It seems that the TL professional community is more than aware that trained TLs (with libraries that are equipped well and have adequate support staff) do make a difference to the learning achievement of students.
TLs need to be advocates for the important role that they play in student achievement. This advocacy needs to be backed up with evidence, for it to have any real lasting effect on the attitudes of the rest of the school community and especially those that make decisions. Advocacy is important at local level but needs to be backed up by “demonstrable actions and evidences which give substance and power to advocacy” (Hay & Todd, 2010, p. 37).
Evidence-based practice and using the available research findings of others are the two main ways that TLs can gather the evidence that they need to support the fact that TLs and school libraries (that are fully utilised) do improve students learning achievement (Oberg, 2002, p. 10).
According to Haycock (as cited in Oberg, 2002, p. 10), this evidence needs to be presented in a way that is understandable to other members of the school community and very importantly the staff members that make the decisions about how well the school library is supported.
It would be beneficial for TLs to become pro-active researchers, gathering evidence continually. Oberg’s suggestion of TLs involvement in “carrying out action research or teacher-researcher projects” (2002, p. 12) illustrates one of the many avenues TLs can pursue in being pro-active.
Ultimately, TLs will need to be part of the solution in demonstrating their worth to the school community rather than just pointing out the problems that are currently facing the TL profession.
Hay, L., & Todd, R. (2010). School libraries 21C: The conversation begins. Scan, 29(1), 30-42. Retrieved from http://scan.nsw.edu.au/
Oberg, D. (2002). Looking for the evidence: Do school libraries improve student achievement?, School Libraries in Canada, 22(2), 10-14. Retrieved from http://www.clatoolbox.ca/casl/slic/