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.
Mai Lee (2010), A library without books?
Doug Johnson (2010), Libraries for a post-literate society.
The session is coming to an end, and it is time to reflect on how my understanding of the role of the teacher librarian has been changed. When I first began this subject (fittingly titled ETL:401 – Teacher Librarianship), I had little to no real idea what the teacher-librarian actually did. I knew I wanted to be one, but had very little real understanding of their role and responsibilities. aplaceformorethoughts
I have wanted to be a teacher-librarian since August 2008. Shortly after returning from my very first teaching placement, I was struggling with the dissatisfaction and disillusionment of having not enjoyed the experience. I was nineteen and completely unsure of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life (in retrospect, not at all an unusual situation for a nineteen year old to be in). But I was aware that the aspect of my placement which I had most enjoyed were the hours I had spent in the school library.
There was nothing terribly special about this school library – it had a range of books, and around twenty computers scattered throughout for student use. Just like any other. But the experience of being in the library, surrounded by hundreds of books, hundreds of sources of information, had remained in my mind as a particular highlight. And that, I realised, was where I wanted to be…