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.
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
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:
“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.”