First and foremost, I need to make it clear that I am a TEACHER librarian, not an aide or a technology geek or a babysitter during a planning hour or before/after school monitor. Unlike these others, my main focus is how to teach skills so students and staff will learn how to use what the library has to offer (not just be a warm body or lead them to an answer)in order to learn how to ask questions, how to search out answers, and develop ideas based on the information gathered. Teaching is my goal, and teaching is the most important goal any school has. As Mike Eisenberg explains in his Youtube Vodcast #4,
Secondly, I will become an intregal member of the school teaching team. As an educator, I can help other teachers develop curriculum that incorporates 21st century media/digital skills available in the library. By holding open houses, after school seminars, and hands on learning experiences, other teachers will become more comfortable with technology, hopefully asking me more and more "What else can I...?" "What can I do with...?" "Where can I find...?" How can we...?" As a professional educator, I am knowledgeable about curriculum development and how to use technology to enhance the teachers' goals. In Teacher 2.0 Med Kharbach posted a link to "The 21st Century Skills Teachers Should Have" (Sept. 25, 2011)which describes the characteristics teachers need to develop in order be effective. Watch the videos, especially the one at the end of the post.
Next, I need to find people to advocate with me. Both Michael Eisenberg's vodcast and Doug Johnson's "4 Rules for Library Advocacy" (Blue Skunk Blog, Sept. 12, 2011)
Finally, after watching so many videos and reading so many written thoughts about advocacy for our job, the one common denominator I saw or read was the concept of the library as a community gathering physical space. No one was using the library resources in a bubble, but as a means of making physical connections. I would so encourage students/staff/parents, everyone in the community to visit the library by creating a warm, inviting, welcoming space for all to use. If people are in it, I have a captive audience to promote it! The library should be accessible for gatherings of many kinds: book clubs, PTO/PTA, student groups,author talks, art shows, staff meetings, seminars. Any group that needs a place to meet, the library can fit that need and be the place to share, to listen, and to learn. The community of Delray Beach, Florida, on their Youtube video shows the library as their community hub.
So do I believe my job is indispensible? Absolutely. A teacher librarian is passionate about education and firmly believes that is the focus all else follows. As an educator, my function is to understand where I am needed, and fill that need in order to give students and teachers the skills they must have to function in the 21st century world. The library is a necessary means to that end, and I know how to use its tools and spaces; I can't wait to show everyone what they can accomplish!