The teacher librarian of today has many hats to wear, and the roles that accompany these ‘hats’ are diverse and contextually defined. Gone are the days when the teacher librarian’s role was to encourage a ‘love of reading’, an out-dated or overemphasised role according to Herring (2007). As information specialist, media specialist, leader, curriculum leader, teacher, and administrator the teacher librarian must choose which roles are applicable at which time, and these are dependent on the needs of the school community.
LEADER: Some argue that one of the most important roles of the teacher librarian is as leader. In this role teacher librarians must advocate for the importance of their position, as well as organise staff development and committees for curriculum development.
MEDIA AND INFORMATION SPECIALIST: The role of information media specialist encompasses the teaching, acquisition of, and ethical and appropriate use of technology. The teacher librarian must also advocate for the importance of information literacy.
TEACHER and INSTRUCTIONAL PARTNER: In this role the teacher librarian should collaborate with colleagues to share their expertise on the curriculum and teaching methods to ensure best practice. The teacher librarian must advocate for the importance of information literacy, for students and colleagues. Teacher librarians can help to make their colleagues planning and teaching easier more effective.
This is merely a snapshot of the many roles the teacher librarian can adopt; however, these roles must be supported by colleagues and the principal of the school in order to make full use of the teacher librarian’s skills and talents.
Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the role of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33.