The Intimate and Intricate role of the Teacher-Librarian
Tonight I had someone remind me of the important role that TL’s play in helping students to select and check out books! Yes – helping students to select and check out books!! It reminded me of the special roles that TL’s play for students, staff and families. In addition it reminded me of the role of relationships in the knowledge building process.
The role of the TL is very diverse! Beyond the obvious massive undertaking of collection development, budgeting, and technology integration, there is also the instructional piece that is bathed in inquiry. Book selection can get pushed to the background if we are not careful. But there are so many benefits to this. The book selection process is essentially helping students with their inquiries, their growth mindsets, their interests and fears. It lends itself well to deep questioning, critical thinking, metacognition and knowledge building. However, it can often get sloughed off to other students and monitors, but not for lack of excellent reasons, for instance, giving monitors responsibility and building their own knowledge and leadership capabilities.
However, there are other compelling and intimate reasons for having TL’s focus effort and energy on book selection, here is a list:
- You know the students
- You know their parents and siblings
- You know the reading level
- You can recommend new authors and help students find just the ‘right books’ – (this is a very difficult process for a lot of students!)
- You are an expert in the inquiry process
- You know how to ask the right questions
- You aid in metacognition
- You help students to think critically
- You promote a growth mindset
- You promote knowledge building
- You understand cultures and families
- You engage students in meaningful discussions about the books and motivate them to read more
- You prevent too much frustration that hinders the learning process but helping students choose appropriate books
- You know them
Books are not just commodities. People are multi-dimensional. When literacy and the human spirit converge, the sky is the limit.
Literacy is a living entity, and helping with book selection is so much more than a mechanical process. It is no wonder that TL’s who work with ALL students to these ends, really do raise literacy scores in schools.