This TEDx talk sums up what people need to know; a library is more than just a collection of books. It is the distribution of ideas and information that is important, not the medium (Bennett, 2014). In the beginning, when I told people that I had decided to study to become a teacher-librarian, they were surprised to find out I would have to take 10 courses to receive my Diploma. As I admitted in my first blog post, that was my reaction too. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know. A teacher-librarian does much more than build and maintain a collection of resources, and on this journey I have learned that it is important for a teacher-librarian to:
- be a leader in the school community
- advocate for the library program
- create a space, both physical and virtual, that meets the needs of all its users
- teach a wide range of literacies including information literacy, digital literacy, visual literacy, literacies across the content areas as well as reading and writing strategies
- facilitate collaboration among the staff to provide more learning opportunities that will ensure student success
A library website can encompass all these ideals. So, in reflecting on the creation of my final vision, I can’t help but reflect on the entire process of working toward my Diploma, as so much of what I put into my website I learned from other courses. This course has allowed me to create a platform using digital technology to share that learning, as well as create something I can use professionally. Even though I have made a “fake” website, I did visualize a real school when creating it; the one where I realized I had found my niche, and that started me on this new journey. So, depending on what school I end up at, some information contained in my website will have to change, but much of what I have created I will be able to use anywhere.
The challenges I faced were frustrating, but overcome as I took advantage of the expertise available online. Of course my website will continue to be a work in progress. Most pages are incomplete, but they do provide an idea of what I want to accomplish. By providing professional development opportunities on the Teacher page for my staff, I can help develop my role as leader within the school community. Using my website to showcase resources and services that are essential to the success of students will help me advocate for my library program. By creating a blog that highlights school community events, as well as pages for students, teachers and parents, I can ensure that my library can meet the needs of all its users. By providing lessons for both students (Research Tools page) and teachers (Teacher page), I can help improve multi-literacy competency for all learners. Having a space for teachers on the Teacher page to highlight their library projects will help me facilitate collaboration.
Though it is a difficult time for teacher-librarians, it is also an exciting one as we reinvent ourselves for the digital generation. Though our core values remain the same, and I am certainly not ready to give up books just yet, digital technology allows us to engage learners outside the physical space of the library. It lets us share our ideas, knowledge, creativity and imagination with those outside our local community as well as receive others’ ideas and knowledge for use by us; helping us to create life-long learners within ourselves, our colleagues and our students. So though I don’t think there is anything that will replace the joy I feel of turning the pages of a good book, I am ready to embrace this new medium as an added dimension to my role as teacher-librarian.
Bennett, C. (2014). The library is not a collection of books: Charlie Bennett at TEDx Telfair street. Retrieved at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFGCB51xb6U
Bradley, P. (2014). Flickr. Pinned by Ashley Louden at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/155233518380680576/