What a year it has been. Library lessons online during lockdown, a ‘temperature station’ in the IRC and finally opening to classes but without browsing for another week or two. Students have not been without books though. An extensive online collection was available as well as a ‘click and collect’ system working automatically from the online catalogue with a ‘surprise pack’ being available for the youngest students.
From this week classes are finally back in the IRC (not just online or in their classrooms) and Ernest is in full swing – advertising the need to sanitise upon entry.
Every year I am amazed at the way in which my role somehow changes and morphs around how I am needed in the current teaching and learning situation. The basic role of managing resources both physical and digital remains the same but the scope and vision of my role changes as teaching and learning needs arise that can be met by the school library and teacher librarians.
The American Association of School Librarians has developed “National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries” (AASL Standards) which build on the already adopted AASL Standards Framework for Learners. The teacher librarian plays a vital role in supporting learning within these standards.
Effective oral, written, and multimedia communication
Accessing and analyzing information
Curiosity and imagination
He goes on to say that:
“School librarians are the resident experts in the development of these skills. Accessing and analyzing information, collaborating across networks, cultivating curiosity and imagination—this is the life blood of an outstanding school library. More importantly, these are the skills that will allow our students to become thoughtful and engaged citizens equipped to navigate a world full of increasingly complex information.”
At BACIRC we are starting the new year with more initiatives than ever to encourage reading right across our P-12 school.
A recent article in The Age newspaper focuses on a school that insists on 20 minutes per day of reading for pleasure by every student. This activity is being followed through research done by Dr Margaret Merga from Edith Cowan University and this article is worth consideration. ‘Sense of urgency’: One school’s bold plan to get teenagers reading
Reading is so critical to the development of vocabulary and in-depth knowledge of the world around us and without actually practicing the skill of sustained reading, it can be lost in a practice of skimming content with no depth of knowledge as a result.
Our library at Broughton is very involved in the Primary section’s reading programme. We also assist with ‘Wide Reading’ and the English faculty in many classes from Years 7-9. Our aim as Teacher Librarians is to assist in the selection of books for individual students and also to inspire a love of reading through lessons containing excerpts of ‘good reads’, and many literary displays and activities.
Ernest the Emu: “Ernest loves to see students just sitting and reading. If you let him, he will tell you that being read to by proficient readers, and spending 20 mins a day reading independently are vital to developing literacy skills.” (Mrs Havenaar – our new Teacher in the Library)
Ernest can be seen taking part in many lessons throughout the day and even watches Senior Students as they study in our K-12 library.
After a day filled with exhausting ‘farm’ activities all three classes headed to the IRC for some ‘Farm’ stories. First we read two stories illustrated on the Interactive Board attached to a projection lamp so everyone could see the book. Michael Rosen‘s picture book Oww!: A wriggly piglet with a prickly problem was popular then Russell the sheep by Rob Scotton was a real favourite!
Finally we had some good old-fashioned fun singing “Old MadDonald had a farm” with all the puppets and sound effects we could muster.
This clip by Dominique Sullivan and Jennifer Lunny illustrates that the roles of school libraries and Teacher Librarians are changing. This has been happening for some time and the possibilities make the library an exciting place to be!
Did you know the Teacher Librarian can wear up to 500 hats? Barbara Braxton is working her way through a description of each and today’s ‘Hat’ is both informative and challenging. Read about The Information Literacy Hat on her blog 500 Hats.
An ILSC is one that “places a high priority (policy, benchmarking, funding and evaluation) on the pursuit of teacher and student mastery of the processes of being informed,” (Henri, 2005, p12). ..
…Students will need to be able to survive and thrive in an information-saturated and technology-rich environment, and be independent, creative thinkers, making informed decisions based on careful evaluation and interpretation of available information, developing expertise through experience, and be lifelong learners. They need to be information literate.
Every year, on Valentine’s Day, the English Department joins with the IRC in a little bit of silliness that actually becomes a very successful time of reading for enjoyment. We have been doing this with Year 8 or 9 English classes for six years. Even students who do not normally read for pleasure take part enthusiastically and have an opportunity to experience many genres especially selected for their age group.
It was announced yesterday that I was the Australian Teacher Librarian of the Year 2012 What an incredible honour and privilege! I have been inundated with congratulatory emails and social networking messages from family, friends and colleagues – many of whom know what the role of Teacher Librarian entails.
It has been interesting to hear the reactions from many who do not know what a Teacher Librarian does in the day-to-day life of the school library. A relative of mine jokingly said to my daughter: “So what did she do to win this award… invent a new Dewey Decimal System or a new way of filing?” … I want to thank my two Cert III qualified Library Assistants who make it possible for me to do much less of the “book” work behind the scenes (shelving, cataloguing, covering) and a lot more of the specialized teaching role that is that of Teacher Librarian!
The role of Teacher Librarian means
• Working with and for the whole school community – not just a few classes, but all students, teachers and administrators and even parents and grandparents
• Selecting and providing resources for all curriculum taught in the school – not just books both physical and digital but also online links to sites and database access to authoritative works in journals, magazines and newspapers
• Determining how new technologies can be best incorporated into units of work to make the tasks more interesting and/or collaborative
• Assisting in the teaching of ICT skills across the curriculum – for both staff and students
• Promoting reading and literature – this is a constant, enjoyable, daily part of the job as literature is discussed with students and teachers looking for appropriate reading material. Events to promote reading need to be organised (We have Library Lover’s Day, Grandparents in the IRC, National Simultaneous Storytime, Book Week Activities and a Book Fair every year)
• Leading in introducing new pedagogical skills (Guided Inquiry has been introduced and is being used widely at Broughton and the Teacher Librarian teaches along side the class teacher to assist with supporting the process, information literacy skills and digital literacy skills)
• Having a voice on various collaborative school committees to discuss school policy and direction (eg IT Committee, Assessment Committee, Professional Learning Committee)
• Caring for students who use the library as a refuge from the playground and often develop new friendships in this environment
• Overseeing and assisting students in the library since it has become the school’s “lounge room” (where students relax together before school and at lunch, collaborate together over projects, play board games, read quietly or discuss books together)
• Display work for all classes and students K-12 in a prominent place for the whole community to share in their achievements
The list could go on. Above all Teacher Librarians are passionate about what they do, about promoting life long learning for everyone – which means finding new ways of teaching and learning and promoting older ‘tried and true’ methods, accessing new digital literacies but still using the best of the old, integrating learning and making it relevant to a student’s experience and ‘supporting’ all who enter our library doors!
At a time when the role of Teacher Librarian is so misunderstood and therefore many TLs (Library Media Specialists) are disappearing from schools under budget restraints, we need to ‘shout it out’ and make School Principals aware of the role – and the need for information specialists in every school.
The Dewey Decimal System barely comes into it ☺
In his paper The Future of Libraries, Futurist speaker Thomas Frey delivers a history of the role of libraries over time – from the preservation of Da Vinci’s work to today where “Collections are often used by people who choose not to, or can not afford to, purchase books for themselves.”
All this is changing, however, and the role of libraries and librarians is dramatically shifting. Frey’s paper discusses ten trends and concludes with four recommendations that are great food for thought and action.
This video, produced using data obtained from an extensive research study of School Libraries in New Jersey led by Dr Ross Todd, describes the situation in school libraries today and the role of Teacher Librarian (called Library Media specialist in the USA)
Towards the end of last year and with a focus on the coming National Year of Reading class teacher, Kate Bradley, drew on A. A. Milne’s timeless classic Winnie-the-Pooh to help her class learn about relationships and also to use this literature to bind subject areas into an integrated unit of work. The students read the book then created their own characters who had to live together in their own class One Hundred Acre Wood behind the IRC. Students visited their ‘Wood’ often -sometimes bringing down their writing materials and working outside for added inspiration. This became their presentation area with characters (plastic bottles) standing next to poetry compositions (laminated on sticks). The display became a collaborative effort between the classroom teacher and Teacher Librarian with some Senior Students also assisting during study periods and the students benefited from all the added attention! In the following video Kate describes this unit of work.