Sunday, October 01, 2006

Teacher Training


"Despite these encouraging programs, [ones in which information on the role of the teacher-librarian be included in the training of pre-service teachers], it is apparent that most teacher-training institutions are not preparing new teachers to work collaboratively with the teacher-librarian. It may be that school-based teacher-librarians, workers in the field, as it were, will have to take the initiative and approach their closest Faculty of Education. We will need to initiate some liaison between teacher-librarians and the Department of Education at our local community college. We need to build a power base from which to influence the training of teachers and administrators—and of future school librarians (Hartzell, 1997).

"Rather than waiting passively, in the bottom half of a top-down model, for the arrival of new teachers fully cognizant of the role of the teacher-librarian, we need to be part of a continual loop; a reciprocal give and take of information and support between the Faculty of Education which is training the new teachers and the school system which is receiving them."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ideal Teacher Preparation

In "Learning from the Masters" (Edutopia, July/August, 2006) on page 48, Edutopia outlined what the members of the Teacher Leaders Network brainstormed about "an ideal teacher-preparation and teacher-induction program." In those five paragraphs, nothing was mentioned about what the school librarians and media specialists can do to make classroom teachers' jobs easier.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Teachers? What about Principals?

The Principal's Perceptions of School Libraries and Teacher-Librarians
Gary Hartzell, University of Nebraska at Omaha, USAAbstract

There's no question that principal support is vital to the establishment and maintenance of a quality library media program. The problem is that support flows from trust, and trust flows from understanding. Many principals do not understand what teacher-librarians really do nor do they appreciate the potential the library media program has for contributing to student and faculty achievement. This article explores why this is so. Principals’ perceptions of school libraries and teacher-librarians have been shaped by four interactive forces. The first is their own experiences in school libraries as children, in which they perceived the library as peripheral to the classroom. The second is the effect of their professional training, in which the library's role in curriculum and instruction was conspicuously absent. The third is the nature of the teacher-librarian's work, which is to enable and empower others. The fourth is the low profile teacher-librarians and school libraries have in the professional literature read by teachers and administrators, which prevents them from updating their sense of what the library really is and can do. The cumulative result is that administrators have only a limited and inaccurate understanding of libraries and teacher-librarians. The only way to change principal perceptions is to assault them directly, repeatedly, and from a multiplicity of directions. Reshaping perceptions takes time and effort and commitment. In the meantime, these erroneous perceptions will continue to guide most principals' relationships with school library media specialists.

copied from: School Libraries Worldwide Online School Libraries Worldwide Journal Citation: v8 n1 p92-110 Jan 2002

Especially because of the third factor, teacher-librarians can be perceived as personally pushy and demanding, rather than as intelligence, educated professionals concerned for the education of their students. Wouldn'tcha just love to do something about that?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

School & Public Libraries Can Support Each Other!

If you don't mind the pop-ups; I made a Web site with my partner Debbie S. in 2003 called "School & Public Libraries Can Support Each Other!" Some of the links are dead; gee, I don't even know if I remember the password for that page! BUT... it is worth a peek to click on the cached versions of two School District of Philadelphia Web sites:
  1. Welcome to LION, an information resource for K-12 school librarians, and
  2. Lesson Plans & Teaching Activities for School Librarians

Friday, August 04, 2006


Your Facebook, MySpace and Friendster accounts will self-destruct by the end of the next Congressional vote. The U.S. House of Representatives has already approved the DOPA bill banning social networking sites. Now the bill goes to the Senate and eventually President Bush. Stop them. The HR5319 bill would even ban websites that are used for positive, professional and social experiences. SAVE YOUR SPACE. Go to and take action now.

And remember, Congress does NOT want you to forward this message, put it on your profile, or use it as an away message.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Follow-up to "How the Teacher-Librarian Supports Teachers"

I want so much to post a copy of the letter that I sent to my new Supervisor of Curriculum as mentioned in my July 20, 2006, post, but I'm afraid I will be stepping on someone's copyright toes.

Teacher-Librarian Orientation for Student Teachers? I Can Dream...

I saw this description of a clinical practice (practicum? internship? student-teacher placement?) at The Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Web page entitled Cooperating Teacher-Librarian Roles and Responsibilities in Clinical Practice. Ok ... wouldn't it be cool if all student teachers got a chance to do even a small part of this as their pre-teacher preparation?! Scroll down to the heading: Suggested Activities/Projects: Curriculum and Instruction. Some of these things teachers should/could already be doing, so why not let them experience it from both the teacher and the teacher-librarian's perspectives? For example,
  1. Develop a bibliography and/or pathfinder for a class unit of study
  2. Plan/implement library instructional experiences: book talks, information literacy skills, literature enrichment
  3. Respond to reference requests by students and teachers
  4. Develop a modified lesson plan for a special needs student based on a consultation with a special ed/resource teacher
Even in the heading under Collection Development, what beginning teacher wouldn't benefit from the following exercise? "Select one state standard in one content area, evaluate materials currently available in the collection to support that area, and make recommendations for new purchases." Or under Technology and Production, "Shadow district Director of Technology for one day."

I know I'm "preaching to the choir" when I'd really prefer to be "preaching to the converted," but see if you can follow this train of thought:
IF Information Power and Library Power stress cooperative planning and instruction,
AND by definition, cooperation takes two or more people,
THEN instruct all of the cooperating parties how to optimize their collaborative efforts!

(Hey! Principal & supervisory certificates could be made contingent on teacher-librarian orientation activities, too!)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Teacher and Teacher-Librarian Cooperation

Hey, teachers...!
Cooperation takes time.
Not cooperating takes more time.

If you have access to EBSCOHost, search for this article: Teachers and Librarians: Collaborative Relationships. ERIC Digest., By: Russell, Shayne, ERICRIE0, 20000801Database: ERIC

Now, since ERIC Digests are in the public domain and may be freely reproduced and disseminated, I'll put some key points here:

  1. "Assignments developed in partnership between teachers and library media specialists are known to be more 'authentic'-exhibiting a higher degree of meaning and significance" (Gross & Kientz, 1999).
  2. "...test scores increase as school librarians spend more time collaborating with and providing training to teachers, providing input into curricula, and managing information technology for the school" (Manzo, 2000).
  3. Administrative Factors: "The greatest amount of collaboration occurs when the media specialist has a flexible schedule and team planning is encouraged by the principal" (Tallman & van Deusen, 1994).
  4. Interpersonal Factors: "It is up to the library media specialist to take steps to change this by serving on curriculum committees, attending planning meetings, and sharing ideas for integrating the media center into the curriculum" (Bishop & Larimer, 1999).

Wouldn't it be sweet if we could do something about changing the statement in #4 by including teacher/librarian collaboration in teacher training as well as school librarian training?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

How the Teacher-Librarian Supports Teachers

As soon as Audrey Church's article, "Catch Them (Preservice Teachers) While You Can!" gets posted to the Teacher-Librarian Magazine Web site (Vol. 33, no. 4), you should read it! I modified her suggestions to fit my school and E-mailed a "How I Support Teachers" letter to our school's new Supervisor of Curriculum.