Teacher librarians have the opportunity to rethink how best to support personalised and collaborative information seeking and knowledge conversations in our 21st century digital environment. Learning without frontiers is our context and it is empowered by a pedagogical approach that aims to be:
- multi-literate and flexible media tools
- curriculum and knowledge engagement through authentic learning experiences
- collaborative and flexible work spaces
- empowered by information fluency skills and strategies
- enhanced by game-based learning and social media
- global in focus through comprehensive projects, activities and media.
Engaging students in opportunities to read and write, explore and explain, think and deduct, are all the more interesting in our multi-modal, multi-literate 21st century learning environments.
“Kids can navigate the interface but they need to analyse, evaluate and efficiently utilise the information they encounter and that’s a skill that needs to be taught”
Steve Coker, teacher-librarian North Thurston High School, Lacey, Washington, USA. (Teacher Librarians at the Heart of Student Learning, 2013. YouTube video).
- “The students don’t understand the ramifications of using the internet and it’s quite overwhelming”. (Julie Hembree, teacher-librarian, AG Bell Elementary, Kirkland, Washington).
- Promote literacy by way of technology. Use devices in class effectively and safely, to learn.
- “They have to learn what it is to be digital citizen”. We’re talking about high level learning, critical thinking, and creative thinking. (David Loertscher, San Jose State University).
- “We teach the teachers and students the vital skills they need to learn”. (Carina Pierce, Teacher – Library at Cougar Mountain Middle-School Bethel).
Teacher librarians are important leaders in the era of learning without frontiers. Digital information in libraries needs a leader to explain what digital information is and provide training.
“We have a vision. We’ve been in the classroom. We understand what the teacher’s need; we understand what the student’s need. We want to engage the learners, and provide exciting learning experiences. We see the big picture of learning and we see the big picture of curriculum, and we want to help where ever we can”.
Carina Pierce, Teacher – Library at Cougar Mountain Middle-School Bethel. (2013).
Leadership isn’t one skill, it’s a group of actions the teacher librarian takes, and the perception they create about being a leader in those actions.
Collaborate, Advocate, Stay ahead of Technology, Educate, Be a Problem Solver, Create Goals, Partner in Technology, Be Persistent, Involve the Community, Innovate, Provide Teamwork, Be flexible, Share Ideas, Document Success and Keep Learning.
Teacher librarian’s need to keep up with technology, and manage and work with these emerging technologies and the millennium student by using four main actions of Collaborate, Advocate, Educate, and Innovate.
Collaborate by assisting students and teachers to use information in an ethical way.
As a leader you Advocate for funds for providing the latest technology for the students and develop a love of learning aswell as a love of reading.
Educate as a staff developer because not everyone has the same knowledge and skills, and teach them what teacher librarian’s do and how they do it, so teachers can teach better with the technology they haven’t been trained in. Teach teachers information literacy, so they are aware that the teacher librarian is a source of resources.
Innovate. (Example of getting class sets of books into English classes as students don’t have the time to go to the library, and students go and borrow other books from the same authors from the library now
Community. Teacher librarian’s are in a unique position to demonstrate leadership in many different ways. Collaborating with clubs etc to make activities come alive in our library.
Problem solver. Teacher librarian’s attempt to solve problems by finding the best way or solution and principals like this approach, and see it as a partnership between himself and the teacher librarian to solve problems.
Teacher librarian’s need to be Leaders in technology by working with all staff at all levels; They must become partners in technology, showing they’re willing to pilot a program and be persistent with it.
They can document and track all library activities to provide data as evidence of what is good and valuable for student’s learning needs.
What distinguishes Teacher librarian’s as leaders are their unique abilities to keep on learning. We learn from students, teachers, principals, and each other. They guide the school community as learners of new technologies and to use them effectively.
*A perfect quote to sum up the teacher librarian as leader. My experience as a teacher and library user thoroughly agrees with!
“A good school library has never been about the stuff, it’s about the people and the ideas in it. If the school library can make a space that is safe, warm, and empowers a love of learning and a natural curiosity, the TL will be a true leader for their community, their students and their administration”.
Melissa Ahart teacher-librarian Peter Rouget School, New York, USA. (Mansfield University, 2013)
School Library Leadership: Leading Libraries into the Future. YouTube video. Mansfield University’s online School Library and Information Technologies M.Ed. program, New York, USA: 2013).
Teacher Librarians at the Heart of Student Learning. YouTube video. (2013). Retrieved from: http://www.asla.org.au/publications/access/access-commentaries/school-libraries-and-meta-literacy.aspx