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Dear Barbara 

Having just marked a truckload of masters-level uni assignments which focused on 
"an obstacle facing
the teacher librarian in creating an information literate school community" the 
most common issue
when everything was unpacked was the lack of understanding of the role by the 
principal and staff.  


There were many symptoms of the issue such as 

.         the perception that the role of the teacher librarian is so influenced by 
their personal
experiences and remains rooted in the 'keeper of the books" memories; 

.         the perception that any clerical can do the job because it is just 
circulation and
shelving and so no teacher librarian is employed and teachers  have to make do

.         the lack of understanding that collaboration will improve student 
outcomes because
'collaborative' does not mean 'competitive'; 

.         a lack of time to collaboratively plan or collaboratively plan and teach; 

.         a lack of understanding of the whole concept of information literacy and 
that it goes
beyond 'locating a resource';

.         the view that information literacy, which is our specialist subject, is 
an add-on not the
cross-curriculum perspective it should be; 

.         a lack of understanding that print and digital resources can live happily 
together and
that an information search is more than clicking on a link suggested by Google

.         an inadequate budget which fluctuates at best and is non-existent at 

.         a perception that reading fiction is all about reading age and test 
scores and not
something just for enjoyment

.         a perception that education itself is all about test scores

.         the lack of recognition of the value of the role amongst principals who 
configure their
school's staffing

.         the absence of any requirement to work with the teacher librarian on 
internships etc
during teachers' pre-service education


There were many more and if it all boils down to one solution, then that is 
evidence-based advocacy.
However, while it might have been necessary to do this in the late 80s/early 90s 
when the role
changed dramatically, I have to ask why, 20 years on, all the work seems to have 
fallen on deaf


Although I am in Australia, having just been involved in an international 
conference through
yourschoollibrary,org it would seem that these issues remain universal.



Barbara Braxton

Teacher Librarian





Together we learn from each other 


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