My view of the role of the Teacher Librarian has changed dramatically since beginning this subject
When I first began the course, I really had a very limited understanding regarding a TLs role. I believe, even just in a matter of weeks, but with the extensive reading completed throughout the course, my ideas concerning the role has dramatically grown.
I believe that my initial understanding of a TL’s role came from my own personal experiences, both in my own education and during my teaching career. I developed a view based upon the best teacher librarians I had seen within an educational context – the highly enthusiastic, wide readers, who make creative links between the curriculum and written texts. It looked like lots of fun! I hadn’t really considered such things as the growth of electronic resources, collection development and policies, role verification, information literacy, collaboration and search processes. I saw my entry into this course as a new way that I could deal with students (without the ‘shhhhhhh’ stigma of course!). I also saw it as an exit out of the traditional classroom environment and into a new and different line of work.
It has been difficult at times to understand fully the role of the TL, due mainly to the fact I have no actual experience in this area. I found Lamb’s (2011) article that referred to the ‘palette’ of roles carried out by the TL to be a key reading in providing me with some understanding on how diverse the role is. It also provided me with some very practical ideas.
I understand that the role of the teacher librarian is one that will constantly change for years to come. Dependent upon many criteria, the role may be different from one TL to another. Aspects such as the school one is employed in, the constraints the TL must deal with in terms of budgets and environments, as well as the expectations from other teachers and the principal, can all affect how the role is carried out.
A completely new term for me was Information Literacy and due to the large amount of definitions out there, I found it hard to get my head around what it actually consisted of. I understood it to be an understanding of Information, but had little idea of how it could be taught, learnt and assessed. I found Barbara’s mindmap (2013) on Information Literacy extremely beneficial in explaining these factors. Being a highly visual learner, the presentation of a mind map made the facts much more concrete.
When looking at Information Search Process models, I became extremely confused and I found Assignment 2 to be incredibly difficult. Researching the two models was like searching for a needle in a haystack – there was so much to be found on Kuhlthau (and much written by herself) but I found it really difficult to find information on the NSW DET model of The Information Process. This confusion is apparent when you read my blog 2 task (OLJ, Blog Assignment Task 2), as I believed that Guided Inquiry and Kuhlthau’s ISP were one and the same. It wasn’t until I read a couple of the forum questions in the assignment forum and BC’s answers that a realised these two things are different. This fact had me rewriting half my assignment again, but it also made things a lot clearer.
When I reflect upon the last semester of study I have definitely found the subject worthwhile. I have really enjoyed learning and reading about teacher librarianship and about some ideas that were extremely new and unknown to me. I have found the CSU interact site interactive and have found the forums of extreme help. The subject leads me to ask myself the question – By learning more about teacher librarianship, has this made me want to be a teacher librarian? I’d have to say no, but it has opened my eyes to what I do want to achieve in my teaching career and its highlighted to me the immense responsibilities that teacher librarians have in the teaching and learning of information in the contemporary school environment. I think that by learning these things, I will have more of an appreciation of teacher librarians, especially when things are taught correctly (which is no easy task).
Coombes, B. (2013) Information Literacy Skills Mind Map, Retrieved May 2, 2013, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL401_201330_W_D/page/06ace263-10c7- 4bcf-00da-c0e3cdbc4c48
Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36.
Taylor, K. (2013, May 7) Blog Assignment 2 Implementing a Guided Inquiry Approach Retrieved from: https://dripsonpages.wordpress.com/