Archive | April, 2013

ETL 401 Blog Task Two

29 Apr

The traditional role of the Teacher Librarian has, for a long time, been associated with a misconceived stereotype that does not reflect the current role. These misconceived ideas do not portray a true reflection of the importance of the Teacher Librarian within the school community. As Hartzell (2002) suggests, societal and media images of librarians of the past, have contributed to this negative perception of the Teacher Librarian.

The teaching profession does not have a clear understanding of the role of the Teacher Librarian and this hinders the efforts of the Teacher Librarian to effectively and efficiently contribute to the school community to optimise teaching and learning. Pertinent to redefining and clarifying the role of the Teacher Librarian within the school environment is the support of the Principal. Dianne Oberg quotes Winifred B. Linderman who stated ‘The principal’s support of the library as a vital part of the educational system is extremely important’. This statement was written in 1944, however its relevance still rings true in today’s school environment.

The Principal as a leader and role model needs to positively promote the library and the role of the Teacher Librarian. By encouraging teachers and the Teacher Librarian to work collaboratively, the role of the Teacher Librarian gains a respected understanding by colleagues. When Principals do not support the library, the nature of the Teacher Librarians role of empowering others, affects the Teacher Librarian’s visibility in determining their contributions to the school community (Oberg, 2006 and Hartzell 2002). The Teacher Librarian’s contribution to the teaching and learning outcomes are often absorbed by the classroom teacher’s success. Another factor that contributes to the invisibility is the ‘physical isolation in the library and by scheduling’ (Oberg, D. 2006, p14). The Principal needs to be committed to promoting a clear understanding of the Teacher Librarian’s role and actively encouraging and allowing time friendly schedules which enable the ability to collaborate with staff members.

Often the Teacher Librarian is seen as a service provider responding to student and teacher requests rather than a proactive leader and educator. Oberg (2006), states that Principals have four key roles in supporting the Teacher Librarian and the school library. The key roles are:
1. ‘That as a supervisor working directly with teachers.
2. That as a model demonstrating personal commitment.
3. That as a manager enabling the program and
4. That as a mentor providing visibility and importance.’ (Oberg, 2006, p14)
The support of the Principal is essential in promoting a positive view of the Teacher Librarian’s role within the school community. However, in saying so, it is also of great importance for the Teacher Librarian to be a proactive leader and positively self promote contributions to the school community in order to make the role visible.

References

Hartzell, G. (2002). What’s it Take. Washington White House Conference on School Libraries. Retrieved 08 April 2013 from http://www.laurabushfoundation.com/Hartzell.pdf

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the Respect and Support of School Administrators. Teacher Librarian; Feb 2006; 33, 3, pp 13-18. Retrieved 09 April 2013 from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/224879111/fulltextPDF