Category Archives: ETL511

‘School Librarians’ and Libraries – Seeking Relevance & a Future?

As we are about to commence our first session of study for 2010, I thought I should get the ball rolling with some new posts. I look forward to sharing another year with my fellow blogger, Roy Crotty and our School of Information Studies students.

There’s been a lot of discussion among our US-based colleagues recently about AASL’s decision to use ‘school librarian’ as the official title for school library media specialists in all future correspondence, policy and advocacy activities of the association. This news was buzzing in January across a number of professional journals and websites, discussion lists and social networking sites – check out American Libraries magazine, School Library Journal’s Talkback, AASL’s blog, Cathy Nelson’s blog, Bookends blog, just to name a few, and clearly the debate continues.

It comes as no surprise that we struggle as a profession to come to consensus on this issue, whether here in Australia or in other countries, and the US is no exception. No matter what label an information specialist (my preferred generic label) adopts within a school, education system or state, the bottom line is that it is the daily practice and actions of the person holding this position that defines what the role is (and is not) to their school community!

A definite win for our US colleagues is this fabulous article published in Education Week yesterday which features a number of library media specialist movers & shakers. While David Loertscher’s ‘learning commons’ concept gets an airing, I was particularly struck by Joyce Valenza’s ‘take’ on libraries as “no longer [being] grocery stores where students can go to pick up ingredients, but kitchens, where they have the resources necessary to create a finished product.”

What are your thoughts on AASL’s decision to officially adopt the title ‘school librarian’ as the label for 21st century school library media specialists, and how might you use the ideas presented in the above article to inform the development of a vision for your school library and your role as a TL?

Remember: the future of our profession lies in the hands of those who currently practice.

All the best with your studies at CSU in 2010. 🙂

Life Matters interview – “Teacher librarians are a dying breed”

Well done to Mary Manning (Executive Officer, School Library Association of Victoria) for educating Radio National’s Life Matters community this morning about the contribution teacher librarians make to school libraries and student learning. With primary school libraries being targeted as part of the Rudd Government’s Building the Education Revolution, the message that teacher librarian positions have been substantially diminished across some states and territories is certainly a major concern for both the TL profession and the future of schooling in Australia.

With the $12.4 billion investment in libraries and multi-purpose facilities in primary schools, special schools and K-12 schools as part of the nation’s  ‘Primary Schools for the 21st Century’ program, it is timely to ask state and territory governments how they are going to ‘match’ this investment in school libraries, by ‘installing’ qualified teacher librarians into these facilities to help schools transform ‘bricks & mortar’ into a fully functional, dynamic and dynamic learning laboratory that supports the demands placed on students as information and ICT users, both at school and when they are working independently from home.

There has recently been some discussion on the future of school libraries in Australia on the School Libraries 21C blog hosted by the School Libraries and Information Literacy Unit, NSW Department of Education and Training. Discussion has been extended to July 30, so please consider adding your vision for the future of school libraries in Australia as well as your stories about the contributions teacher librarians make in preparing Australia’s young people as engaged and informed digital citizens. Also check out this recent Scan article ‘ School libraries building capacity for student learning in 21C’ which has been published to support this discussion.