, a hub, a resource, and everything else that it encompasses, I agree with Hamish that people coming into libraries should be surprised. And once they get over the shock of finding the unexpected in a library, they will look around and discover things they never noticed before. Smart thinking, Hamish. By the end of the day, when Denise and I took our conversation into The Journal Cafe, we were scheming like school girls, imagining a night-time event in a large, mysterious library to rival the night game conducted in the New York Public Library earlier this year, imagining our library elevator door decked out like Dr Who’s time-travelling police box, and an installation taking shape from the Lego blocks we planned to drop on the reference shelves at the disposal of creative students.
For those who would rather know about what David and Hamish actually talked about yesterday, here are some links.
Firstly, a Twitter steam (mine are missing – don’t know how to search a hashtag which includes my own tweets) –
Here is Hamish’s multi-dimensional slideshow – he just kept coming out with more and more ideas and things to blow up anything old and tired as far as libraries and librarians go:
- Teacher Isolation: As a classroom teacher, I was deeply entrenched in my own world. I spent so much time worrying about what was happening inside my classroom, I sometimes forgot there was a world spinning outside of it.
- Teacher Education #Fail: If my own teacher education program emphasized instructional partnerships of any kind, I forgot to sign up for that class. Collaborating with other professionals was not a skill that I was taught in teacher school.
- Librarian #Fail: This message was not being sent by the school librarians I worked with. Or if it was, not very effectively.
What do you say to a student who says your reading blog updates are spam? And what do you say when more than one student sends you an email like this one
Could you please stop spamming me. You are cluttering my inbox and inhibiting me from working.
Now, there are several things bugging me about this email and those like it.
I know that students receive many emails aimed at a general audience and that my weekly email is only a drop in that ocean. Emails about sport they’re not involved in, activities, general information, etc. I get the feeling that these emails are just deleted on a regular basis (or left to gather dust, so to speak). I might be paranoid but I think the emails I’ve been receiving are symptomatic of the way students see staff who work in the school library. Now, I may not be about to describe the situation in your school, but I’ve seen a few school libraries where teacher librarians, librarians and library technicians are considered similarly. To some extent, students don’t consider library staff in the same way they consider teachers. Hence, the email without any greeting or mention of my name – something I’ll bet they would never do to any subject teacher.
Some teacher librarians claim that they teach a class (at least) so that they’re seen as ‘real teachers’. That makes sense. It’s a good idea if you can. Currently I teach a year 7 English class collaboratively on a regular basis, and I enjoy the ongoing relationship with the students, getting to know them in a way I wouldn’t when I come into classes here and there to support information literacy or reading promotion.
But if I taught more classes regularly, I wouldn’t have the time to spread myself around the school, offering my expertise across the curriculum to different year levels at point of need. A teacher librarian’s skills are diverse, and as we keep up with changes in education (which respond to changes in the workplace and the world in general), we have the potential opportunity to become involved in rich ways. As an example, I’ve been teaching within a ning for the first time, experimenting with enriching learning possibilities for the year 7 class I’ve mentioned. I’ve been constantly developing resources within wikis for English and Art, and I’m about to begin the same type of support for Maths and LOTE faculties. This is a time-consuming, out-of-hours, but ultimately satisfying job. I can do it because I’m not having a full load of face-to-face teaching. I love this work, and I believe teacher librarians have a lot more to offer now than they ever used to. I know many colleagues will agree with me on this.
The other thing that I find problematic when I think about the student’s email to me is the view that reading is not relevant to him. Information about books and related films, animation and the such, belong to the library, and are not relevant to this student’s subject-based focus. I think this reflects the problematic nature of developing a reading culture in the school. I started the fiction blog in order to begin to address this very important aspect of school life. I absolutely believe that developing a strong reading culture within the school community, including everyone in that community, is essential to and will have direct bearing on every other aspect of education. For a start, research demonstrates that reading is directly associated with academic results. And why wouldn’t it be? The more you read, the more you understand, the more ideas and perspectives you glean, the broader your outlook and access to diverse information will be, the more you will engage in discussion to further develop your ideas, practise delivery of what you want to say, etc. You get the point.
And yet, reading is still associated with libraries and librarians. That’s what we do. Other people do other things but we just read books. At least that’s the common perception.
This is what I want to change. I take responsibility for perceptions of reading and librarians such as those expressed by the above-mentioned email. I intend to work through this problem until I’ve made some progress. Not single-handedly, of course. My colleagues and I are united on this one. I admit it’s hard not to take emails like this one personally. But I also think that disciplining the student, as important as it is, will not solve the problem. The problem of reading’s relevancy to learning must be analysed, and the approach of the teacher librarian to this problem, as well as to the role of libraries in schools, must be worked through. Otherwise, if we are seen as not being essential, or even worse, irrelevant, to learning and teaching in schools, we’re in trouble.