In his blog post, Connecting trust to information literacy: class coordinated instruction, Charles Greenburg, University Library Director at Wenzhou-Kean University, China, has written:
Librarians must be visible and trusted partners in the future of their institutions, if we are to ensure information literacy and management skills maintain their connection to life-long learning outcomes we expect and desire in student-centered higher education.
This is valid for school librarians too.
Visible. Yes, we must be seen in the library, that is, we should be doing something that makes people coming in or through (as is often the case) stop and notice. Although, I think that’s not exactly practical, but I think that the school community should know what it is we are doing – often not the case, sadly. Out of the library, we can still be invisible. Waving our hands around, jumping on the spot and calling out doesn’t work. Playing a meaningful part in the everyday teaching and learning is a challenge when we are often not seen as teachers and requires behaviour which convinces teachers we play an important role.
… it is not about merely going into classes as an agent of information literacy, but having a broad institutionally-connected visibility as an agent of institutional excellence, connected to the learning process at the broadest levels of concern.
I might just sit on these words for a long while. Thank you, Charles Greenburg. As I think about trust (prompted by the unit on Trust and Network Fluency in Connected Courses, it seems to me that trust is the glue without which nothing we (teacher librarians) say to teachers or students will be effective. I’m happy that it comes back to relationships and will remember this when I feel like I’m not doing enough. It’s not about ‘me doing’, ‘not about merely going into classes as an agent of information literacy’ (so funny, the image of a faceless/genderless agent barging into classes with a scroll of info lit.) – it’s about ‘having a broad institutionally-connected visibility as an agent of institutional excellence (wow, where do I get that?), connected to the learning process at the broadest levels of concern‘.
Teachers trust that we will respect what they are doing. We listen to teachers and work with them, following their direction. They trust that we have a sound knowledge of curriculum. They trust that our research is sound, and that we do not take short cuts in preparing what is needed. They trust that we respect their teaching style, and that we are respectful of their students.
We are about to sink our teeth into our strategic plan this week. Where will ‘having a broad institutionally-connected visibility as an agent of institutional excellence, connected to the learning process’ sit? Hopefully right at the top as a powerful reminder that we must connect meaningfully across the school and be representative of excellence – and be trusted for it.
Like I said, I’m sitting on this for a long time. Elucidations welcome.
5 thoughts on “Visibility and trust – glue for teacher librarians”
I am convinced that there is no stronger connector in any learning institution these days than a librarian/media specialist. They are often leading the charge into the shifting world of digital literacies, and are important anchors to student learners at any level.
This is a delightful observation which, I must confess, is expressed less often than ‘what do you do in there anyway?’
It would be nice if there were more teachers who saw what you see. Thanks for the kind comment. :))
I look forward to hearing how you progress through this. I am feeling some frustration right now in trying to effect change. Our media specialists for the past few years have been very innovative. Keep us posted. 🙂
Thanks, Susan. So far I rejoice in individual relationships with staff in different parts of the curriculum. Generally I’m on a different planet from most of the educators in terms of what learning and teaching is about. Not sure if changes can occur in small stages or if the education system as we know it needs to be blown up before we’re on level ground.