After my post, Twitter Literati for English Teachers, some discussion arose about the reasons why teacher-librarians are so engaged with twitter, social media and digital technologies generally.
Colleagues on Yammer had some good ideas:
Darcy, in schools TLs are one of a kind. We have therefore needed to look beyond our schools for support and guidance. We needed to develop strong networks and participate in listservs etc. Yammer is a natural progression.
Another reason I believe that we seem as prevalent on Twitter and yammer is that we are interested in supporting all curriculum areas, all staff and students,accessing, evaluating and providing all different formats of resources for all the different learning styles. It means we have our hands in many buckets….constantly scouring for valuable snippets.
I suspect there’s a comfort-zone divide between English and Maths-Science-Technology. Certainly not universal, but I reckon some people don’t find experimenting with technology interesting. They have not done it much and see no reason to start. But Librarians have faced a revolution over at least 40 years where they have constantly faced technological change in order to keep their libraries cutting edge and relevant; especiallly teacher-librarians who have to make libraries appealing to youth. They’ve seen their role as making available media more broadly, not just books. They’ve gone through reel-to-reel tapes, video tape, casette tapes, DVDs, internet in libraries changing from card catalogues to computers, bar codes instead of borrowing cards etc etc. Their whole life has been adapting to new technology every couple of years. English teachers (to over-generalise) haven’t formed such habits. Gutenburg’s technology has pretty well met their needs.
Some would also say that T/L’s have had the benefit of being able to see “the big picture”..that comes partly from supporting ALL the KLA’s…and I suspect also that people attracted to librarianship are generally people who enjoy exploring the full range of human knowledge. I would posit most teacher-librarians as creators of the revolution rather than just reacting to change.
My librarian at school is the hub of the school. And she has mentioned a strong library network. She is always getting emails regarding new ideas and things to share. Being cross-disciplinary and sharers of information they more readily seek to better all KLA’s and don’t have one focus. They are the best!
There are many who have been tweeting and blogging about technology trends, as well as books, for years. Judy O’Connell is a favourite and one of the longest running blogs where I read almost every post.
The Bright Ideas blog also has many many great posts and tweets too.
You also find that teacher-librarians are especially friendly, obliging tweeple, like Victor and Audrey.
Here’s a lengthy list of Australian teacher-librarians on twitter.
*Photo Credit: Thanks to Buffy Hamilton
I believe you will find that teacher librarians, especially those who play with technology, to be passionate life-long learners and collaborators. We are often the go-to people for information and resources (print and electronic) in our schools. We are trail blazers, innovators, and professional development sherpas. We are often departments of one, which places us in leadership roles where we act as agents of change. Developing personal learning networks through social networking opportunities provides us with virtually unlimited opportunities for data mining, resource finding, and collaboration. These are the ties that bind us and unite us with the local and global educational communities. So pleased to have “met” you. You have quickly become an integral part of my network!
School librarians are often physically isolated and marginalised within the school power structure. The position itself as a generic system role is unclear and its future is uncertain. We operate “at the discretion of the principal” above staffing allocations. Thus we are effectively location based rather than sector or profession based. If we want to be more than inventory managers we need to find community to define ourselves and our functions. 21st century ICT gives us the tools to do that and any TL feeling the need to remain relevant has to get out there or wilt in the back room. We can now connect and interact with not only other TLs who thrive on challenge but KLA teachers and administrators who see the library as more than a physical repository of books and a child minding centre.
Thank you for your big thinking and acting on behalf of libraries and TLs. The future is here and you are clearly in it.