Monday, 24 March 2014

Teacher Librarian Versus The Teacher

The teacher librarian's expertise and role is different from that required by all teachers.  For the teacher librarian to effectively resource the library, they need to have a working knowledge across all areas and levels of the curriculum and needs to be fully abreast of teaching programs throughout their particular area of their school.  A teacher librarian requires the knowledge of resources available and how to search for and source further suitable resources.

A classroom teacher is required to look after the learning program for their particular class and/or year level.  Admittedly a classroom teacher  has a greater emotional investment and commitment to class administration in their class's learning curriculum, but the knowledge required to effectively implement their classroom learning program stops with their class.

The teacher librarian is responsible for making digital, print and online resources available to teachers and students and provide knowledge of where they can be found.
Teacher librarians become involved in class planning by attending year level meetings, providing resources to complement the classroom teacher's lessons and through knowledge of the curriculum.
The teacher librarian needs to have ears and eyes to the ground, watching what students are reading and listening to what they are talking about.

Through interaction with each of the classes, the teacher librarian is in the unique position of being able to see teacher-made resources being used in individual classes.  Teacher-made resources are a valued addition to classroom learning.

It is the responsibility of the teacher librarian to encourage conversations about learning and information.  To engage students, the teacher librarian needs to ask them what they are reading, what they are doing on the weekends, what television shows are they watching and which websites are they using.  The library should be the hub of pop-culture, information and meta-information, where students go to find out.

The popularity and success of the library depends on the expertise of the teacher librarian.  The teacher librarian is a highly skilled information specialist with skills in research, marketing, business, and resource collection and management.
The library is the place to find out.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Role of School Libraries

The role of the school library continues to focus on working with learners and teachers, selecting resources to support the curriculum, organising curriculum resources and facilitating access to these resources at school level. (Mitchell, 2011)
The Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young Australians writes "Resourcing a 21st century online Australian Curriculum requires curriculum resources that are fit for purpose, that purpose being supporting all young Australians to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens"(Mitchell, 2011).

The priorities of a school library include,
  • Knowing your community, ensuring your library has relevant resources to adequately serve your school community.  Teacher Librarians should work with leadership, teachers and students to create a collection of resources that synergise teaching and learning.  Providing to access to all teachers and learners and provide suitable resources to meet individual and group needs.
  • Using existing resources.  Provide opportunities for teachers to share their made resources where appropriate and to encourage the sharing of experience as one of the schools greatest resources.
  • Informing teachers and students about the availability of resources in the library.  All the resources in the world are no good unless teachers and students know where to find them.  Library resources should be catalogued appropriately and made easily accessible by patrons.  it is important that a school library's physical resources are as visible and as accessible as web-based resources.  
There is now so much information, and just as much misinformation, on the Internet that the major role of schools and school libraries is to teach students and teachers how to become discerning searchers and users of information.  Students need to be taught how to sort through the information available, understand it, process it and then decide whether it suits their needs or not.  
As teacher librarian's, Mitchell (2011) invites us to "get into the helicopter" for a birds eye view of the changes ahead for the Australian Curriculum and teacher librarians.  The curriculum is changing and resources will need to change with it.  Teacher Librarian's have the luxury of seeing both.

It is important for schools to recognise the need for Professional Development in the area of curriculum delivery.  As teacher librarians, it is our role to "model exemplary skills and lead colleagues in selecting, creating and evaluating resources, including ICT for application by teachers within or beyond the school. (ALIA, Standard 3.4)

It is not enough for school libraries just to have fantastic resources or be well resourced.  Teachers and students need to learn how to use the library and the information it holds.  Meta-information, or how we search for curriculum resources, how we find resources and why we select a particular resource needs to be at the forefront of professional learning for classroom teachers.  

Teacher librarians, teachers, students and the community need to get talking about what they are learning and what their learning needs are, where they find their information and what that information says.  
Now is the time to create interesting and inspiring conversations and opportunities to engage learnings with knowledge and interactivity.

ASLA. (2004). Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians.Retrieved July 31, 2012, from Australian School Library Association:

Patron Driven Acquisition of Resources

Patron-Driven Acquisition and the Educational Mission of the Academic Library.

Patron-driven acquisition (PDA) of resources is also known as “demand-driven acquisitions” or “patron initiated purchasing”.
PDA programs allow patrons to select and purchase books for the library without the permission of the librarian. PDA doesn’t always improve the library collection, but it does satisfy the immediate needs of students and faculty.
PDA program can be linked to Inter-Library Loans (ILL), which are often print based resources, or can be initiated in direct response to selection by patrons. Either way, the PDA program needs to have clearly defined parameters for purchase, to meet the information needs of patrons and to prevent over-purchasing of resources. (Walters, 2012)
Patron-driven acquisition is not suitable for all library situations.  PDA is probably not suitable to a school library environment for students to purchase resources, however, with clearly defined parameters, as mentioned by Walters (2012), teachers could be given the opportunity to purchase for the library, especially resources that they continually use in their classroom and could be of benefit to other teachers if they had the same resource.

Walters, W. H. (2012). Patron-Driven Acquisition and the Educational Mission of the Academic Library. Library Resources and Technical Services , 56 (3), 199-213.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Libraries for a post-literate society.

As I read Johnson’s (2010) article, I felt a tightening in my chest and an air of grief hung over my study.  There before my eyes were the words I didn’t ever want to see in print.
“Any number of recent studies are concluding that reading is declining, primarily the reading of novels and longer works of non-fiction” (Johnson, 2010). 
I would like to know, where were these recent studies conducted?  Did they include the students of my school?  Did they include my own children?  Did they include my book club ladies?
Are the 2000’s the formative years of a post-literate society?
There is some truth to it.  People are communic8ing thru brf msg’s and are meeting their primary information needs through audio, video, graphics and gaming (Johnson, 2010).
I was disappointed with the Wikipedia definition of a post-literate society.  I know it’s Wikipedia, but I still thought it was reckless.  Wikipedia defines a post literate society as one “wherein multimedia technology has advanced to the point where literacy, the ability to read written words, is no longer necessary” (Johnson, 2010).  Johnson modifies the definition by adding that for those who can read choose to meet their needs through audio, video, graphics and gaming. 
Is this true?  Is teaching a child to read a waste of time?  Will reading become like skiing?  Will kids only learn to read because their families are into it?  Will kids only learn to read because they want to know what’s in all the books on their grandparent’s shelves?  Will kids only want to read because they’ve charged up their Grandparents Kindle from 2014?
It is important that libraries move with the times.  It is important for libraries to fulfill the information needs of people.  It is important for students to step on to the information super highway and explore and use their knowledge. 
I feel sorry for anyone who is not into reading.  I feel sorry that they haven’t visited Narnia via their own imagination, crossed the bridge into Terabithia without a Disney ticket or jumped on the Hogwarts Express.  So many journeys and experiences can be found on the pages of a book.
Of greater concern is the inability of teenagers to think for themselves. 
Many children, teens and adults take the short cut and let other people do the imagining and the thinking for them. 
Pick up a book I say!  Give reading a go!
When I feel that my “teacher feelings” have been hurt, I always think back to Dr Seuss….
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” Dr Seuss
“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr Seuss.

Johnson, D. (2010). Libraries for a post-literate society. Connections (72), 1-2.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

What to Watch for...!!

Despite the mentionable shift in sales of printed and e-books, the fact is that people will still buy books.  They may not always buy them from a bookstore.  The online market place and e-books have made a significant dent in the shelves of many bookstores.
Immersive books in e-reader form will continue to grow and impact shelf space, and rightly so.  E-books have proven to be cheaper and far more economical to store in the home.  However, the market for non-immersive books is still alive.  There is yet to be the development of the perfect e-reader for text-books and non-fictions texts.

Penguin and Random House have merged.  Amazon has acquired “GoodReads”.  The merger of harper Collins and Simon and Schuster is still on the cards.  Hachette still stands alone.
Publishers are now playing a global market.  Penguin was the largest publisher, making between $2 billion and $3 billion annually.  That is the equivalent of 2-3 weeks income at Amazon.  It seems sensible and unavoidable for Penguin and Random House to merge.
“As the way people consume media change, book publishers are realizing they are content creation and rights management companies and not just book publishers” (Greenfield, 2014)

My purist literacy views cannot fathom the advent of the children’s picture book e-reader.  That is called television at my place.  There are more benefits to be had from reading a printed picture book than from an e-reader…..turning the page, left to right reading, the double page spread, the books passed down from brothers to sisters and vice versa….long live the page turner!!!  The bedtime story is one platform that in my belief should remain unchallenged and unchanged.  He who dares to has never shared a bedtime snuggle with a favourite story as a child or with a child.

Works Cited

Greenfield, J. (2014, January 22). Get Ready For More Mergers and Acquisitions in Book Publishing. Retrieved March 2, 2014, from

Shatzkin, M. (2013). What to watch for in 2013. In The Shatzkin Files. Retrieved from