My future role within a school
It is hard to predict what my future role will be as so much depends on the needs and goals of the whole institution. Discussed in the previous response, all authors express that the role of TL is multifaceted and as ever-changing although focus points or priorites may differ. The Readings (Herring, 2007; Purcell, 2010 ; Valenza, 2010 & Lamb, 2011) all offered a weath of qualities one may aspire to and it is clear that the role of a TL needs much thought, reflection and revision. The official guidelines of ASLA (2012) demonstrate that the strength of a excellent TL is indicated by knowledge and ability to create a quality learning environment although, considering my own thoughts, Valenza (2010) offered an exciting article. Colourful lists, posters and an article that will be revisited to guide my own professional development. Valenza (2010) states that ‘there is no textbook for what effective practice looks like in continually morphing information and communication landscapes’ and this reassures me that the role is not rigidly defined and perhaps may even differ depending on situation, even if the title may be the same. I am certain however that within my future role there will be a place for practice underpinned by theory, transition, collaboration, reflection and colourful individuality.
In my experience, principal’s have viewed TLs as casual teachers who also look after the library. Providing there were no complaints, there was little reason to inquire. All was peaceful and life usually is when members of the school community do not have to interact. No collaboration means no conflict and some places are happy to work in such a fashion. Many older principals do not view the library as a ‘hub’ or as as expert in technology – that’s what the computer department is for! As a list of ten reasons professionals are resistant to change, Moss-Kanter (2012) explains that people (despite maintaining a management position) can fear seeming incompetent, do not wish to disrupt established routines or simply do not wish for the extra work that change brings. This was kept in mind when devising strategies for improvement.
An attempt to change perceptions
Clearly the dual role TLs play is not understood by administration and strategies are needed in an attempt to change such perceptions. However, it must be noted that such a school is entrenched in traditional thought and the principal would not accept change readily:
1) Perhaps the first strategy might be to bring the goals of the library in line with that of the goals of the whole school. Perhaps then some collaborative planning may happen with the IT department regarding information literacy and integrating some of these skill into the curriculum. Making this process positive will foster a partnership rather than isolated departments. The principal could then sight the finished product, remaining informed without extra pressure.
2) A second strategy could be to try and promote the library as a positive and valuable place for all school members. Perhaps a fancy presentation at staff meetings or information nights whereby the library resources and goals are displayed. The principal may then take an interest or appreciate the promotion of the school.
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. (2011). Bursting with Potential: Mixing a Media Specialist’s Palette. TechTrends, 55(4), 27-36.
Moss-Kanter, R. (2012). Ten Reasons People Resist Change. In Harvard Business Review: HBR Blog Network. Retrieved from http://blogs.hbr.org/kanter/2012/09/ten-reasons-people-resist-chang.html?goback=.gde_103837_member_168828156
Purcell, M. (2010, November/December). All Librarians Do Is Check Out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist. Library Media Connection, 30-33.
Valenza, J. (2010). A revised manifesto. In teacher librarian: The journal for school library professionals. Retrieved from http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/2011/05/01/manifesto-for-21st-century-teacher-librarians/