Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Role of School Libraries

The role of the school library continues to focus on working with learners and teachers, selecting resources to support the curriculum, organising curriculum resources and facilitating access to these resources at school level. (Mitchell, 2011)
The Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young Australians writes "Resourcing a 21st century online Australian Curriculum requires curriculum resources that are fit for purpose, that purpose being supporting all young Australians to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens"(Mitchell, 2011).

The priorities of a school library include,
  • Knowing your community, ensuring your library has relevant resources to adequately serve your school community.  Teacher Librarians should work with leadership, teachers and students to create a collection of resources that synergise teaching and learning.  Providing to access to all teachers and learners and provide suitable resources to meet individual and group needs.
  • Using existing resources.  Provide opportunities for teachers to share their made resources where appropriate and to encourage the sharing of experience as one of the schools greatest resources.
  • Informing teachers and students about the availability of resources in the library.  All the resources in the world are no good unless teachers and students know where to find them.  Library resources should be catalogued appropriately and made easily accessible by patrons.  it is important that a school library's physical resources are as visible and as accessible as web-based resources.  
There is now so much information, and just as much misinformation, on the Internet that the major role of schools and school libraries is to teach students and teachers how to become discerning searchers and users of information.  Students need to be taught how to sort through the information available, understand it, process it and then decide whether it suits their needs or not.  
As teacher librarian's, Mitchell (2011) invites us to "get into the helicopter" for a birds eye view of the changes ahead for the Australian Curriculum and teacher librarians.  The curriculum is changing and resources will need to change with it.  Teacher Librarian's have the luxury of seeing both.

It is important for schools to recognise the need for Professional Development in the area of curriculum delivery.  As teacher librarians, it is our role to "model exemplary skills and lead colleagues in selecting, creating and evaluating resources, including ICT for application by teachers within or beyond the school. (ALIA, Standard 3.4)

It is not enough for school libraries just to have fantastic resources or be well resourced.  Teachers and students need to learn how to use the library and the information it holds.  Meta-information, or how we search for curriculum resources, how we find resources and why we select a particular resource needs to be at the forefront of professional learning for classroom teachers.  

Teacher librarians, teachers, students and the community need to get talking about what they are learning and what their learning needs are, where they find their information and what that information says.  
Now is the time to create interesting and inspiring conversations and opportunities to engage learnings with knowledge and interactivity.

ASLA. (2004). Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians.Retrieved July 31, 2012, from Australian School Library Association:

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