Monthly Archives: March 2012

What do TL’s teach?


 I love this poster by Joyce Valenza.  It really captures and affirms the role of teacher librarian as information literacy leader/specialist/teacher. The poster however, reminds me that teaching information literacy, although important, fits only some of the role statements (SLASA, 2003) or Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians (ASLA, 2004) in relation to teaching and learning. Where does teaching literacy and literature promotion fit into “what do TL’s teach”? According to ASLA’s standards, excellent teacher librarians should also “foster an environment where learners are encouraged and empowered to read, view, listen and respond for understanding andenjoyment“. SLASA’s Role Statement clearly outlines that Literature promotion is also a key role of the teacher librarian. Exposing students to a range of genres, fostering a love of reading for leisure, promoting quality literature and collaborating with teacher’s to develop literature based reading programs is also an important role of the TL.

Australian School Library Association. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from

School Library Association of South Australia. (2008). Teacher librarian role statement. Retrieved from

“All librarians do is check out books, right?” (Purcell,2010)


After spending (what seems like days) reading about the many, multifaceted roles of the Teacher Librarian, I can only agree with the statement that effective implementation of the TL role (or any one aspect of the role) cannot be  performed without the support of others and that “Differing perceptions between librarians, principals, and teachers about the role of the school library media specialist can be a significant barrier to implementing change” (Purcell, 2010).

How is it possible to perform any number of the following roles : teacher leader, technologist, collaborator (Lamb & Johnson, 2008); leader, information specialist, teacher, program administrator, instructional partner (Purcell, 2010); librarian, teacher, information services manager, information literacy leader, curriculum leader, information specialist, instructional partner, website developer, budget manager, staff manager (Herring, 2007) if you: are only employed part time, are not a qualified TL, have no administrative support, have no regular PD, have little RFF, are not included in curriculum development/planning, not available to attend staff meetings or are given a limited budget? From my own experience and from reading many of the forum comments, I can only surmise that the aforementioned “barriers”  are a result of principals, school board members, heads of learning, parents and teachers not knowing or understanding the multifaceted role of the teacher librarian.

It has become startlingly apparent that advocacy, leadership and evidence based practice are key to getting the message out there.

Feeling quite overwhelmed and pondering the long road ahead.

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries
in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga
Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2004-2010). The school library media specialist. In Library media program: accountability. Retrieved from

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books right? A look at the roles of the school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33.