Joyce Valenza has chosen the ‘poster approach’ to let the school community and beyond know what a Teacher-Librarian teaches. Research, evaluation, learning, creativity, reading are all happening in the library. I am imagining that there are numerous classroom teachers out there, including myself, who would be surprised at the number of areas of learning and knowledge that are included on the poster. My questions for our school librarian are, "When can we get together?" and "Can you extend our library time or slot us in for an extra lesson?"
This poster has sent me into somewhat of a flat spin over how I can use our library more effectively. I wonder whether there are schools across the country that are unaware of the potential for learning greatness that is just a few steps away in the library.
Herring (2007) writes "the library and the teacher librarian are an integral part of the learning and teaching community". The library should be seen as a hub of learning, information, creativity and activity. The teacher-librarian is in the unique position of being able to encourage teachers to develop learning experiences that challenge students' learning and encourage students to use their information skills to develop life long learning strategies. Herring also suggests that the "library should be seen firstly as a centre for learning and secondly as a centre for resources"(Herring, 2007. p.28).
Promoting the library and what can be found there should not be a solo mission for the Teacher-Librarian. The library should be embraced as a vital part of the school learning community. Libraries are not places solely for silent reading or finding that perfect fiction escape, but a gateway to the world and beyond using effective research and enquiry skills and knowledge of information evaluation. School leaders, teachers, students and parents need to promote the use of the library and the resources found there.
If the key role of the library is as a centre for learning, Herring (2007, p.32) suggests the key role of the teacher librarian is to develop information literate students. It makes good sense to teach students how to use the resources in the library. It makes more sense for students to be able to use their skills within the context of a planned learning experience, collaboratively developed by the teacher-librarian and the classroom teacher.
It is only the beginning of the subject and I have already developed a greater appreciation of our own teacher-librarian, but my reading has raised some questions for me that I will be going into the library to find the answers for.