We teacher-librarians are much more than book babysitters. Oh yes much more than check-inners and check outers of books. I think that has a lot to do with the redefining of our school libraries. No more the authoritative "person-centered" library, but rather a "cultural-and-learning-centered" media center (Dr. Ross Todd, Rutgers University). To be the learner-centered hub of the intellectual life of a school, libraries are now sanctuaries for students and teachers. I recognize that more and more as I work in them. It's a community where one feels comfortable and safe in a neutral environment. (We could place here an entire discussion on intellectual freedom, and the freedom to read, however another time). So teacher-librarians are hosts to a sanctuary. Wow! providing access to information, ideas, freakin democracy. Wow! We should get paid more.
So what does one do when they are teaching and librarying at the same time. There are many studies that report on just that...and what role libraries play in schools. Try the Library Research Study for in-depth analysis on school library impact to student success. Summarizing the basic roles discovered by these studies:
leadership partner, teacher collaboration, media & information literacy, enhancement of curriculum (geared towards state standards), access and delivery of information, student support, and technology master guide (oh yes master), and that doesn't even touch instilling the love of reading.
Not only do they provide all this, but many of the studies have revealed a correlation between higher/improved test scores with well-staffed, well-budgeted, well-stocked school libraries.
What? That's right, you heard correctly, better libraries will help those children left behind.
so what have I been doing during my practicum, well some of this, I'm still a baby teacher-librarian...I'll get there.