Purpose of this site
Current federal initiatives aim to support quality teaching in schools and universities through establishing a national curriculum and promoting national professional teacher standards and national partnerships to address disadvantage, and improve school leadership and literacy. It is the purpose of this site to highlight the role of the teacher librarian in relation to these initiatives in schools.
A qualified teacher librarian has dual qualifications in teaching and in librarianship (See the Standards for Professional Excellence in Teacher Librarians). As American school administration academic, Gary Hartzell (1997), has stated "one of the major reasons why librarians are often overlooked by teachers is the lack of exposure during their teacher training programs to the types of value-added services librarians can provide. Collaboration cannot be fully realized without creating a collaborative culture in which all partners see the importance and understand the benefits of collaboration to themselves, each other and their students" (Small, Ruth V., Collaboration: Where Does It Begin? Teacher Librarian, 14811782, June 2002, Vol. 29, Issue 5).
Many principals, also, have not been exposed to the standards for excellence for qualified teacher librarians and the body of research linking their role to literacy and learning. In these times of global school-based management and minimal systemic guidelines, how do principals
The Role of the Professional Teacher Librarian
Professional teacher librarians then are able to play a major role in improving teaching and learning in 21st century schools. As described by the Australian School Library Association, in Future Learning and School Libraries (2013),
"A future focussed teacher librarian contributes to student learning through the school library in the following ways:
• Applies agility to address educational change and responsiveness to curriculum
• Promotes inquiry based pedagogy as the driving force and philosophical basis for teaching
and learning practices in the school community.
• Provides 24/7 access to information, as well as curation and mediation of learning
• Supports the inter-connectedness and inter-dependence of a variety of learning
• Builds capacity for lifelong / life-wide learning.
• Adopts evidence-based practice to inform teaching and learning.
• Guides inquiry, understanding and creativity among learners.
• Enables digital citizenship.
• Engenders a critical, ethical, and reflective approach to using information to learn.
• Provides professional learning opportunities based on the needs of the school and teaching
In other words, a teacher librarian, within a 21st century learning environment, is an instructional
leader, curriculum designer, consultant, collaborator, mediator for students and staff to achieve
best practice in learning." Who else on staff can do all this?
In a collaborative, information literate school community, this is our aim.