When I tell people what my major is, I get asked why do you need a masters degree? Do you need all that time to learn the dewey decimal system? What does a librarian do besides stock shelves with books and put them in order?
Who knows what the librarian does? Well the librarian does and should work with the stakeholders of the school to let them know what they can offer and how they can provide for the needs of the school and the stakeholders. Recently I interviewed a teacher, a librarian and an administrator about different roles and responsibilities held by the librarian and I found that the knowledge of what a librarian can do is not widely known even within the school so I wanted to take the time and write why this role is important and why the library itself is important.
The library is there to provide a safe space for stakeholders to find the information, literature, programs, etc that they are looking for. This should include how to enhance research methods, citation lessons or pointers, assistance with job searches, and so much more. The librarian is there to assist teachers through co-teaching or collaboration where the librarian will offer assistance to enhance a project or assist with a lesson by providing a new technology component. A librarian should promote a love of reading by ensuring the collection is up to date and will review the checkout data to ensure that the books that are in the collection are what the stakeholders want and need. The librarian should attend conferences (local, state and national, if possible) and network with other librarians to learn what works, what doesn’t, get ideas on how to enhance the library but also to learn of new technologies and how they can improve the learning/teaching processes.
The library and the librarian are essential to enhancing, growing and changing to meet the needs of the school. They are there to lead the school towards the goals they have and ensure they are met. It is important to have this role available because they can teach not only the students but all stakeholders about important tips, tricks and technologies that can bring interactive, engaging and enhanced methods of learning, teaching and researching. They can also teach the importance of safety in using the technologies through digital literacy training.
There are many things a librarian can do to bring the school closer to its goals but they cannot do these things without the help, advocacy and cooperation of all stakeholders in the school. They can provide data and reasoning for all of their decisions but they should have the support of the school to help make all of the goals a reality.