Critical Reflection: My Changing View of the Role of the Teacher Librarian

Name: Simone Jane Carlyon

Student Number: 60938153

Subject Code: ETL401

Subject Name: Teacher Librarianship

Assessment Number: 5

Assessment Title:  Assignment 2: Part B: Critical Reflection

My view of the role of the teacher librarian has made a remarkable change since commencing ETL401 Teacher Librarianship. Prior to the course my view of the role of the teacher librarian encompassed resourcing the library, developing reading programs and providing  assistance to staff in relation to team teaching and collating resources that met the need of the current curriculum. Now at the culmination of this subject I realized this is a very limited view of the teacher librarians role and that I have undergone a sharp learning curve.

The readings by Purcell (2010) opened my eyes to the broad roles of the teacher librarian including that of a leader, information specialist, program administer, instructional partner and teacher.  However the blog post by Valenza (2010) I found exciting,  interesting and helpful as it provided practical ideas on what the teacher librarian should be doing in the 21st century. She instilled energy into the library role advocating technology and teaching. After reading this post I new I had made the right decision to retrain as a teacher librarian and was amazed by the amount of new technology that can be used to aid student learning. The area of ICT, providing access and supporting it’s use is an area that I intend to develop.

The compulsory blog posts saw my understanding of the role of the teacher librarian focus on three areas – Principal Support, Evidence Based Practice and Information Literacy.

Principal Support – Blog Post 1

Garnering the support of the Principal will open avenues to provide the best possible service a teacher librarian can through promoting collaboration and advocating the librarians special skills, increasing funds so that adequate resources are provided and highlighting the importance of the library program in relation to improving student performance to staff (Oberg, 2006). The Teacher Librarian’s role involves actions that will result in their Principal’s support. The teacher librarian needs to bring to the table enthusiasm, expertise, leadership, effective communication and innovative skills to ensure principals are aware of the benefits collaborative programs and information seeking support contributes to student learning (Carlyon, 2013a).

Evidenced Based Practice and the Teacher Librarian – Blog Post 2

I must admit prior to the course I had little idea about evidenced based practice and I certainly would not have related it to the Teacher Librarian’s role. I now believe that it is an integral component that has many ‘knock on’ benefits. Evidenced based practice can be defined as the “conscientious, judicious and explicit use of research evidence in making decisions about the instructional role of the librarian” (Todd, 2007, p. 62). It is a framework that involves collecting and analysing evidence to guide planning, implementation and instruction of library programs and determining the effectiveness of these programs in relation to student outcomes. The evidence attained is combined with the librarian’s expertise and experience to inform best practice.  (Todd, 2007, p.60 – 63; Carlyon, 2013b). Evidence can be obtained from two sources: research literature gathered from others or evidence gatherer from the teacher librarian in the form of test scores, student learning journals, rubrics and collection data. Another tool available to Teacher librarians in relation to evidence based practice is the SLIM toolkit (Todd & Kuthlthau et al.,2005). This evidence collected can also be used as an advocacy tool to ensure class teachers and the Principal value the library program and become involved in collaboration.

Information Literacy: more than a set of skills – Blog Post 3

“One of the main roles of the teacher librarian involves teaching and supporting student’s information literacy skills through the use of information literacy models. Information literacy is a complex process involving locating, using and communicating information effectively. It is not merely a set of skills, but a metacognitive process that enables the learner to become literate and succeed in all areas of life” (Carlyon, 3013c). In the current school that I teach information literacy is not embedded into the curriculum units, collaboratively programmed or delivered with the Teacher Librarian. It is the Teacher Librarians role to be a leader in establishing collaborative practices with classroom teachers in devising and teaching units of work that are inclusive of information literacy processes. This will allow students opportunities to practice and refine their information literacy skills. The last assessment task developed an understanding of the Information Search Process (ISP), in particular the NSW DET ISP and Kuhlthau ISP model and of course the foundation they provide for a ‘guided inquiry’ approach to research tasks. Although in my previous teaching I would use parts of the NSW ISP unintentionally e.g. brainstorming ideas with students during the Defining stage (DET NSW, 2007), the whole idea of inquiry learning units opens up avenues to provide a definite teaching role for the Teacher Librarian, motivates and engages students, increases collaborating between the Teacher Librarian and class teachers and provides opportunities to collect reflection data on student learning to aid evidence based practice (Kuhlhua, 2010). The biggest advantage, however, of developing an inquiry learning approach is the satisfaction in seeing students progress and enjoy their learning journey.

Above all the teacher librarian needs to be enthusiastic and proactive in developing relationships with the Principal, class teachers, students, parents and the community to ensure that collaborative practices in developing student outcomes are achieved.


Carlyon, S. (2013a, 3Aug.) The Teacher Librarian and Principal Support. In online learning Journal: PE to TL – The Journey Begins – Reflections and thoughts on ETL401. Retrieved from

Carlyon, S. (2013b, 9Sept).  Evidenced Based Practice and the Teacher Librarian. In online learning Journal: PE to TL – The Journey Begins – Reflections and thoughts on ETL401. Retrieved from

Carlyon, S. (2013c, 22Sept.). Information Literacy: more than a set of skills.  In online learning Journal: PE to TL – The Journey Begins – Reflections and thoughts on ETL401. Retrieved from

Kuhlthau, C. (2010). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st-Century Learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18.

New South Wales Department of Education and Training (2007) Information skills in the school: engaging learners in constructing knowledge Retrieved from

Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians Do Is Check Out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33.

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18.Retrieved from

Todd, R. J. (2007). Evidenced-based practice and school libraries : from advocacy to action. In S. Hughes-Hassell & V. H. Harada School reform and the school library media specialist (pp. 57-78). Westport, CY : Libraries Unlimited.

Valenza, J. (2010) A revised manifesto. In School Library Journal, Retrieved from


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