As I entered the very new world of blogging on 10 March this year I certainly did come into this field with some preconceived ideas. My experiences of the Teacher Librarian from childhood were extremely positive in the primary setting with memories of a lovely lady with a big room full of books. Moving into high school our teacher librarian was not so affectionately known as “Cranky Franky” which is supported by the fact that I guiltily am in possession of two books which may have been on the missing list at my old high school for 28years based on the belief that it was much more pleasant to “borrow” them without checking them out rather that approach the then teacher librarian for a loan! The internal dilemma on returning these now is complicated by the fact her pseudonym is now “Conan the Librarian” so I’m not really sure of the reception I might receive…
ETL401 has provided me with a wealth of reading and “ahh ha” moments as I ponder, reflect and find myself off on many different tangents discovering new things and exciting elements to the role of the teacher librarian being undertaken by my peers in other schools and educational facilities. I captured some of these thoughts in my blog post Learning as I go. At the start of this journey I thought at some point the answer would appear and I would have a definition or a role statement that I could basically put on the wall and work towards. I am yet to discover that definitive statement that describes the role of a teacher librarian. A significant reading early on for me was that of Purcell (2010). My reflection on her reading were captured in a blog post where I found myself completely agreeing with the five roles described by Purcell but at the same time torn by the variations I have experienced of the expectations on teacher librarians to perform a multitude of other “jobs” as the school sees fit. The concluding statement of this reading which I also fully support promoted the teacher librarian more clearly articulating their role within their school or site with a focus on students.
Throughout the semester whilst I have not been the most avid “blogger” or “forum poster” I am sure I could qualify in the “stalker” stakes for the amount of time I have spent reading posts, catching up on blogs and enjoying the debate going on within some areas of the subject. I am a firm advocate for collaborative processes in schools and have posted views in blogs on Collaboration and Developing Respect. There have been moments of doubt on the path I have chosen and it has been reassuring to read these sentiments shared within the forums and to find support from research such as Herring (2007) acknowledging that no teacher librarian can undertaken all the roles that are possible – the key is to stay current and embrace collaborative processes. This I can achieve.
Valenza (2010) provided one of my most memorable quotes of the subject with “you understand that the library is not just a place to get stuff, it is a place to make stuff, collaborate on and share stuff.” One of the huge advantages I have in working through this subject is I am physically living it at the same time. This semester I was appointed to 0.5 teacher librarian and am in the process of defining my role. As stated earlier, I really did think I could find a definition, put it on the wall and be done with it. I am absolutely thriving on the opportunity to create a role and work with teachers to develop plans for student learning. I am fortunate to work in the Head of Curriculum role as well which gives me a set leadership role in shaping curriculum which is aligning superbly with the teacher librarian role. I am reassured by the work of Purcell (2010) as I have found myself continually updating my personal learning throughout my life and am finding much of my current inspiration for developing my skills in the teacher librarian role from Siess (2003) and her work with practical strategies to connect with teachers, parents and community. My focus for this is on marketing and celebrating what we do and how we constantly add value to educational outcomes – not only through the actual tasks that we perform and skills that we possess/develop – but through making sure everyone knows about it!