Over the past 18 months, I feel like there has been a paradigm shift in the way I think about the position of the Teacher Librarian (TL). At the outset, I saw the position as that of an inveterate book-lover that had somehow ‘lucked-in’ to the greatest job imaginable. Some blessed individual with little to do but share a love of reading with the students, put on funny voices during story-time and tape up the occasional ripped page. Through this assignment I have seen the real significance of the role that the TL can play.
For me it is the responsibility for providing users with resources that challenge them that brings home the importance of taking this role seriously. I had never read the School Library Bill of Rights (ASLA, 2012) before this task. That such a short list can entrust to one person, responsibilities as weighty as providing “a background of information which will enable pupils to make intelligent judgements in their daily life”. Being placed in a role where this is only ONE of your tasks is definitely intimidating. A scaffold like the collection management policy has helped me to see that providing this service is but one of the necessary and exciting facets of the position.
As a child of the 1980’s I have wondered at wave after wave of new information technology, so much has arrived that I can see some of my learning community struggling to stay afloat. Looking at articles like Johnson’s (2010) “Libraries for a Post-literate society” has helped me to see that, although the means has changed, the goal is still the same. Literacy, in whatever guise it appears, has always been and will always be our primary concern as TLs.
Being able to set long-term goals for my library has established a sense of ownership. With this assignment, I was able to write a policy that promotes the kind of collaborative environment proposed by Hughes-Hassell and Mancall, (2005, p. 9). Being able to put this into effect will help me to establish that ownership in the whole community. By including collaborating with staff, students and the wider community I can also help to fulfil the libraries purpose of representing perspectives of a huge variety of religious, ethnic and cultural groups and their contributions to our heritage (ASLA, 2012, para. 6).
The “Freedom To Read” statement (ALA, 2004), written in the traditional, blood-stirring style of the USA, is one of the most empowering pieces of doctrine I have read. Before this assignment, I had never read the phrase “No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.” That I am able to write a policy that carries on this ideal makes me genuinely proud. I am proud to one of those that push people to listen.
American Library Association. (1953). The freedom to read statement. Retrieved 22nd May, 2013,from http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/statementspols/ftrstatement/freedomreadstatement
Australian Library and Information Association. (2007). Statement on free access to information. Retrieved 22nd May, 2013, from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/school-library-resource-provision.aspx
Australian School Library Association. (2012). School library bill of rights. Retrieved 21st May, 2013, from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/bill-of-rights.aspx
Hughes-Hassell, S., & Mancall, J. C. (2005). Collection Management for Youth: Responding to the Needs of Learners. Chicago: American Library Association .
Johnson, D. (2010). Libraries for a post-literate society. SCIS Connections, 72, 1-2. Retrieved 24th May, 2013 from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/libraries_for_a_post-literate_society.html