Own Your Expertise.

Curriculum guru?  One aspect of Teacher Librarianship that I don’t think I completely understood until recently is the idea that TLs while supporting the work that happens in the classroom must become an expert in content standards at all levels or particularly for the levels that exist in the classrooms on the campus where her or his library is.  I don’t know exactly what I think about this…part of me thinks that content standards should be the realm of the teachers and the TL should be there to focus on the enjoyment and personal fulfillment that comes from reading.  I know now that this is naive, that a major part of keeping the library open and running on campus is to support and collaborate with teachers – making yourself visible and useful to the people you share the campus with is vital and can be incredibly rewarding.  But, curriculum guru I am not.  I am good at researching and finding the standards when I need them but, will my lack of broad-ranged curriculum knowledge inhibit my ability to help my fellow instructors?  Inside Higher Ed blogger, Joshua Kim, argues that since teaching has “increasingly become a team sport”, including librarians on the team just makes sense.  He lists experience, direct contact with students, and  the ability to compile high quality content, as the three top reasons to include librarians when designing courses and fine-tuning curriculum.  However, in higher education librarian input is sometimes perceived as too threatening to the old habits of a die-hard lecturer.  Perhaps elementary and secondary teachers feel a little bit differently (I hope).  Take Colby Sharp, a third grade teacher and blogger, who admits he is jealous of all the amazing things that librarians are doing throughout the country.  He wants to be a part of it, but his school does not have a full time certificated librarian.  He knows the positive impact a librarian could have on the curriculum at his elementary school and his cry for a full time TL speaks to his admiration and respect of our efforts and approach.  So maybe there is hope yet for me, that I can rely on all the other skills that I have been fortified with in library school: creativity, problem-solving, inclusive team-work, risk-taking, research and student-focus.


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