Monday, August 17, 2009

As I come to the end of what I call my second round of library school, I have been reflecting on how the perceived roll of the librarian is different in the school as compared to all other types of libraries. I use the word perceived because I don’t see the role of the librarian as being different.

It seems that classroom teachers that move into a school library keep that teacher hat on and look at this new position in that same way. Don’t get me wrong, teachers make great librarians. However, in the library I think the librarian hat should be worn with all the teacher experience there to hold it up.

What really made me come to this conclusion were the class presentations. In many of them it was hard for me to see where the library fit into everything. I know what needs to be worked on for library assessment, differentiation in instruction, and reading strategies. In the school library, especially in the higher grades, it is a very difficult task to address all of these concerns for each class without strong collaboration with classroom teachers. As we move forward in our careers we will need to focus on developing methods in the library for meeting all of these challenges. I look forward to reading all of your published works in School Library Journal!

I do believe most of you are pursuing the Masters Degree. That makes you a librarian. It is okay to be a librarian in a school. Sell it. What we have to offer is on such a higher level that it requires a Masters Degree just to have the title. Sell it. Do the profession a favor and strut your stuff as a librarian.

And remember, that all librarians are teachers; not just school librarians. We may not always have a class in front of us, but we teach every single day from preschool to the elderly. I could not imagine being anything else.


  1. Thanks for your comments, Teresa.
    It is certainly a balance, one which makes our jobs challenging and rewarding, to wear both the librarian and teacher hats (and all the other hats we are asked to wear during the course of our work). You're right that all good librarians also take on the roles of a teacher as well.

    I recently had a conversation with another librarian that was about the role of school librarians within the Illinois Library Association and how so many school folks (me included) didn't think of that as an association with which to have a relationship. I agree that sometimes the school folks have to do a better job of embracing our librarian side and our solidarity with other librarians. I know it was an invaluable experience for me to work as an academic librarian, and I've heard the same thing from school library folks who also work at public libraries.

    The daily work lives of school librarians at the different levels of education can be vastly different. But at heart, we are all doing the same things.

    We do have to continue to educate our co-workers in schools about the special qualifications to be in our roles as both holders of the MLIS and certified teachers. There is a certain amount of school cred that goes along with your colleagues knowing that you are one of them, especially when we are working so diligently to develop the levels of collaboration that we know will bring kids into our library and help them develop the information skills we know are so critical.

  2. I enjoyed reading your post. Your point of view makes lots of sense too. It's too often that librarians work hard to become equipped and then fail to use the tools that they have in their tool kits. Well, I agree that we should be famous just as medical, legal, and authors are famous. Thank you for sharing.