Theme One: Serving the Clientele

Theme one_SErving the clientele

After completing theme one (heck, after completing lesson one!) I must admit I was a bit overwhelmed at the extensive job description and expected wealth of knowledge that a Teacher-Librarian is expected to have.    Of course I know that the job of a Teacher-Librarian isn’t  just circulation and story time, but after going through the readings and weekly lessons I can’t help but wonder how long it will take before a new TL really feels that they have a good handle on knowing their “products” and supporting the clientele?  Perhaps some of this struggle stems from the fact that I have only TTOC’d in the library, and not actually had a library/learning commons to call my own.  This lack of experience certainly makes the hefty job description sound next to impossible to achieve, experience always helps to calm those nerves.   Whether or not it is reality or just the  interpretation of reality the job is complex and the better acquainted a TL is with their space, and the resources and tools within the better they will be at supporting the staff and students in the building.

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Here are a few of my  takeaways from theme one:

1.) Know your stuff!! –  As a librarian it is critical that one knows the resources available (both print and electronic), and also knows where are the resources found for quick and efficient referrals.

Perhaps more complicated than just knowing about the resources is also knowing which  resource to select that will meet the individual needs of the student searching.  Quality of resource is important, but so is knowing the individual’s learning style and which resource will best support their search based on how they learn.

2.) Support learners in the research process.  Beyond providing resources for use it is also important that TLs assist their students in their information seeking skills whether that is through conversation, questioning or providing a graphic organizer such as BCTLA’s The Research Quest’s Student Guide

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Something that felt poignant, and therefore stayed with me when reading Riedling’s discussion of “The Reference Process” on page five of Reference Skills for the School Library Media Specialist: Tools and Tips, 2nd Edition was her thoughts on approaching every situation open to possibilities:

%22As fixed as this process may appear,

“As fixed as this process may appear, school library media specialists must keep in mind that each question is unique; therefore, each process will be unique as well.”


BC Teacher Librarian’s Association. (2001). Research Quest Student Guide. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
Riedling, A. (2005).  Reference Skills for the School Library Media Specialist: Tools and Tips (2nd ed.).  Worthington, Ohio: Linworth Books.


3 thoughts on “Theme One: Serving the Clientele

  1. I can definitely relate to your experience as a teacher. I also do not have a library of my own and actually I have never even TOC’d in a library before. I am a classroom teacher and became intrigued with becoming a Teacher-Librarian after I started to see my school’s library at the time transforming into a learning commons. The transition itself would take the TL a few years and I really only got to see the initial stages before I had to leave to another school, but the transition itself got me thinking and interested in the space. I am really interested in technology and spaces where students can learn in a collaborative environment and places where teachers can work together to achieve our goals.

    The new learning commons framework will provide teachers with these opportunities and will bring many new teachers to the field with the same frame of thinking!

    Thanks for the takeaways!

  2. A good reflective blog post on our key learnings so far in theme 1. You’ve collected two good examples of useful insight and resources that we can rely on when providing reference services to our students. Flexibility and structure are two great balance points that we can explore in engaging and supporting students in their explorations. Good personal writing that engages your readers and shares some of your own insights and takeaways.

  3. Leah, I am totally with you! When you breakdown any kind of jobs and lay out all of their duties and all of the expectations, it is overwhelming, but I think that once you are in it, you do that best you can and you make it your own! I totally empathize with you though because I am not a TL, I am a classroom teacher and every class, I realize how big the job of TL really is!

    I think all of us really like the ideas of the points of inquiry. I am definitely taking that part of the course with me to the classroom.

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