Monthly Archives: March 2013

ETL401-Topic 2.2

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How can a TL make his or her priorities both clear and palatable to the school community?

A TL will need to be clear with themselves first, about what their priorities are. It would be most likely the main priority is the students’ educational achievement. This achievement is fostered by promoting reading, literacy, information literacy and combining technology with learning experiences to meet curriculum objectives.

Gaining Principle support is vital for any effective school library program. A Principle that supports the TL and understands the school library program, is a great place to start. A supportive Principle can be an advocate for the TL and model positive attitudes towards what the TL and school library program can offer the learning community. A supportive Principal can help the TL with the job of making his or her priorities clear and palatable to the school community. The TL needs to make it clear that the school library has a shared vision for the school community.

Collaborating with teachers is a practical way to collect evidence that curriculum objectives are being achieved with the help of the TL. Working with teachers to develop effective teaching and learning strategies, then documenting the positives results is an important tool demonstrating the benefits of collaboration. This collaboration with teachers can enhance the students’ achievement and creativity. Teachers can also become advocates for the TL and how their input is vital (Todd, 2003, para. 10).

Evidence-based practice can provide the school community with evidence of how the TL and school library program improves students’ achievement. This evidence is hard to dismiss and demonstrates the main priority of the TL.  According to Todd (2007, p. 76), evidence-based practice “builds active support for school librarians and school libraries”.

How can the information gathered be used effectively to illustrate the TLs priorities and make them palatable to the school community? Lamb and Johnson suggest, “You’ll want to share this information with students, teachers, parents, and administrators. A public relations project can promote strong areas of your collection. A written report to the principal can keep him or her informed about your needs, priorities, and activities.” (2004 – 2010, para. 8)

Promoting the school library program in a variety of ways is an effective tool to gain support from the school community. Ideas such as creating a school library blog, spending time developing an attractive and user friendly school library website, encouraging feedback from teachers, students and parents about their library experiences, all create interest and communication channels.

As Harvey II suggests the TL “does not work alone. For  a school to have a successful library media program it takes everyone (the librarian media specialist, teacher, administrators, and library media staff ) working together for the benefit of the students” (2009, Point No. 10). Surely the students’ educational considerations must be of top priority for the whole school community. The TL vital in achieving this goal.

References

Harvey II, C. (2009 October Issue). What should an Administrator expect a school library media specialist to be?  [Handout]. Library Media Connection. Retrieved from http://hoorayforbooks.pbworks.com/f/lms+evaluation+ideas.pdf

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2004 – 2010). Library media program: Evaluation. In The school library media specialist. Retrieved from http://eduscapes.com/sms/program/evaluation.html

Todd, R. J. (2003). Irrefutable evidence: How to prove you boost student achievement. In School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA287119.html

Todd, R. J. (2007). Evidence-based practice and school libraries. In S. Hughes-Hassell & V. H. Harada (Eds.). School reform and the school library media specialist (pp. 57-78). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited. Retrieved from http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/todd-r.pdf

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ETL401- Blog Task #1 (Principal support)

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A vital ingredient of an effective school library program is Principle support. This support can be manifested in a variety of ways that will be described. The role of the TL in practice includes actions and attitudes that can help gain Principle support.

A Principle that supports the TL is a strong advocate for the important role the TL plays in student achievement. Principals are leaders and their attitudes towards the school library program dramatically influence its effectiveness (Morris & Packard, 2007, p.36). A supportive Principle models positive attitudes and understanding of the school library program and its importance to the school learning community (Morris & Packard, 2007, p.37). It is essential that Principles are supportive of collaboration between TLs and teachers (Haycock, 2007, p. 31). A Principal’s supportive attitude towards collaboration can influence the culture within the school. The TL’s knowledge and skills could then be utilised to maximum potential. Principles can create scheduled times for TLs and teachers to sit down and collaborate about how to achieve “effective teaching and learning strategy” (Morris & Packard, 2007, p. 37). A Principle can support the TL by allocating adequate funds for the library. This can ensure a comprehensive collection of resources and that ICT’s are current and working efficiently. Funding can also provide adequate staff to help the TL focus on important roles, such as being a leader for student’s literacy and information needs (Haycock, 2007, p. 31). A supportive Principle will understand that the TL is a leader and a shared vision can produce wonderful educational results. According to Haycock, (as cited in Haycock, 2007, p. 32) “the role of the principal is enhanced by the visionary leadership of the teacher-librarian.”

Principle support of the TL is unfortunately not present in all schools (Morris & Packard, 2007, p. 36). This lack of support may stem from a lack of understanding of what the role of the TL involves. The Principle may not understand the importance of TL collaboration with teachers and how this contributes to student achievement (Morris & Packard, 2007, p. 36). According to Bailey (as cited in Haycock, 2007, p.26), literature about teacher and TL collaboration is mostly in library journals and evidence suggests that Principles and teachers may not read these journals. This highlights how important it is for the TL to gain Principle support.

Like Principles, student achievement is the TL’s number one goal. TLs can communicate this shared goal with the Principle and demonstrate how with collaboration this can be achieved (Oberg, 2006, p. 16). Communication may need to be persistent as TLs may be dealing with a Principle that possesses negative out-dated attitudes towards TLs and what they can offer. According to Haycock (2007), this communication will need to be clear, regular, formal and informal (p. 30). It is suggested by Farmer, to “have a list ready to demonstrate the contributions a TL does make” (2007, p. 61). TLs need to demonstrate the value they add to the learning community by being innovative and proactive (Farmer, 2007, p. 61). Examples include, TLs creating reading and learning initiatives and promoting teacher’s technology development. TLs need to model the positive affects of collaboration by collaborating with teachers, attending curriculum development meetings and other planning meetings. Oberg (2006, p. 16) suggests that TLs can gain Principal support by professional development, which will build professional credibility in the Principle’s eyes.

Without Principle support the school library program and the TL will struggle to be effective. The TL needs to demonstrate to the Principle that the school library program is essential to enhance students learning and achievement. A partnership between the Principal and the TL can benefits all members of the learning community.

References

Farmer, L. (2007). Principals: Catalysts for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 56-65. Retrieved from http://www.iasl-online.org/index.htm

Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35. Retrieved from http://www.iasl-online.org/index.htm

Morris, B. J., & Packard, A. (2007). The principal’s support of classroom teacher-media specialist collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 36-55. Retrieved from http://www.iasl-online.org/index.htm

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18. Retrieved from http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/

ETL401- The role of a TL

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The role I see myself fulfilling in the school as a TL will be “multi-faceted” (Herring, 2007, p. 30). I have never had any practical experience as a TL to date and have been inspired and at times overwhelmed by the complex and varied roles that TLs are responsible for on a daily basis. After all the thought provoking reading that I have completed over the past few weeks, I feel clearer about needing to be to be an information literacy leader in the school. As Herring describes, “the key role is developing information literate students” (Herring, 2007, p. 32). Herring’s idea focuses more on education as a priority rather than administration. I too see my role more as a teacher rather than predominately administration. I do acknowledge that administration is an essential role of the TL and is listed as a key role in some form or another by Herring, Lamb, Purcell and Valenza. I would aspire to be the type of TL that is innovative, proactive and involved in helping the school to reach its learning goals and objectives. I would aspire to collaborate with teachers and others in the learning community to create a dynamic learning environment for the students. As Valenza (2010) writes “you see the big picture and let others see you seeing it. It’s about learning and teaching. It’s about engagement.” I would aspire to have the same passion and enthusiasm for my role as a TL as Valenza. Effective communication with the school community and commitment are all part of the role I see myself fulfilling as a TL in the future.

I have had little experience with how principles perceive the role of the TL, coming from a TL’s point of view. The experience I have had as a teacher, is that the library was a place separate and isolated from the rest of the school. It was visited to get books and certainly not the hub of the school as I have been reading about in this course. Therefore, after reading articles by Oberg and Hartzell, it may suggest that the principals in these few schools didn’t support the library program and TL as well as they could have.

What can I do to change some of the negative, limited and old dated perceptions principals may have about TLs. Two strategies are:
• Professional development, building on my knowledge, skills and expertise, therefore highlighting professional credibility (Oberg, 2006).
• Talking to the principle regularly. Communicating to the principle, ideas, initiatives and understanding of the school library program (Oberg, 2006).

References

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: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36. doi:10.1007/s11528-011-0509-3

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/224879111?accountid=10344

Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians Do Is Check Out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33. Available from http://www.librarymediaconnection.com/lmc/

Valenza, J. (2010, December 3). A revised manifesto [Blog post]. In School Library Journal. Retrieved from: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/

ETL401 – Comparing & Contrasting Herring, Purcell, Lamb, and Valenza

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Prioritising Roles of the TL

Herring, Purcell, Lamb and Valenza all make it abundantly clear that the role of a teacher librarian is “multi-faceted” (Herring, 2007, p.30). Although each author has their own specific way of the categorising or labeling the roles of the TL, fundamentally they all list and describe many of the same roles.

There are some differences in how they believe TLs should prioritise the roles they play in the school. Purcell divides the TL role up into five roles. Purcell explains that these roles are all connected to each other, that one can not be achieved without the others (Purcell, 2010). Purcell also demonstrates the need for school librarians to write a time study of their daily activities to get a clear understanding of all tasks they perform in a day. This can then be analysed and give a clear picture of the many roles the school librarian performs daily. Which could be used to highlight what roles need more attention and how to prioritise multiple roles to be more effective (Purcell, 2010). Herring  on the other hand states that “the key role is developing information literate students” (Herring, 2007, p. 32). Herring’s idea focuses more on education as a priority rather than administration. Effective time management should mean that TLs can prioritise their roles according to the needs of their learning community (Herring, 2007). Lamb (2011) uses the “PALETTE” (p. 28) model to define the roles of the TL. People are listed first, communicating and working effectively with the school learning community being the first priority (Lamb, 2011). Lastly, Valenza describe an enormous list of tasks that a TL is responsible for but reading is at the top of this list, overall teaching and reading are the priority according to the author.

Other roles?

Lamb lists people first in her model for defining the roles of the TL. The TL needs to be able to communicate with the wider learning community which requires a more social role in building healthy and effective relationships with that community (Lamb, 2011).

How do Lamb’s views on the TL’s role compare and contrast with those of Herring and Purcell?

As mentioned previously Lamb, Herring and Purcell all describe the TL as having a “multi-faceted” (Herring, 2007, p.30) role. Lamb divides the roles in to  six key roles. Purcell describes five key roles. Herring identifies a larger variety of roles and also focuses on describing three key roles as defined by ASLA (2003). There are many similarities between the key roles that Lamb identifies and those identified by Herring and Purcell. It is often the case that different labels are used but the content is very similar. The only key role that Lamb identifies that is not mentioned in either of Herring’s or Purcell’s articles is “Environment” (Lamb, 2011, p. 28).

What existing tasks/roles do you think you as a TL could give up in order to be as proactive as Lamb and Valenza want you to be?

The answer is none. The idea of a time study appeals to me and seems a really practical way to analysis realistically how I am spending my time and then deciding which tasks/roles I could allocate more time to and which I have been giving to much time to. It is essential to always be taking into consideration the needs of the students and their learning (Purcell, 2010). All of the tasks need to be performed for the library to function effectively.

 Do I see myself fitting with the roles proposed by these authors?

I would aspire to be able to fulfill all of the key roles identified by these authors and the thoughts from the podcasts. As Herring states it would be difficult to expect that any TL could perform all these roles at the same time (Herring, 2007). Being able to fulfill all of these roles to the highest standard is very much dependent on the TL being supported by adequate funding, adequate support staff, support and an encouraging attitude from administrators and teachers.

I would change the order of the roles that Purcell identifies, ‘teacher’ should come first.

As Valenza so clearly articulatesIt’s about learning and teaching.” (Valenza, 2010)

References

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: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36. doi:10.1007/s11528-011-0509-3

Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians Do Is Check Out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33. Available from http://www.librarymediaconnection.com/lmc/

Valenza, J. (2010, December 3). A revised manifesto [Blog post]. In School Library Journal. Retrieved from: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/

ETL401 “Are school librarians an endangered species?”

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The overall message communicated from the podcasts, was that school librarians are not an endangered species but more essential than ever. This need is influenced by the complex and changing information environment. The school librarian’s role is being redefined to meet these changes. Henry Jenkins talks about school librarians fulfilling the role of an “online mentor” to their students. This idea accentuates one of the vital roles of the school librarian. Essentially, being a leader in information literacy and helping their learning community with the overwhelming amount of information available. School communities look to school librarians to support and guide them in the most effective ways of finding, evaluating and using information to succeed in learning.

Reference

The American Association of School Librarians (Producer).  (Jan/Feb 2012). 30 Second thought leadership: Insights from leaders in the school library community [Video Podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/knowledgequest/aboutkq/30second_JanFeb12

ETL401 Topic 1: Searching and using CSU library databases

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I found the experience of searching and using the library databases very useful. I felt excited about some of the new tools I learnt to use. I thought I had a fair grasp of how to use ‘primo search’ but I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.

New things I learnt:

  • There are folders to save items in the databases, this is fantastic and I have already started making use of it.
  • It was a new experience for me to set up a personal account in a database. I set one up in EBSCOhost and ProQuest.
  • The broadening and narrowing of advanced searches by using Boolean Operator, truncation and wild cards is very useful in developing searching skills.
  • The tutorials were very helpful – I find having a visual / verbal example works for me (as I am a visual learner) I definitely absorb and remember information better this way. This is something to be very mindful of in the future when teaching, the different learning styles that students will have and catering for these.
  • It was exciting to become more familiar with the databases that I will be using regularly, also to understand which databases are most useful and appropriate for this course.
  • The tools for refining searches are extremely useful (e.g. choosing e-books only, full-text items, or date specification). I didn’t realise I automatically have a folder in primo search, and that just clicking on the folder icon near the item will place the resources in my folder.
  • The difference between full-text and non-full text items.
  • It shows search history in primo search, this is great for me as I’m often distracted by life going on around me and then forget where I was and where was that interesting article

Overall, it is obvious that I have taken away a lot of very useful tools and information by doing this guided searching and using of the library databases. I now need to refer back to this information when I get stuck and use these tools regularly, so as to improve my library searching skills.

Marie-Lee Walker