Posted by: eheino | March 12, 2013

Collaboration and Resource Management

All teachers are required to know how to select and use resources; however it is the responsibility of the teacher librarian to know what resources the school already has, and to fill any gaps identified by other members of staff. Teacher Librarians supply the school with resources that the whole school can use, whereas classroom teachers are more focussed on the immediate needs of their class/subject area. According to the Western Australia Department of Education, Teacher Librarians are expected to have knowledge of the curriculum, learning and teaching styles, child development, student achievement levels, collection development and resource selection criteria. Classroom teachers are expected to have a knowledge of the achievement levels of their own class, and be an expert in the areas of the curriculum they are concerned with, whereas Teacher Librarians need to know about these areas for the whole school. They are also highly trained in resource selection and curriculum development, which assists them in choosing the best resources for their library.

The school I work at most often has a high level of parental support, which would make asking for ideas and suggestions from the wider school community reasonably simple. The teacher librarian could approach the school’s P&C association for ideas or suggestions for resources; particularly fiction books they are aware their children are interested in. She could also come to the P&C (after discussing with staff & management) with suggestions regarding subscriptions to online resources that students could access from both home and school, such as the Mathletics program. As far as the internal school community goes, the Teacher Librarian could approach the staff with ideas in staff meetings, or organise a library committee with members from each stage to discuss the resource needs of their classrooms. Having an open door policy would also be useful if staff members have any concerns or questions about the resources the library has available.

Students could also be asked to suggest books they would like to share with their peers through the school library. It could even be made into an activity where students are asked to fill in a worksheet with their favourite authors, themes or titles, as well as the topics they are interested in. The sheet could be adjusted for different ages. The Teacher Librarian could then collate these answers and decide what to spend the budget on based on their answers.

Although it is important for Teacher Librarians to seek the input of their colleagues and the wider school community, ultimately it is the responsibility of the Teacher Librarian and the Management team to decide what is included in the school library. The Teacher Librarian has the widest knowledge on what is already included in the library and where the gaps are, and the management team supplies the money to the librarian for resources, which will affect what resources can be purchased each year.

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