Module 2

Teacher Librarians as Program Administrators

School Libraries are an integral part of the educational system. Transforming libraries into learning commons is an integral part of our job role. In this section we had the opportunity to:

  • understand that it takes a collaborative team to develop a positive library environment
  • learn that library decision-making is often decided by following set guidelines and policies
  • develop a better understanding of the selection, acquisition, and processing of resources

Creating a Welcoming Space

The learning commons is a place to create, be imaginative and have fun. Its a safe learning environment where we work together to inspire kids to read, write, and explore their education and minds! As a TL we can use our creativity to make our learning commons a fun place to be. This assignment gave us an opportunity to display some inexpensive ideas we could use to make the library a welcoming space.

Library Technicians, Library Clerks, Parent Volunteers, Students Assistants, Oh My!

Our role as TL’s can me misunderstood. I have heard and even myself have believed the position to be very laid back and easy. It wasn’t until I was in the role myself that I realized how complex and demanding the position is. The learning commons is a dynamic space that takes a team to make it an effective and efficient working space in our schools. This part of our module gave us the opportunity to explore the guidelines our districts have in place for supports.

SD #62 Library Support Staff
Roles and Responsibilities:


Library Assistant:
In our district one of the desired qualifications is the completion of a Library
Technician Course and experience in the field. The following are a list of the performance
responsibilities:
The first and most important role is helping students and being the first point of contact if the
TL is busy. The LA needs to be able to help students navigate the Learning Commons in finding
the desired or appropriate resources. Be able to check out books, monitor resources, keep track
of overdue lists and follow up with students and parents when books are overdue. Help order
books and then process them including all input and labeling. Be capable of trouble shooting
computer application problems including resetting passwords. In charge of repairing any
damaged books and materials, re-shelving all resources and maintaining shelving. Once a year
the LA is also required to assist in tracking inventory and helping with weeding if necessary. In
our particular school the Library Assistant is also required to do Lunch Duty.

Parent Volunteers: There are no designated roles for the parent volunteers. Due to Covid-19
there are no parent volunteers allowed at any of the libraries in our district. However, if
required they can be utilized with approval from administration. As for their roles, that is left to
the TL to decide.


Student Volunteers: Due to Covid-19 student volunteers are not allowed unless they are being
chosen from weekly list of cohorts spending time in the Learning Commons during the lunch
hour (each week we have a two cohorts spending their lunch hours in the Learning Commons).
Again in this instance it is up to the Teacher Librarian to come up with roles and responsibilities
for the volunteers.

Censorship in the Library and Intellectual Freedom

During this module we were given the opportunity to celebrate the Freedom to Read week and explore what it is all about. We were directed to the website freedomtoread.ca where we given a chance to explore and join in the discussions and experiences of others with censorship. This module gave us the opportunity to share what we learned and also come up with questions we might want to keep in mind as we continue our journey towards being effective Teacher Librarians.

Freedom to Read Website Summary

  1. Loved this statement: To walk into a public space—to freely attend a program, use a computer, use the study and lounge space, borrow a book or conduct research on any topic with the support of professional staff—is one of the most significant acts of intellectual freedom imaginable. This is so true…as knowledge is the one aspect of our lives, we should be free to devour. It is the one thing that cannot be taken from us unless it is through censorship.
  2. It was enlightening to realize the effect colonial violence of the written and spoken word has had on our Indigenous communities. Boan and Johns, in their interviews both share their shame and struggle with trying to learn their hereditary languages while sharing how it has stripped away the identity of generations.
  3. Freedom to Read has been around for over 35 years and has an annual event that has been held in February or early March. I plan to explore the event a little more to see how I can incorporate it the event and activities in the Learning Commons.
  4. The economic and literacy divide in Canada continues to grow. This is evident in the fact 13% of Canadians do not have access to internet at home and 12% of Canadians do not have access to a mobile. This statistic holds true even after the CRTC deemed high speed broadband internet access a basic service. More needs to be done by our government, corporations and communities to ensure everybody has a fair access to the information highway.
  5. It was interesting to see the different titles that have been banned or asked to be banned based on the content. Or on what people perceive to be offensive. It was interesting to see Persepolis on the list as it was removed from a literature kit in our school this year due to a graphic rape scene. There was a discussion on whether it should be kept, as long as teachers preface the text and let students know what they are reading. For now, it has been removed.

Questions

  1. During normal times, not covid times, what were schools/teachers doing to ensure all their students had access to the internet?
  2. How can we play a part in revitalizing languages and freedoms for our indigenous peoples? What can we as TL’s do to ensure we strengthen our understanding of the past from all perspectives? And What can we do to ensure our collections are representative of all our peoples.

Ordering Resources

A big part of the learning commons is our resources! This section allowed us an opportunity to learn how to build our library collection. As librarians we will get a feel for the beat of our school and be able to purchase many titles that could be relevant to curriculum, our teachers needs, and what trending. However the best resource we have for purchasing literature is the students themselves. This section we were given a chance to create a student friendly wish list.

References

Kirkland, A. B. (2015). Aspirations and opportunities. Canadian Children’s Book News, 38(3), 4-5.

Riedling, A. M., Shake, L., & Houston, C. (2013). Reference skills for the school librarian: Tools and tips.

Toor, R., & Weisburg, H. K. (2015). New on the job: A school librarian’s guide to success.