Reflection and Forum Discussion
Within the forum discuss how the teacher librarian’s expertise and role in ‘selecting and using resources’ is different from that required by all teachers.
Share ideas on how teacher librarians might effectively collaborate with the school community in the selection of resources in a school with which you are familiar.
Consider also how to engage your learners in selection of resources for their school library.
Who should have the final say on what is included in the school library collection? Why?
I believe the TL’s expertise and role in ’selecting and using resources’ will be different to that required by all teachers as the TL should have more of an idea of the broad range of resources available, where and when those resources can be acquired and if there are any reasonable alternatives. The TL will also have an idea of the budget that is available for resources in each particular area.
Definitely, TL’s should be open to the opinions of teachers and students as to what resources they would like to have, for instance, if a teacher is planning a new program of work and the resources already held within the collection that relate to the program are quite limited, then the TL and teacher should work together to make decisions regarding resources that will work for both the individual teacher and for the wider library community. I know myself (as a teacher) when I have begun planning new units of work, the library is always the first point of call, so to check there are enough resources for both myself and my students. In the past, when my school’s librarian has approached me asking if there is anything in particular I would like ordered, I will think of ways I can boost the collection we already have, or begin acquiring new resources that may contribute to me beginning new units of work. As a teacher, I have always appreciated being consulted regarding this. The TL will not have the same depth of knowledge in all subject areas, especially the speciality areas, that will allow him/her to make deep and informed decisions regarding specific subject material, therefore they will require discussion with teachers.
In terms of student’s input, I believe it is quite important for the TL to listen and monitor what is current at the time. For instance, if there is a particular literary fad, the TL should be trying to acquire the books, afterall isn’t one of the major roles of a TL to develop literacy? I think that sometimes when there is a literary fad occurring (eg. The Twilight saga a few years back) the fact that those students are reading is more important than what they are reading.
As to who should have the final say in what is included in the library collection, it really should be the TL. However, if the collection is to address the needs of the particular learning community, then the TL will need to monitor what the teachers and students within that community require. The TL will also need to consult with Principals regarding financial constraints.