Day 92 (of 185) ever thought about the future of teacher librarians?
Received a message today from a colleague who knows that I have been a teacher-librarian and now get to be a principal librarian:
I have just received an e-mail from my TL concerned with a statement made by a “lead teacher” about story-telling/book exchanger being obsolete for TLs. My impression is that there is still room for this at elementary and especially primary, in balance with what a TL can provide with regard to collaborative inquiry. Your impressions as someone so knowledgeable about all this?
I get honoured to be asked, and have indeed thought and heard similar statements (maybe even said similar to provoke discussion).
So my responses:
“Obsolete” may be harsh. But if that’s “all” library is, perhaps it should be. As an example I’m currently incorporating stories with ASDT – reading Pete the Car and his groovy shoes and then having Ks design their own groovy shoes (then sign out a book) some weeks are coding stations and this Wednesday there is Library Chaos to embrace Global School Day of Play!
It’s balancing literacy skills with a coding mindset. Older ie: my 5/6 and 7/8 classes are creating mockumentaries to explore critical thinking (found film of our local “shoemonster” a book their aunts and uncles and parents wrote in 1991 to win a scholastic young authors contest)
I have long supported the library as an integral hub to any learning community. And the right librarian can help the right learner find the right media at the right time! Sometimes on traditional print, sometimes on a screens. Sometimes focusing on reading strategies and often around thinking skills.
There was some thinking about a new learning commons being built and it became tougher thinking when I challenged whether construction should continue if there wasn’t going to be a librarian with it…..
I’ve always like the librarians that are the risk takers….the ones that find the ways to connect with learners that sometimes need something “different” in order to connect with school.
It’s a reason the library is so often the host of chess (the original game of strategy and pattern recognition)
And hosts a variety of contests. I’m not a big fan of “awards events” but I’m good with competitions when the kids have the choice whether to take part and whether they want to try to win. For instance today a number of our students were recognized with prizes from our local Legion for some Remembrance Day activities they submitted for competition – but was a “win” right away because they were sharing their thoughts with our veterans. These extra acknowledgements are just “bonus”. But when there wasn’t enough time in classrooms for this activity, the library found time. Time to research, collaborate, compare, peer and self assess, edit, publish and think.
So I admit a bias when I say that the figure of teacher-librarians is bright. It’s sometimes easy to forget that books were once a disruptive technology. Librarians were there to help promote their uses as learning tools. As time goes by, we only have access to more and more information. And more so than ever before, the role of the librarian will more and more out of the library and (hopefully) be embedded throughout the learning community!