In my first post I mentioned how I felt the role of the teacher-librarian had become a little undervalued. It got me thinking why I felt that and possible reasons for it.
As any teacher knows, school budgets can (and often are) tight. I have seen first hand that in cutting costs it is the school library program that is among the first to be scrutinised.
My previous school had no teacher-librarian and sadly the library lost a lot of its lustre as a result. There was no one readily available to alter displays and other aspects of the library’s appearance. Books and other resources were also hard to find, in the wrong place, or lost altogether. There was no one to properly promote this library and to educate students and staff about its potential. There was nothing new happening and students were rarely drawn inside by choice to look around.
Having also worked at a school with a vibrant library, managed by an equally vibrant teacher-librarian, the difference between the these two school libraries was like night and day.
Oberg (2006) states that “teacher-librarians suffer from occupational invisibility”. This is no doubt true for many teacher-librarians. However, the challenge is to be seen to be relevant and interesting. Clearly there is also a need to be recognised as a critical ingredient to the success of students. Without that recognition it becomes much easier to look to the library when it is time to cut costs from a school budget.
For me the visibility and recognition starts by creating a vibrant and constantly evolving library atmosphere. One that students, and school communities in general, want to visit and want to know more about.
Oberg, D. (2006), Developing the respect and support of school administrators, Teacher Librarian, Feb 2006, 33, 3, ProQuest Central.