by Lauren Bourdages, Head Editor, INALJ Ontario
Building the Dream: You are Your Best Teaching Tool
Earlier this week a friend of mine who is a Teacher in New Zealand found a job posting for a Teacher-Librarian position that she asked me to help her put together her application package for. That got me thinking, remembering, that what pulled me into the LIS industry in the first place was discovering my passion for educational libraries while I was earning my BEd. I had developed a dream that was to one day be the person in charge of a school library, or even grander, the person who helps to shape school library policy here in Ontario. Somewhere along the way in my Library and Information Technician program, while trying to build as wide a variety of library experience as possible, I lost sight of that dream, and it probably had a lot to do with the current school library staffing policies in my region, but regardless of that, I’ve graduated from my program now, I have an LIT diploma and I am a certified Teacher-Librarian so I decided now was a good time to reflect on my passions and my dreams.
It has turned out to be a good week for reflection, I had oral surgery on the 11th to extract 3 wisdom teeth so I really have had the time to reflect. I started by reviewing the work that I did for my Teacher-Librarian certification course, Librarianship Part I; I completed it in April 2011 through the University of Western Ontario. Teacher-Librarian jobs don’t come up very often, a lot of people seem to know even less about T/Ls than they do about LITs, and I feel that both groups need more exposure and understanding. A Teacher-Librarian is someone with both educational and practical experience as a teacher and in library and information services. This usually means they’ve gone through a BEd program, and then in Ontario at least, have completed accredited Librarianship courses regulated by the Ontario College of Teachers. I think I’m an anomaly in that I took the OCT certification course while earning an LIT diploma, but I think I like my method the best because there was a lot of stuff I learned about libraries, especially school libraries, in my LIT courses that didn’t get touched on in Librarianship Pt. I.
One thing I did get to do in that course however was use the research I had been doing into the school library staffing models in the Waterloo Region. I discovered that the two school boards (Public and Catholic) have radically different staffing models.
The Waterloo Region District School Board uses the following methods:
At the elementary level
– 1 Library Clerk in each school: this clerk has no formal Library education, only a high school diploma is required, these positions usually have less than 20 hours a week, the Library is only allowed to be open when the Clerk is working
– 6 Itinerant Teacher-Librarians who are each responsible for an average of 15-20 schools
At the secondary level
– A Head Librarian who is usually a Teacher-Librarian Specialist
– At least 1 other full-time Teacher-Librarian (usually 2)
At the Board level
– Library and Resource Services; from what I’ve been able to learn about LRS they employ Librarians, Teacher-Librarians and Library Technicians in this department
Contrastingly the Waterloo Catholic District School Board uses this model:
At the elementary level
– At least 1 trained Library Technician at each School
– Possibly also/or 1 Librarian; some of the schools’ websites refer to the Library Staff as Librarian, some as Library Technician
At the secondary school level they have two models, at most of their high schools they have
– 1 MLIS holding librarian
At St. Mary’s they have a branch of the Kitchener Public Library attached to the school, to the KPL staff also provide school library services.
At the Board level
– Board Resource Centre which employs Librarians and Library Technicians
Using the findings below I created a brochure outlining my ideal school library staffing model, and I want to share that brochure with all of you here today. So voila:
That’s the vision I have for an ideally staffed school library. Is it a pipe dream? Probably, in my experience school libraries seem to face a lot of underfunding, especially in Ontario where we’ve faced a lot of boards looking at closures of their school libraries in recent years. I’m sure you all find as tragic as I do. My only hope is that with enough advocacy and pushing maybe one day we’ll at least get to the point where all school libraries are at least staffed with the same model so that all of our students are getting the same experience.
- Abilock, Debbie. “Stories of Value.” Knowledge Quest 3.3.4 (2005): 6-7. ProQuest. Web. 4 Apr. 2011. <http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlink?Ver=1&Exp=07-28-2010&FMT=Page&DID=852029541&REQ=1&Cert=kwc1nnlFF%2bkFaBD%2fjWfMSvf%2bMdRVrNLC3ecGtwG6mJ%2bW6xlPjTWJnJgeF89LtMf5%2foCTzyXyKAUvCtss8649Zw–&IE=x.pdf>.
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- Haycock, Ken. “The Student Perspective.” Teacher Librarian 31.4 (2004): 40. ProQuest. Web. 4 Apr. 2011. <http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlink?Ver=1&Exp=07-28-2010&FMT=Page&DID=650074511&REQ=1&Cert=k8r39Y0O%2fgvdAJLAbIDFrvf%2bMdRVrNLC3ecGtwG6mJ8HeoHTkO9s8JgeF89LtMf5%2foCTzyXyKAW9svgmHgdO2w–&IE=x.pdf>.
- Koechlin, Carol, Carol Koechlin, and Sandi Zwaan. Build Your Own Information Literate School. Salt Lake City, UT: Hi Willow Research and Pub., 2003. Print.
- “Library Staff | Forest Heights Collegiate Institute.” Welcome to FHCI | Forest Heights Collegiate Institute. Web. 07 Apr. 2011. <http://fhc.wrdsb.ca/library/library-staff>.
- UNESCO. Division of Higher Education. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION A CURRICULUM FOR SCHOOLS AND PROGRAMME OF TEACHER DEVELOPMENT. By Evgueni Khvilon. France: UNESCO Division of Higher Education, 2002. Print.