People for Education advocate Annie Kidder was talking about the importance of school libraries and Teacher Librarians today on CBC radio. Their research released today details that learners are not getting the instruction needed to navigate information they access daily. Kidder was discussing the importance of information literacy as part of all students learning experiences as well as the fact that shrinking school budgets have forced school districts to trim areas deemed unimportant. Never has the school librarian had a more important role for teaching and learning. To me this was not news but it was great to hear positive reporting supporting teacher librarians.
Checking my Twitter feed, Seth Godin posted a great discussion about how Library advocates must stop referring to the room as an institution but the important skills and practices that Librarians bring to learning. His comment “The librarian isn’t a clerk who happens to work at a library. A librarian is a data hound, a guide, a sherpa and a teacher. The librarian is the interface between reams of data and the untrained but motivated user.” explains the valuable skills the librarian should bring to the job in the 21st Century but the ongoing lure of staffing school libraries with librarians who are in enamoured with the idea of “library as a warehouse for dead books”. Godin’s discussion of what libraries need to be truly reflects a culture of knowledge, collaboration and networked learning with the guidance of an engaged and engaging facilitator.
With this kind of forward thinking approach to learning, knowledge and librarianship, school libraries, public libraries would truly provide the guidance needed to enhance and guide library patrons in schools and public libraries everywhere. To quote Godin “We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.” What we need are administrators who understand this and step up to the challenge, it would be a great experience to work as a Teacher Librarian in this culture don’t you think? Sign me up!