Role: Information Specialist

As an information specialist the teacher librarian is a technology leader in the school, a teacher of information/digital literacy and an avid proponent for successful integration of technology into all forms of learning.  In the AASL (2007)  document Standards for the 21st-Century Learner it states that “students need to develop information skills that will enable them to use technology as an important tool for learning, both now and in the future.”  These aforementioned skills that a teacher librarian possess in their role as an information specialist helps build a technology rich culture in schools that prepares students to be successful in the 21st century.

To be a successful technology leader in the school, a teacher librarian needs to be familiar with both current technologies that are available for use in education, and new and emerging technologies that support learners. It is important that teacher librarians “know what is going on outside the school library and how that activity might impact [the] program” (Toor & Weisburg, 2011, p. 4).  As a leader in information and technology, the teacher librarian are a resource and partner with the school’s technology department. The teacher librarian participate in school committees that relate to technology (Weisburg & Toor, 2015, p.168).  A teacher librarian can also show their expertise as a technology leader by providing professional development opportunities and sharing their wealth of knowledge about technology.

In teaching information literacy and digital literacy it is important to stress that “knowing how to search the Internet or use technology is not the same thing as having the ability to evaluate credibility and select relevant information” (Toor & Weisburg, 2013, p. 69). In the role of an information specialist, the teacher librarian is responsible for a wide range of potential information resources in both print and digital form for both teachers and staff to use. Students should learn not only to find and evaluate information but move from information consumers to information producers. As library users search for information, they will have the opportunity to not only access information through the internet and online databases, but through multiple forms of technology such as tablets, smart devices, phones or computers as well as varied operating systems including Windows, Android, or OSX. Students need to be able to navigate their way through multiple technologies. Understanding what these new technologies are and the best practices in implementing them are useless unless students have a firm grasp on the technologies and are able to correctly use them.

Finally, in the role as an information specialist, the teacher librarian works as a proponent and adviser in the implementation of technology into the classroom.  Technology, when used correctly, can be a great motivator for students and help engage students in classroom activities (Godzicki, Godzicki, Krofel, Michaels, 2013, p. 107). In the educational world there is so much technology to use that making choices about what best to use and when to use it can be a little intimidating. Using the SAMR model of technology integration, the teacher librarian assists and advises individuals who wish to increase their technology use in the classroom. The teacher librarian can provide their expertise in technology to others in the building, helping the move from the lowest form of technology integration (substitution) to the highest form (redefinition). The teacher librarian can help with the development of a technology integration plan and ease the transition from a classroom that is not using any technology into a classroom that is redefined by the technology used to assist student learning.

The collection analysis and development plan chosen represent examples of how an information specialist constructs and develops their collection based on both the interests of the students and the needs of the teachers.  Through collection analysis the librarian makes sure that quality information is available for all patrons. The development plan utilizes online databases to ensure that the information is up to date and reliable for students and teachers who are researching. The library website is a clearning house for an information specialist to disseminate the most recent information and help guide patrons on their use of the resources available through the library.

Artifacts

Collection Analysis.  In weeding a library it is important to look at how the books are aligned with the school’s curriculum, the age of the materials, the condition the books are in, and if the books are on any of the core lists. In this artifact I used the previous conditions as well as information from Lowe’s resource alignment to analyse the 520s of an elementary library, specifically 520:Space Science/ Astronomy, 525:Earth/ Seasons and 529:Time. Recommendations were made on what books to remove from the collection and suggested materials to add to the collection.

Library WebsiteTo better serve the library’s patrons a website was developed to provide a one stop location for students, staff, administration and parents to easily access information and materials from the library. Click on the link above or visit www.lmhslibrary.com

Collection Development PlanIn our library the growing trend among students is to utilize online resources for their research instead of the physical book resources. Online resources are more economical in providing access to content to multiple students simultaneously, it can be accessed twenty-four hours a day from anywhere with a internet connection and new editions do not have to be purchased as information is updated. To meet the needs of our students, a collection development plan was created to provide additional digital resources to students outside those already provided through our local AEA.

Citations

AASL. (2007). Standards for the 21st Century Learner. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards-guidelines/learning-standards

Godziki, L., Godzicki, N., Krofel, M., & Michaels, R. (2013). Increasing motivation and engagement in elementary and middle school students through technology-supported learning environments. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov.

Jacobs-Israel, M., & Moorefield-Lang, H. (2013). Redefining technology in libraries and schools: AASL best apps, websites, and the SAMR model. Teacher Librarian, 41(2), 16-19.

Toor, R., & Weisburg, H. K. (2011). Being indispensable: A school librarian’s guide to becoming an invaluable leader. Chicago: American Library Association.

Weisburg, H.K., & Toor, R. (2015). New on the job a school librarian’s guide to success (2nd ed.).  Chicago, IL:  American Library Association.