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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Redefining the meaning of Teacher Librarian

When I started to critically look at what a Teacher Librarian was, I discovered that it is more than just someone to check books in and out of the catalogue. A Teacher Librarian walks beside you as a fellow educator, collaborates and communicates. I had always had a great relationship with the library staff and had worked well with them.  But as a Head of Faculty the interactions that I had had with Library staff had been “reactive” rather than “proactive.

When I started my study I was fortunate to work with a 21st century Teacher Librarian (Georgiou, 2014). Natasha's enthusiasm and ability to problem solve inspired me during my first year of the degree. I had read the Manifesto for Teacher Librarians (Valenza, 2010), but Natasha was the embodiment of this Manifesto in the way that she went about inspiring and enabling teachers to embrace information literacy in all it's forms.

It was in ETL 401 that I first met Eisenberg (2008) and learnt about the importance of teaching information literacy. I had been teaching problem based learnings for years in the classroom, but now I had a solid understanding of the scaffolding that the Teacher Librarian uses is Big 6, Guided Inquiry, Problem Based Learning and a multitude of other strategies. But what struck me was that not many schools were taking a whole school approach to reinforcing these skills.

This subject encouraged me to clearly define what information literacy was in my mind (Lawson 2011a) and to also start to document it clearly for my school.  Out of this subject came some of the initial ideas for my school’s Information Literacy Enhancement document. But of course in order for a document like this to be taken seriously, you need to be able to gain whole school support. The work that I did in ETL 504 about the Teacher Librarian as Leader skilled me up with strategies to take our plan to the next level.

The work of Todd (2003) also made quite an impact on the way that I perceived the role of Teacher Librarian. The idea of an Evidence Based Practice excited me and I have continued to do informal research on this topic and ask the question "where is the evidence". On the blog is a Critical Reflection (Lawson 2011b) and additional posts on the same topic (Lawson 2011c).


Eisenberg, MB. (2008). 'Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age', DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28, 2, pp. 39-47, Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 30 September 2011.

Georgiou, N. (2014) Back to the Library [blog] Retrieved from

Lawson, M. (2011a). What is Information Literacy [Blog] Retrieved from

Lawson, M (2011b). Critical Reflection of ETL401 [Blog] Retrieved from

Lawson, M (2011c). Searching Label ETL401[Blog] Retrieved from

Todd, R.J. (2003). Irrefutable evidence: How to prove you boost student achievement, School Library Journal.

Valenza, J. (2010).  Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians. Retrieved from:

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