It’s interesting how views change and how misinformed students, staff and the community can be around the role of Teacher Librarians. I know I have been guilty on all counts of thinking “what can this person offer me?”” How our opinions change based on who we are dealing with and our experiences. Completely agree with Purcell’s roles of Leader, Information Specialist, Teacher, Instructional Partner and Program Administrator. One of the issues that I see in a busy school environment is that there are few staff without a permanent class – the T/L being one of them – and therefore this role can tend to be one that a huge variety of ëxtra” jobs are given to. The other issue binding to this is that I do not believe T/L’s have been valued for what they offer in these roles and that they have not been loud enough in selling their skills within their school community. A classic example for me at our site is Bookclub. The most academically qualified person on site can spend a whole day counting change from students and entering orders? Surely this role could be performed by a volunteer or teacher assistant? This is not always the fault of the school however, as quite a few T/L’s seem to hang onto the control of jobs like this when they need to start releasing them to others to free up their time to engage with teachers and students in a manner that enhances information literacy across a school.
After a very clear discussion of the T/L in the five roles Purcell sees, she goes on to make a statement I agree wholeheartedly with – that library media specialists (or T/L’s to me) need to do a better job of clearly articulating their roles in preparing students for the information and technology rich workplace of the future.
Purcell, M. (2010). “All Librarians Do Is Check Out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist.” Library Media Connection 29(3): 30-33.