What is the Role of the 21st Century Teacher-Librarian?

Often, a hesitation expressed by teachers about using Web 2.0 revolves around whether they have time to "fit" new media into their already crowded curriculum.(William Kist, 2010)

In his book, The Socially Networked Classroom: Teaching in the New Media Age, Kist asks the question, "Is there enough time in my schedule for social networking?" As a 21st Teacher Librarian, helping teachers meet existing learning outcomes through the integration of social media and digital technologies is one of my main focusses. Kist outlines m
any examples of incorporating social networking activities in Low, Medium, and High-Tech environments from powerpoint presentations to blogging to online literature circles. In his last chapter, Kist describes what Social Networking could look like in an unlimited tech environment. What would that look like? Well, for starters there would be no filters and teachers would have unlimited access to all Web 2.0 tools, yes, even Facebook and Twitter. There is one teacher that has even gone so far as having a "hybrid" schedule where students participate in class from school and from home. We may not be in the "Unlimited-Tech" environment at Haldane Elementary, but we are hovering somewhere between the Low and Medium Tech environments, and I believe, on our way up.


How I See My Roles as a 21st Century Teacher-Librarian
Leadership Role
  • Curriculum Support
  • Resource Management
  • Continued Personal Professional Development
  • Offer Professional Development Opportunities to Staff
  • Continued Advocacy Towards Exemplary School Library Program

Instructional Role
  • Information Literacy Skills Instruction - research process digital, online, experts, print
  • Inquiry Learning Instruction - Honey Bee Decline project, Chase Water Treatment Plant
  • Internet Safety and Ethics Instruction - Passport to the Internet (MediaSmarts), Zoe & Molly (Canadian Centre for Child Protection)
  • Collaboration with Classroom Teachers - Novel study book trailer, Videoconference collaborations
  • Social Media and Technology Instruction - Online tools as vehicle for sharing not information literacy and transliteracy

You Know You're a 21st Century Teacher-Librarian if . . .

Joyce Valenza, school library advocate and information guru, has created a "Manifesto" for 21st Century Teacher-Librarians. It is a lengthy, three-page document that gives a prolific array of examples of what it means to be an exemplary teacher-librarian in this information, digital age. As I read through it there are MANY examples of learning in the 21st Century that I hope to implement in my library program.

Here are a few examples of what I'm doing now:

You know you're a 21st Century Teacher-Libarian if . . .

". . . You know that searching various areas of the Web requires a variety of search tools. You are the information expert in your building. You are the search expert in your building. You share an every growing and shifting array of search tools that reach into blogs and wikis and Twitter and images and media and scholarly content."

" . . . You organize the Web for learners. You have the skills to create a blog or website or wiki or portal of some other type to pull together resources to meet the specific information needs of your learning community."

" . . . You make sure your learners and teachers can (physically & intellectually) access developmentally and curricularly databases, portals, websites, blogs, videos, and other media."

" . . . Your presence reflects your personal voice. It includes your advice and your instruction, as well as your links. You make learning an engaging and colorful hybrid experience."

AND goals I have for the future . . .

". . . You think of your web presence as a knowledge management tool for your entire school. It includes student-produced instruction and archived (celebrated) student work, handouts, policies, and collaboratively built pathfinders to support learning and research in all learning arenas."

" . . . You know that communication is the end-product of research and you teach learners how to communicate and participate creatively and engagingly. You consider new interactive and engaging communication tools for student projects."

" . . . Include and collaborate with your learners. You let them in. You fill your physical and virtual space with student work, student contributions—their video productions, their original music, their art."

". . . Collection should include: ebooks, audiobooks, open source software, streaming media, flash drives, digital video cameras, laptops, tripods, RSS feeds, and much more! And we should seek effective, federated approaches to ensure these diverse formats and platforms are equally and seamlessly accessible."

" . . . You teach students to care about their own digital footprints–and monitor them using people search tools."

" . . . You consider your role as info-technology scout. You look to make “learning sense” of the authentic new information and communication tools used in business and academics. You figure out how to use them thoughtfully and you help classroom teachers use them with their classes."

" . . . You seek professional development that will help you grow even if it is not offered by your school district. Even if you don’t get PD credit. You can’t “clock” these hours."