April 16, 2012

A study of the Teacher-Librarian creature

The teacher-librarian is an interesting creature.  We are teachers, yes, but we are upholders of all things media.  Our job is not evaluated by a high-stakes test, or by a final.  It is instead evaluated by the students themselves.  Have I helped to create an efficient and successful consumer and user of media? Have I helped prepare this student for their next step in education?     Have I helped connect that student with a good book that will carry them on to be a life-long lover of literature?   These are my teaching objectives every day.  An enormous job, but one so rewarding I can’t imagine doing anything else.

The key is to be approachable.  The librarian is the librarian’s worst enemy.  Too often we have come across librarians that act like the books and the library itself is their baby.  Too precious for anyone to intrude or handle.  Librarians are still depicted in movies and TV shows as old, bun wearing, shushing ladies.
Instead we should be rockstars of information!   I always try to create a space of neutrality, a sanctuary, where everyone feels welcome, and knows I can help them – better yet, that I want to help them.  Another essential skill is flexibility.  I never know what is going to walk through that door, or what the teacher/ student will need at that moment.  Every request is important to the requestor, so I have to adapt, think quickly and smartly, and genuinely want to help.  

So let's change librarians!  Let's become the most essential part of that school.  That when budget cuts come the staff and students will bar the door to the library with their bodies!  Let's make them ask, how could we possibly run this school without this bunless woman!?  We can do it!

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