Education is a vital element for personal and societal growth. It is to the benefit of ourselves and our society that we have an educated populace. But education is more than rote memorization of facts. In order for people to be educated they must be able to think critically, inquire deeply, and interact with people of different backgrounds and beliefs. Teachers are key components in the circle of education. Teacher librarians are no less vital than classroom librarians. They have instructional access to not just a classroom, but the entire school. As a result, these professionals are critical to the success and growth of the school.
I think that all students love to read, even the ones who think they do not. I believe that students who think they do not like to read have never found the appropriate book for them. I believe that with strong collection development and reader’s advisory, all students can find their love for reading.
I believe students love to ask questions and have a natural affinity for learning. Students who think they do not enjoy learning have had negative experiences. With proper guidance in asking questions and seeking answers, students will gain exposure to the wonders of discovery. I believe effective questions that lead to such fascination are those that are birthed from and require critical thinking. School Library Media Specialists are in a central role to work with both classroom teachers and students in modeling effective questioning and ethical information use.
I believe that technology is constantly evolving, but that differing technologies can be effectively harnessed as tools for teaching and learning. Students either love using digital resources or are afraid of them. I believe that School Librarians must always be mastering new technologies so that they can equip their students for success in a 21st century learning environment. They will be able to instruct students in the proper use of technology as well as introducing students to various uses of technology while demonstrating that new technology does not have to be scary.
I believe that effective School Librarians serve the needs of not only the students but also their fellow staff members. Teachers today are being pulled in many different directions and are expected to educate more and more students with less time and money. Many teachers are forced into skimping on lesson quality for lesson quantity. Effective Teacher Librarians are trained to work collaboratively with fellow teachers to design compelling lessons. Teacher Librarians also work with teachers in co-teaching lessons when it will be beneficial to everyone.
My library lessons will be built around the American Library Association and American Association of School Librarian standards and key practices. This includes the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner. My lessons will consist of multiple technologies and hands on activities. I believe that students learn best when they are challenged to analyze and evaluate information instead of simply recalling such information. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Order Thinking Skills will be quite useful in designing effective lessons.
School Librarians are not a luxury. Effective schools that succeed in educating the whole student require trained library professionals in a full time faculty position. School administrators who bypass having a professionally trained library staff are doing a disservice to themselves, their faculty, and their student body. Teacher Librarians are essential staff members who provide professional development and out of classroom learning experiences. Libraries are the heart of the school and trained library professionals are the beat that keeps the blood flowing.