When thinking about training to become a teacher librarian, the description and organisation of the library resources seemed to be a menial and task oriented process. I gave it very little thought and deep down somewhere I sort of thought it wasn’t really the role of the teacher librarian (TL). When I first opened the pages to the Hider text, I inwardly groaned and exasperated threw the book across the room. The complexity and technicality of the text worried me as I had not envisaged describing and analysing resources to be quite so difficult.


Once I began to read the modules and the text, the description of “library science” suddenly made sense to me as I slowly uncovered the science within the approaches to describing and analysing the resources contained within the walls of a library. The only familiar concept initially was obviously the Dewey Decimal Classification 23 (DDC23). A fundamental organisational system experienced by most all of us during our formative years. I was obviously aware of its existence but had never thought to look deeper into how it came about or how it was used.


The concepts of MARC and RDA were completely foreign and despite crying my way through assignment one, the predictability and specificity of the RDA tasks complemented my learning style and preferred topics of mathematics and science. For something to have close to an “absolute answer” in a university assignment was something of a godsend. Of course I thought I had completed the assignment drastically wrong but was pleasantly surprised at my results.


The completion of this assignment, with the emphasis on subject headings and classification numbers was difficult to get my head around. The importance of subject headings was amplified as I completed the assignment and the ramifications of how they are used gobsmacking. Hider (2012) highlights the importance of the TL’s role in facilitating student access to information which involves the arranging, labelling and indexing of resources. The use of SCIS subject headings in cataloguing highlights the importance of assigning the correct headings to assist students in finding appropriate and relevant resources to their topic of study.


The second part of the assignment has assisted me to understand the DDC23 and although using WebDewey was definitely overwhelming at first, the repetitive nature of completing the assignment increased my understanding of the DDC23 and my familiarity with the tool. The adaptation of the DDC23 into SCIS seemed logical to the specific nature of school libraries and the associated literature now holds pride of place on my desk.


This subject has been complex, technical and difficult to say the least; however it has also been interesting, informative and highly relevant to the role of the TL. I can safely say I won’t be applying for a cataloguing job anytime soon, however I feel confident in my basic abilities to begin applying the knowledge I have gained within the TL role.



Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: creating and managing metadata. London: Facet.

Posted by: leish79 | October 8, 2013

ETL504 – Critical Reflection

At the commencement of my enrolment into this degree I hadn’t thought of the teacher librarian as a leader. I had thought I was retraining in an effort to change my career to move away from leadership (Herbert, 2013a). However the concept of leadership began to resound strongly through the literature I was being exposed to and the importance of the leadership role was becoming clearer. The idea of being a leader wasn’t what was worrying me. How to lead from a position with no implied leadership attached to it was given I had always exerted leadership from a position with implied authority (Herbert, 2013b).

The teacher librarian as a leader in implementing guided inquiry appeared to be a fair fit, given the teacher librarian is accepted as the expert in information literacy skills (Herbert, 2013c). Initially the leadership appeared to take the form of leading student learning by explicitly teaching students the information literacy skills they would require to achieve lifelong learning. However, this quickly evolved into the teacher librarian leading other teachers by instructing them around how to impart information literacy skills within their classrooms (Herbert, 2013a). This then gave the leadership role a different lens.

I then strayed into the different types of leadership and began reflecting on what experiences of leadership I have experienced. My first experiences of school leadership were extremely negative. The principal could only be described as a tyrant, employing a transactional approach to leadership. She used intimidation daily with her staff and this appeared to be the main reason her directions were followed. She evoked no feelings of respect from her staff, she was disinterested in others points of view and she seemed incapable of providing positive feedback. She epitomised exactly what I most definitely did not wish to become and continues to be a model of what not to do for me.

I then reflected on another leader, who was opposite to the aforementioned woman in all ways possible. This man utilised a distributed approach to leadership, however at times seemed disconnected from his leadership role, failing to provide any direction at all. Whilst there were many flaws in his approach to leadership, he was skilled at instilling a sense of ownership and responsibility within me. He also valued my point of view and encouraged me to participate in the decision making process. He was the reason I chose to venture into a leadership position. Whilst I am thankful to him for sparking my feeling of self belief when I began considering leadership, I have also modelled my leadership on things he didn’t do.

Returning to the issue at hand, the readings throughout the course have assisted me to identify my strengths and weaknesses as a leader. The conflict resolution questionnaire identified my conflict resolution style as collaborating (Herbert, 2013d). This outcome fit with my own self appraisal of how I choose to lead and work with others. It also inspired my hope that I may possibly have made the correct decision to retrain. After all, collaboration has been a key theme throughout the course readings to date.

The necessity of collaboration within the role of the teacher librarian was not only recommended but was considered necessary to help lay the foundation for lifelong learning within students (Herbert, 2013a). Clear communication and collaboration appeared to be the key to effective leadership and everything else that followed seemed to be dependent on this (Herbert, 2013b).

The role of the teacher librarian as a leader is quite obviously an important one. The current education climate which involves the integration of the Australian Curriculum appears to be an exciting time to be a teacher librarian. It offers many opportunities to exhibit leadership given the curriculum is based on an inquiry approach to learning. The role of the teacher librarian appears pivotal in the successful implementation of the curriculum and failure to take ownership of a leadership role would be detrimental to student learning. Based on strong communication skills, positive existing relationships with classroom teachers and the executive and opportunities to collaborate frequently on how best to implement the curriculum appear to be the best tools a teacher librarian will possess.



Herbert, A. (2013a). ETL401 assignment 2 – Part B: Critical reflection. In Hopefully a teacher librarian in the making [Blog post]. Retrieved from: https://hopefullyateacherlibrarianinthemaking.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/etl401-assignment-2-part-b-critical-reflection/

Herbert, A. (2013b). ETL504 Part B – My thoughts on leadership so far … In Hopefully a teacher librarian in the making [Blog post]. Retrieved from: https://hopefullyateacherlibrarianinthemaking.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/etl504-part-b-my-thoughts-on-leadership-so-far/

Herbert, A. (2013c). Blog task 1 – Comment on the role of the teacher librarian in practice with regard to implementing a guided inquiry approach. In Hopefully a teacher librarian in the making [Blog post]. Retrieved from: https://hopefullyateacherlibrarianinthemaking.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/the-role-of-the-librarian-the-views-of-herring-purcell-lamb-and-valenza/

Herbert, A. (2013d). Conflict resolution. In Hopefully a teacher librarian in the making [Blog post]. Retrieved from: https://hopefullyateacherlibrarianinthemaking.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/conflict-resolution/


Collaboration has been a resounding theme throughout both this subject and previous subjects within the Masters of Education (Teacher Librarian) course. ALIA & ASLA (2009) identify that collaboration between the teacher librarian (TL) and classroom teachers is necessary to instil lifelong learning skills within students. But what underpins effective collaboration between the TL and other staff within a school?

Quality collaboration between the teacher librarian and other staff needs to be underpinned by the ability to form relationships, effective communication skills and knowledge of the curriculum.  Without these background skills, collaboration is unlikely to be effective and the role of the TL is likely to be minimised within the school. The introduction of the Australian Curriculum which is based on an inquiry approach to learning provides opportunities for collaboration between the TL and classroom teachers to become the norm within schools. The TL has a responsibility to engage in effective working relationships with the teaching staff within the school. The amount of time the TL has to directly instruct students is minimal. Without the integration of information literacy skills being taught by the TL across the curriculum, student outcomes will be adversely impacted.


Tapscott (2012) identifies transparency as communicating “pertinent information to stakeholders”. The stakeholders of the school library are staff, students and parents. Therefore the TL needs to ensure they are effectively communicating information about the library collection to the stakeholders to ensure the collection is adequately relevant and useful. Transparency can be achieved through a number of ways.

  • Dissemination of appropriate instructional material about how to effectively use the technology contained within the library.
  •  Improved signage within the library to assist the users in navigating the collection.
  • In-service training to teaching staff to educate them on the use of library services or technology within their classrooms.


Tapscott (2012) identified sharing as “giving up assets or intellectual property”. Sharing within the bounds of your own school is important to ensure consistency. Townsend (2011) also suggests that effective leader’s share their knowledge not only within their own school but also with leaders within other schools within their region, state, country and globally. The TL as a leader of information literacy should therefore share information and resources not only with the teachers within their own school, but also with other TLs. This assists the TL to move from an isolated role within the school to a networked community of TLs.


Tapscott (2012) identified empowerment as the “distribution of knowledge”. Empowerment is an important aspect of leadership as it enables not only the leader, but also those being led, to draw upon their strengths and knowledge and combine together to meet a common goal. The TL can draw upon their own empowerment to assist in motivating and inspiring classroom teachers to integrate information literacy skills into their teaching as well as integrating digital technologies into their classroom practices.


The four principles identified by Tapscott (2012) are highly relevant to the role of the TL. Although the role is generally isolated within the school, there is support for the notion that the TL is an expert in their field and the introduction of the Australian Curriculum, which is based on an inquiry approach to learning, provides the perfect opportunity for the TL to step up and lead from within.



Australian Library and Information Association & Australian School Library Association. (2009). ALIA/ASLA policy on guided inquiry and the curriculum. Retrieved from: http://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines/aliaasla-policy-guided-inquiry-and-curriculum

Tapscott, D. (2012). Four principles for the open world [Video file].  Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/don_tapscott_four_principles_for_the_open_world_1.html

Townsend, T. (2011). School leadership in the twenty-first century: Difference approaches to common problems? School Leadership & Management, 31(2), 93-103

Posted by: leish79 | October 7, 2013

Reflecting on why …

Traditional leadership includes implied authority and is a top-down approach. Within schools the traditional understanding of the educational hierarchy deems that teachers, including the teacher librarian (TL), follow directions made by the Principal. Looking at Simon Sinek’s (2009) How Great Leaders Inspire Action, teachers and TL’s have always known what the outcome of following the direction of the Principal is – student learning. The how to achieve this has always been simple – quality teaching. The why appears to have been missing from the traditional approach although teachers and TL’s may have been keeping to their own beliefs as to why they entered the profession.

When considering the role of TL as a leader, Sinek (2009) identifies that approaching the task from the why rather than what will earn more followers than the traditional approach. For a TL who has no implied leadership and can often be viewed as having less leadership than classroom teachers due to their removal from the classroom environment, exerting leadership could be difficult and viewed as working from the bottom up. Sinek (2009) suggests that leaders hold a position of authority however those who lead inspire people. Therefore it would be prudent for TL to look to inspiration or “why” as their starting point for exerting leadership amongst their peers.

The starting point for determining the “why” is determining what makes the TL unique, what does the TL do within the school. For me on my journey as a TL in training, there are many things that come to mind when I consider this. Focusing on the what of the TL my blog post from 24 March 2013 identified that the role of the TL is varied, with many different responsibilities exercised at different points in time. Referring back to this reminds me of the varied role of the TL, but doesn’t necessarily bring me to the why.

Attempting to explain the why of the TL continues to be difficult for me to express. I stopped to consider what was behind my desire to become a TL and I always came back to the what. Articulating why I chose to become a TL rather than what a TL does eludes me right now, however it’s clearly worth pursuing.


Sinek, S. (2009). How great leaders inspire action. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

Posted by: leish79 | September 30, 2013

Conflict resolution

After completing the conflict resolution questionnaire I discovered that my conflict resolution style is:

Collaborating. You tend to express above average assertiveness and above average cooperation. Some of your associates may think of you as an owl because you believe that two people working together can come up with a better answer than either can produce individually.

I don’t think I was surprised by the outcome. In my day-to-day work life I tend to promote and support the idea that joint decision making between me and those I supervise leads to best outcomes for our clients. I support this view as I appreciate that I am not the expert on each case being allocated. I do after all supervise six people each of who are responsible for an average of nine cases each.

For the most past I would say that the conflict resolution strategy I employ has served me well in my current role. There have been limited experiences whereby this approach has not resulted in a joint decision being made that each person involved can take some responsibility and ownership of. However that being said, on those occasions when this hasn’t worked out, I have no issues in reverting to traditional forms of leadership and making the decision which I would consider best given the circumstances.

When considering my approach to conflict resolution what stands out to me as an area for development would be addressing the issue in conflict quickly and directly. Whilst I have no qualms in making a decision, I often take time out to consider the situation carefully and thoroughly before addressing the issue in conflict. This often leads to the issue not being resolved and creating a bigger issue, or alternately it leads to the issue blowing over and no discussion or resolution occurring. Generally when the latter occurs there are no obvious negative outcomes however the thinking process utilised by the staff member that led to the conflict has not been challenged and therefore the likelihood of further conflict arising remains high.

My current role encompasses assumed leadership and therefore resolving conflict is easier given the hierarchy of the organisation. I anticipate that exerting leadership and subsequently resolving conflict as a teacher librarian (TL) will be a new challenge given there is no assumption of leadership assigned to the TL role. Given my current conflict resolution style, I feel I am well suited to make the transition as collaboration is an integral part of the TL role.

Posted by: leish79 | August 20, 2013

ETL504 Part B – My thoughts on leadership so far …

I first encountered the notion of leadership within the role of the teacher librarian (TL) whilst studying ETL401. At that time, the thought of the TL as a leader worried me as I had thought I was studying to enter an easier career path … well a little less demanding at the very least. Leadership is not something I shy away from. My current employment involves me leading a minimum of six people on a daily basis and I am quietly confident about my abilities to undertake the role, but leading from a position of unacknowledged power is not something I have had to undertake regularly.

Prior to undertaking any of the readings for this subject, I felt like I had a good understanding of leadership as a result of my current employment. I have attended many leadership courses throughout my employment, and although they haven’t been aimed at the TL, there was surely going to be some common ground.

It didn’t take long to come across the idea of the heroic leader. A concept which has never really sat well with me. The idea of one person leading while others blindly follow just never appeared an effective way of getting things done. I have always celebrated the diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints of others around me and have found that collaborating with others on decision making has generally led to a sound decision, which everyone takes responsibility for, as well as leading to me learning from the experience. This has always seemed the right way to do things, but from the readings it is clear it’s not the only way.

Turning my attention to the task at hand, the leadership role of the TL, I had to think about it from a different angle. My experiences of leadership have almost always taken place whilst I was in an assumed position of power and therefore imparting my views on the way things should run have been easy to implement. However, the TL role is different. There is no assumed position of leadership afforded to the role and therefore being seen as a leader whilst remaining a colleague appears to be a tricky proposition.

The key to effective leadership clearly appears to be clear communication and collaboration. Everything else appears to depend on getting this right. This is clearly a skill that the TL should be proficient at given they are required to communicate about resources within the library and collaborate to form teaching teams and implement inquiry learning across the curriculum. It would appear to me that when looked at this way, other teachers may never view the TL as a leader within the school, however they will follow their lead and the result will be increased student achievement.

Looked at in this way, the idea of leading from the role of TL doesn’t seem such a scary proposition. It would appear that truly effective leadership doesn’t need to emanate from a position of power and that ultimately my pre-existing views on leadership support what I have read thus far.

Posted by: leish79 | June 3, 2013

ETL401 Assignment 2 – Part B: Critical Reflection

imageShaky beginnings

My initial perceptions of the TL role prior to engaging in this subject mirrored the title of Purcell’s (2010) article, “All librarians do is check out books, right?” My own experience of the school library during my schooling was just that. The TL read a story to the class, we coloured in some pictures and then we borrowed books (Oberg, 2006; Hartzell, 2002). My experience of the school library as a classroom teacher was similar, with the added bonus that when the TL had my class, I got some R&R, oops…. I mean time to plan.

Collaboration is the key

I experienced a light bulb moment when reading Herring’s (2007) article, where the idea of collaboration between the TL and classroom teachers was first introduced to me. Once I had read this, it seemed almost stupid not to have thought about it before. Upon wider reading it became more apparent that collaboration between the TL and classroom teachers was not just recommended, it was necessary to instil lifelong learning skills within students (ALIA & ASLA, 2009). I then turned my attention to guided inquiry and the role of the TL as the gatekeeper of collaboration (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007). This view thrust the TL into a leadership role which I had never seen in practice within a school. I had witnessed the TL act as an instructional partner, a teacher and a program administrator, but never a leader (Purcell, 2010).

TL as leader

The theme of leadership suddenly began to resound throughout the literature surrounding the role of the TL. The role was suddenly expanding at such an exponential rate my head began to spin and I seriously contemplated rocking in the corner. I mean, I’m not afraid to take charge and lead by example, I do it every day in my current occupational role. However I had not began the process of changing my career to TL to be a leader…. had I? The notion that the TL should not only be a leader in terms of teaching information literacy skills to students, but that the TL should also instruct teachers in how to impart these skills within their classrooms (Purcell, 2010) fed back into the need for collaboration to occur.

Principal support…. or lack of it

I then began considering how collaboration can be fostered between the TL and classroom teachers and how the TL can be viewed as a leader in this process. Haycock (2007) made a positive correlation between the principal’s expectations regarding collaboration between the TL and the classroom teachers and the implementation of this. Therefore it would be fair to suggest that without the support of the principal the TL cannot become the collaboration gatekeeper as Kuhlthau et. al. (2007) suggests. My online journal (OLJ) entry regarding principal support (OLJ, 2013, March 24) clearly articulated a negative history of principal support for the TL. I chose to work around this issue through targeting classroom teachers to pursue a relationship of collaboration rather than attempting to persuade the principal. Upon reflection this is a naive and simplistic view of the problem. The support of the principal is crucial in vaulting the TL into a leadership and collaborative role and therefore the principal’s view of the TL is imperative in achieving this.

Final thoughts

Throughout the course of this subject my learning has increased exponentially as the weeks rolled by. The role of the TL is clearly varied and vast and the more I read, the more aspects to the role I discovered. The idea of the TL as a leader was surprising to me, however after reading about IL it is obvious why the TL should be viewed as a leader, particularly in the instruction of guided inquiry. However what is more crucial to the role is the responsibility of collaborating with classroom teachers. It is clear that the TL can positively contribute to the learning of students both within and outside the school library. The inquiry learning processes studied show the need for information literacy to be embedded in the curriculum and be integrated into all classroom instruction, not be an add-on within the bounds of the school library.

All of my reflections on the role of the TL have culminated in this final thought. The TL needs to be articulate, personable and  energetic to ensure students benefit from integrated curriculum units which incorporate information literacy skills and assist students to develop lifelong higher order thinking skills. I just hope I’m up for the challenge!


Australian Library and Information Association & Australian School Library Association (2009). ALIA/ALSA Policy on Guided Inquiry and the Curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.alia.org.au/policies/guided.inquiry.html

Hartzell, G. N. (2002). What’s It Take. Paper submitted to the Washington White House Conference on School Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.laurabushfoundation.com/Hartzell.pdf

Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S.Ferguson (Ed.)Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies: Charles Sturt University.

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. Westport: Libraries Unlimited Inc.

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators.Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18.

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books right? A look at the roles of the school library media specialist. Library Media Connection 29(3), 30-33.

On first glance at the literature surrounding information literacy (IL) it would be fair to suggest that the term is solely concerned with the mastery of a particular skill set. Abilock (2004) refers to students finding, evaluating, exploring and questioning among other things and suggests that students accomplishing these skills to a high level results in IL. However, on closer inspection of the literature, it is clear that IL requires more than the mastery of skills if the student is to achieve lifelong learning and that all teaching staff share a role in the teaching of IL, it is not simply an add-on to be taught within the bounds of the school library.

Abilock (2004) defines IL as a transformational process during which students employ specific skills to make meaning of the information being considered and then convert that into different formats for specific purposes. Bundy (2004) identifies the information literate person to be defined by more than a certain skill set, but also by certain characteristics, beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, attributes, processes and aspirations.

Whilst the accepted definitions of IL vary significantly from author to author, the one premise that most authors agree on is that the desired outcome of IL is lifelong learning. Bundy (2004) considers IL as a prerequisite or an essential enabler to achieve lifelong learning and notes that to truly achieve IL requires sustained development throughout all levels of education. Whilst it would be fair to expect that the early teachings of IL are rooted in skill development, the ongoing inclusion of IL throughout the curriculum and throughout the levels of education leads to students developing the attitudes, characteristics, beliefs etc which define an information literate student. The continual inclusion of IL into all aspects of the curriculum throughout the levels of education appears to correlate with the notion that students become lifelong learners.

The role of the teacher librarian (TL) in developing information literate students is a collaborative one and the belief that IL is a set of skills that are taught within the bounds of the school library is a fallacy (Langford, 1998; Bundy, 2004). Bundy suggests that IL cannot be achieved through any one subject and must be included throughout the curricula to truly instil IL within students. This supports the notion that responsibility for the development of IL within students is a shared concern and that collaboration between the TL, the teaching staff and the principal is vital to the development of information literate students across the school. This notion of collaboration is reflected within the structured information models suggested to assist the development of IL.

What is clear from the research is that although no one accepted definition of IL exists, the premise that IL is merely a set of skills is false and the incorporation of IL across the entirety of the curricula in order to best prepare students for real life is necessary. Whilst many TL like to assume that what they are teaching within the bounds of the school library is being reflected across the school by the teaching staff, collaboration is the only way to ensure that this is actually occurring.

Abilock, D. (2004). Information literacy: An overview of design process and outcomes. Retrieved from: http:www.noodletools.com/Debbie/literacies/information/1over/infolit1.html

Bundy, A. (Ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand information literacy framework: Principles, standards and practice (2nd ed.) Retrieved from: http://www.caul.edu.au/content/upload/files/info-literacy/InfoLiteracyFramework.pdf

Langford, L. (1998). Information literacy: A clarification. Retrieved from: http://www.fno.org/sept98/clarify.html.

Assessment of information literacy and inquiry learning is complex and requires more than simple testing of knowledge by way of standardised testing. Whilst this may play a role in the assessment of these skills, it cannot clearly show whether students have developed skills and have the ability to apply these to their studies. Assessment needs to be varied and multiple to increase validity and should occur at different points of the process to allow for comparison (Kuhlthau, Kaspari & Maniotes, 2007; Mueller, 2005; Mueller, 2008).

Assessment in inquiry learning should be embedded into the process and shouldn’t simply be an add-on at the end of a particular topic or project (Kuhlthau et. al., 2007; Stripling, 2007). Ongoing assessment during the implementation of the inquiry process allows the teaching team to identify the strengths and areas for improvement of individual students and the group as a whole. This then allows for ongoing tweaking of the content being taught to ensure it is meeting the needs of the students involved and is informed by the ongoing assessment.

The teacher librarian’s role in assessment mirrors their role in the implementation of guided inquiry. That is collaboration is the key (Brown, 2008; Kuhlthau et. al., 2007). Each member of the instructional team is required to participate in the assessment of the students learning and therefore collaboration is highly important to ensure holistic and accurate assessments of student learning are undertaken. The teacher librarian is generally seen as the lead in teaching information literacy skills and it is therefore understandable to assume they will also take the lead in assessing these skills. However, it is important that all members of the instructional team are involved in the assessment process and that each member’s assessments are equally valued. The teacher librarian should ensure the ongoing collaboration between the team members to ensure the sharing of assessment information and to assist with pulling all of the information together.

There are many ways to assess students’ information literacy and inquiry learning skills. These include, rubrics, portfolios, observation, conferences, final products and tests. There is no one accepted way of assessing these skills and all references considered each agree that utilising multiple ways of assessing increases the validity of the assessment. Evaluation of the final product is arguably useful however it does not necessarily demonstrate the student’s learning journey and their growth in skills along the way (Kuhlthau et. al. 2007).

The teacher librarian’s role in assessment is pivotal to the implementation of a guided inquiry approach as they are seen as the expert in the teaching of information skills and just as they are looked upon to provide instruction to teachers in how to teach these skills, similarly they are looked upon to provide instruction to teachers in how to assess these skills. The assessment of inquiry learning is made all the more difficult by the number of different skills being learnt simultaneously and the absence of an accepted format to assess these skills.


Brown, C. A. (2008). Building rubrics: A step-by-step process. Library Media Connection, 26(4), 16-18.

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. Westport: Libraries Unlimited Inc.

Mueller, J. (2005). Authentic assessment in the classroom … and the library media centre. Library Media Connection, 23(7), 14-18.

Mueller, J. (2008). Assessing skill development. Library Media Connection, 27(3), 18-20.

Stripling, B. (2007). Assessing information fluency: Gathering evidence of student learning. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 23(8), 25-29.

Posted by: leish79 | March 24, 2013

Principal support of the teacher-librarian role

I have been absent from the school environment for several years, however my recollection of the support offered to the school librarian by the principal was indifferent at best. In many of the schools I worked at previously the principal showed little interest in the school library program with the teacher librarian rarely being replaced when ill and the teacher instead asked to assist students to “return and borrow” their books during their allotted library time in the teacher librarian’s absence. At no time during my employment was I encouraged to collaborate with the teacher librarian on curriculum planning. The closest I ever got was being given a list of resources within the library that I could access on a theme being taught. In those schools the teacher librarian did not initiate a collaborative approach to learning, however this is not surprising given the view of the principal.

As per the readings (Oberg, 2006; Hartzell, 2002), my own experience of the library during my schooling was simply a place students went to listen to stories and borrow a book. During high school the library was used as somewhere to do research, however there was no learning that took place within its walls. The librarian would find the books you desired without ever teaching you the skills to find and research things on your own. This changed somewhat in senior high school given the view of the librarian that if you were still at school you must want to learn. It was lucky for me that this shift occurred as without this I would have been highly unprepared for University life.

The subject material I have covered thus far in this subject has highlighted the important role the teacher librarian can play within a school. Of course this is dependent on the support provided by the principal and the willingness for the teaching staff to collaborate with the teacher librarian on curriculum planning. This would mean a move away from the traditional method of curriculum planning and seeking the input of the librarian for more than just a resource list which would support the subject/theme being taught. Haycock (2007, p. 28) points out that “when the school principal expects team planning between teachers and the teacher-librarian, team planning occurs more than when the principal does not expect such collaboration”.

Although it appears that collaboration is dependent on the support provided by the principal, I don’t believe that it necessarily has to occur in this manner. If a teacher-librarian can forge a productive and collaborative relationship with one or more teachers within the school and can demonstrate that this has improved outcomes for the students, the principal may then be persuaded to increase the collaboration occurring between the teachers and the teacher librarian within the school. Although this would result in slow change, it would begin the impetus for further collaboration to occur and improvement in students learning would likely be a result. This suggested strategy to initiate change is dependent only on one relationship which takes minimal effort. If the teacher librarian targets a recent graduate who is likely to have received education regarding the teacher librarian role and the benefits of collaboration for students it is likely to be positive and successful.

Another strategy that could be employed to influence the perception of the principal involves the promotion of the school library. Through events such as book week the teacher librarian can promote the benefits of the library and more importantly the benefits of collaboration between teachers and the teacher librarian. Although the collaboration would be minimal at these times, it does occur and the teacher librarian can show the principal the benefits this has for students by providing themed activities for each different areas of the curriculum.


Hartzell, G. N. (2002). What’s It Take. Paper submitted to the Washington White House Conference on School Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.laurabushfoundation.com/Hartzell.pdf

Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18.

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The Role of the Teacher Librarian

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