Changing Roles

My understanding of the role (and especially the future) of the teacher-librarian continues to change. I have read so much in the past year about the future, or lack thereof, of the school library that my understanding of just what teacher-librarian’s do, their role within the school community, changes almost drastically from one day to another.

For my new semester at university, I have been reading a few articles on the future of the library in this ‘post-literate’ world. And I have come to a new conclusion: no matter how much the focus turns from the maintenance of a print-based collection to a digital one, no matter how the library is perceived, even if they take away the books and the library, there will still be a role for the teacher-librarian (even if they change the title).

My current understanding of the role of the teacher-librarian is founded upon the importance of information literacy, upon the need to ensure that students are critically aware and able to decipher all information to the best of their ability. Even if there is no longer a physical library in schools, but merely a digital one, the teacher-librarian may still have a role in ensuring that all students (and staff) are information literate.

But that, even there, is my worst case scenario. In my dreams, the future is one where the importance of the book and the printed and bound word is still recognised, and the library is not just something that teachers and principals put up with for tradition’s sake, but because they recognise its value, and its fundamental beauty. But what can I say? I’m a traditionalist, and I’m a romantic.

Further reading:

Mai Lee (2010), A library without books?

Doug Johnson (2010), Libraries for a post-literate society.

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Filed under Information Literacy, Librarianship, Of concern, Ranting, Teaching

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