What teacher librarians do and light nights

I was posting a message on one of the student forums today and discussing the role of the teacher librarian (school librarian or school library media specialist). Now there’s a vast amount of literature on the role of the TL and some of it is written by me and there’s been some very good research on the importance of having qualified librarians in schools and the roles of TLs in relation to information literacy, collaboration and the use of technology. There has, however, been a real lack of research on what teacher librarians doi.e. on a daily and weekly basis. How do they spend their time? Can each day planned? Will each day follow that plan? The answers to these questions are likely to be yes and no i.e. each day can be planned in advance but school libraries by their nature are dynamic and open to their users, so a TL can plan a day and that plan can be thrown out of the window by one phone call. That’s not to say that the new plan – imposed from outside the library – is not of sufficient value to the original one. For example, if a teacher unexpectedly asks to bring a class to the library – OK, arrives at the library with the class without notice – that session can be very productive. This is one reason why it’s difficult to explain what TLs do because they do so many varied things. It has to be recognised however, that some TLs have a fairly narrow vision of their role, which is often skewed too much towards children’s literature and not towards the whole curriculum. So we need more research on this. Will I get round to it? Next year, I hope. This year is planned.

As we say in Scotland “Aye, the nichts are drawin’ oot” i.e. the evenings are drawing out. The clocks have changed here and I was amused by my friend Paul Gooden in Wagga Wagga who told me of people sleeping in because computers/mobile phones etc have been programmed to change on 29th March and not 5th April – when the clocks change in New South Wales. To those of you whose “nichts are drawin’ in” – commiserations. It’s 7.20pm and I’m away for a walk along the beach.


3 Responses to “What teacher librarians do and light nights”

  1. Carole Bird Says:

    Misunderstanding a role is not unique to TLs. My hubby is a minister and he only works one hour a week according to some people. I once tried writing my job description as a TL but got tired after the first few pages.

    Gale force winds and driving rain and the nights drawing in – could be back in Scotland. Ch 10 has just called Melbourne ‘a city in chaos’ but in Greenock it was considered normal weather!

  2. Wendy Harrison Says:

    After reading your thoughts on what teacher/librarians do I began to reflect on my own experiences as a T/L for the past 10 weeks. I started to run through the list of what I do in my head and was staggered. The demands from others as well as the ones we place on ourselves mean our role is constantly evolving and growing. We have a huge responsibility in keeping up with current teaching and learning trends so we can support our staff. As a teacher I had many people to reach out to within a school. As librarians we are somewhat isolated and I am finding this aspect quite difficult. As someone new to the library I have had to rely mostly on myself and long for someone to bounce ideas off.
    I don’t know how we can quantify our role so that it remains current.
    Wendy Harrison

  3. Frances Manning Says:

    Hi James,thanks for the reminder about your blog on oztl!

    After a week back at school, I feel totally exhausted & ready for a holiday! I think another aspect of a Teacher Librarian’s role, (especially in Primary Schools), is that they often take on other roles to make up days, as the TL position is only part time. In order for me to have full time work, I also manage the ICT in the school and am on the Leadership team coordinating a Stage. (My three days TL are mainly used for RFF(Release From Face to Face teaching for the teachers). My situation is not really different to many of my colleagues in that in the reality of staff funding, a full time TL is seen as an expendable luxury!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: