Opening Minds

School Libraries and Teacher Librarians

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School Libraries with Teacher Librarians – Irreplaceable Resources

What is the Ministry of Education’s plan regarding school libraries?

In 2002, Bill 28, The Public Education Flexibility and Choice Act was enacted by the provincial government that removed staffing ratios for all non-enrolling teachers from collective agreements.

When budget cuts have arisen, Teacher Librarians have been considered expendable.

There are 286 fewer Teacher Librarians than in 2002. School library programs have suffered.

The Ministry of Education Service Plan 2014 to 2017 has a strong focus on BC libraries, public libraries, and no mention of school libraries in the service plan. (The document does not open on Firefox)

Public Libraries and School Libraries – big differences…

Librarians – Education
Public Librarians have degrees in Library Science.

Teacher Librarians have education degrees with library science specialties.
Teacher Librarians are teachers first, are the professionals in the school familiar with the scope of the entire school curriculum and pedagogy, for integration of appropriate resources.

Public Libraries serve people, aged from preschool to 90+.

School libraries focus on students, aged from 6 to 19.
Teacher Librarians support teachers, locating curriculum resources, collaborative planning, and team teaching.
Teacher Librarians promote literacy by guiding students through an appropriate progression of reading materials throughout elementary & high school.

Public library collections include a wide range of subjects and books of interest to people preschool to 90+
Note: My library collection does not include 50 Shades of Grey.

School libraries focus on curriculum subjects, locally developed courses and teacher assigned research projects.
School libraries showcase a strong collection of pleasure reading titles selected to meet the pleasure reading needs of students.
Teacher Librarians have the opportunity to see students every day enabling collections to be tailored to student tastes and interests, and to involve students in material selection – this is especially important with boys.

Public Libraries provide access to technology and offer limited instructional support.

School Libraries provide access to technology – often hosting full computer labs within their physical space.
Most school libraries host a virtual school library offering 24/7 support for students.
Teacher Librarians work collaboratively with teachers to design lessons that introduce students to new technologies, and quality digital resources such as databases, as they meet the curriculum objectives and assist in preparing students and teachers with a rapidly changing technological landscape that is the future.

In addition to the value School Libraries and Teacher Librarians provide to the educational program, they function as a safe haven for students to read, research and relax.
Furthermore, School libraries facilitate collaborative and individualized learning environments.

Public Libraries and School Libraries, Public Librarians and Teacher Librarians can work together to best serve a community – one does not replace the other!

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Roch Carrier on School Libraries…”Our Children Deserve No Less.”

If we believe that our children are our future – and I believe that we all do – then we must do what we can to ensure that our children have access to the information resources and skilled personnel in school libraries so that our children can get off to a good start in understanding and participating in society.  It is not enough that there is  room full of resources. Children need to learn how to find information, to choose and apply information.  They must have teacher librarians who are dedicated to guiding them in developing their skills, but also to developing in them the love of lifelong learning.

Canada’s children are Canada’s future. If we do not take it upon ourselves to ensure that all Canadian children and youth have equal access to well-equipped libraries and trained professionals in their schools from the time they are in kindergarten, to show them the ropes, to help them develop their analytical  and research skills, then we reap what we sow.  It is past the time to make an investment needed to ensure that our children grow up to be literate citizens and lifelong learners in the global knowledge society of the 21st Century.”

Roch Carrier, National Librarian of Canada, May 31, 2001, author of The Hockey Sweater


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