Throughout the course of study in ETL401 my perception of the role of the teacher librarian has changed markedly and yet the importance of the teacher librarian’s role in information literacy remains as clear.
My initial reflections concerned new uses for technology, excited by the prospect of blogging as a new form of communication (Barden, July 12). When studying Topic 2: The role of the teacher librarian, I became aware of how much libraries and librarians are in danger of becoming obsolete because of the changed nature of information (Barden, July 12, July 20). This helped me to understand how important advocacy for a strong school library media program is. The role of advocate resonated with me after reading Purcell’s article (Purcell, 2010). Yet, it was Valenza’s passionate manifesto (2012) of positive and influential ideas that inspired me to learn more and get involved (Barden, July 27a). I set up a social bookmarking account and began to view myself more seriously as part of the library profession, engaging in dialogue about the new direction of libraries.
The one factor I could see as having the most influence is the principal so I examined their role of support in blog task 1 (Barden, 2012). I became aware of the huge task in front of school librarians in having an effective library in the twenty-first century. After reading Haycock (2007) and Oberg (2006) I realised how effective librarians can be. When researching the role of the principal I came across a progressive primary school in this state innovative approach to their school library at Broulee PS (Barden, 2012a). I understood how collaborating with all stakeholders generates support in many ways, and how having a shared vision for the library is vital.
My curiosity about school libraries caused me to take action so I organized to relieve in a large school library for three weeks to gain some more practical experience to consolidate this new knowledge and gauge what was really happening. With a clearer view of the role and new practical knowledge about technology I sought out some opportunities to work with colleagues for greater understanding.
I reached a point of understanding during the experience in the library. By attending staff meetings I made sure to engage with different staff groups before school and at lunch times to ascertain their needs. I engaged in collaboration with stage three staff looking for resources, suggesting evaluated websites, safe search engines. I began to see my role as a librarian encompassing technology and this exchange gave me insight as to how I need to be able to scaffold information searching techniques (Barden, 2012 b). I could see the value of running professional development sessions to show teachers simple ways to access information as suggested by Herring (Herring, 2011). When reflecting on these in the forums (ref, date) I shared this positive step. I learned quickly that actively seeking people to collaborate with was much more useful than spending management time in the library without staff contact.
Looking at constructivist learning and the Australian curriculum changed my idea of the quiet library and I began to view the library as a place to build knowledge (Barden, 2012). I looked at the library through the eyes of the student based on the Y-chart principle of ‘looks like’, ‘feels like’ and ‘sounds like’ to start to create a picture of how the library would function.
The concept of information literacy was confusing to grasp although I could see that it was more than just a set of skills. I reflected in Blog task 3 that the environment for deeper understanding is inquiry based learning (Barden, 2012). A turning point occurred when I began to understand guided inquiry after reading Kuhlthau’s ISP (Kuhlthau & Maniotes, 2012) and Todd’s paper (Todd, 2006). Further discussion on the forum about the value of PBL made inquiry based learning a little clearer (Barden, October 2). Understanding the affective (feelings) aspect of the Information Skills Process gave me an insight of what teacher librarians are meant to do. I was left with the question of how this can be implemented and the implications of collaboration became more dramatic.
The one aspect of my understanding of the role of the teacher librarian which hasn’t changed throughout the course is the impact of the teacher librarian on improving literacy outcomes for students. As a teacher I want to make a difference and give students opportunities to gain literacy skills and reach their potential to participate in society successfully. If anything, my view of the role of the teacher librarian as an integral part of students’ literacy learning has been cemented through the examples and literature supporting library programs worldwide. I have learned that information, the way we find, access and manipulate it has changed, but the fundamental role of libraries, to access and make sense of it is still integral to the literacy success of our future generations.
Barden, L. (2012, July 29). The role of the teacher librarian with regard to principal support [Blog post]. Retrieved from
Barden, L. (2012, September 9). The role of the teacher librarian with regard to constructivist learning and the Australian Curriculum [Blog post]. Retrieved from
Barden, L. (2012, September 24). Information literacy, more than just skills [Blog post]. Retrieved from
Barden, L. (2012, August 6). Influencing Curriculum Development [Blog post]. Retrieved from
Barden, L. (2012, July 20). Sherpas and good reading [Blog post]. Retrieved from
Barden, L. (2012, July 12). Jane Eyre and Apps [Blog post]. Retrieved from
Barden, L. (2012, July 27). Reflections on Herring, Purcell, Lamb and Valenza [online forum comment]. Retrieved October 2, 2012 from
Barden, L. (2012, September 7). Re: Management implications and Conclusion [online forum comment]. Retrieved October 4, 2012 from
Barden, L. (2012, July 27). Re: Principal support and good communication [online forum comment]. Retrieved October 4, 2012 from
Barden, L. (2012, July 27). Buns and glasses [online forum comment]. Retrieved October 2, 2012 from
Barden, L. (2012, October 2). Re: Difficult time swallowing IBL and PBL [online forum comment]. Retrieved October 4, 2012 from
Barden, L. (2012, July 26). Runaway train [online forum comment]. Retrieved October 5, 2012 from
Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide. 13(1), pp 25-35.
Kuhlthau, C. C., & Maniotes, L. K. (2012). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st-Century Learners. School Library Monthly, XXVI(Number 5), 18 – 21.
Oberg, D. (2006), Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3).
Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians Do Is Check Out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist. [Article]. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33.
Todd, R. (2006). From information to knowledge: charting and measuring changes in students’ knowledge of a curriculum topic. [Article]. Information Research, 11(4), 6-6.
Valenza, J. (2010). Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians, Retrieved from