ETL401 – Assessment 2: Critical Reflection

Defining the role of the Teacher Librarian has been a continual learning journey for me within ETL401. Currently working within a public library, and previous experience with Teacher Librarians through working as a teacher within schools, did not provide me with sufficient knowledge of the ‘diverse and multifaceted role’ of the Teacher Librarian (Herring, 2007).

Commencing the course, I began reflecting upon the different role perceptions that are presumed of the Teacher Librarian stating how ‘expectations can differ from person to person, professional to professional. A parent defines Teacher Librarians one way, a Principal another and each places emphasis upon differing aspects of our roles that they see as more important’ (Thorley, 2013a).

I soon realised that a considerable role of the Teacher Librarian involved the prioritisation of roles in order to suit the needs of all individuals. Therefore my learning centred upon becoming aware of the skills required to effectively carry out my roles and responsibilities as a Teacher Librarian. It was then that I began to realise that it wasn’t just about teaching and learning, library management and resource provision, or ICT knowledge and integration but about advocacy, collaboration, transparency, accountability and organisation.

I have been pleased with the significant amount of reflection I have been able to engage in whilst studying this course. Not just because Teacher Librarians engage in reflective practice to increase their effectiveness (Purcell, 2010) but for the reason that it has allowed me to better understand how to successfully perform the roles expected of me.

With the ever changing world and the concept of lifelong/lifewide learning, it became quite clear that the role of the Teacher Librarian needs to incorporate a significant amount of flexibility. Preparing and planning for change and keeping abreast of the many demands upon the time, resources, and knowledge of the Teacher Librarian is a vital responsibility in order to effectively meet the needs of all individuals who rely upon and have expectations of us. This is a perception that I developed through interactions upon our subject forum, something that I enjoyed reading as we all students were bringing to the discussion different background knowledge and opinions.

The Teacher Librarian’s role is not limited to being an information specialist, or a teacher, but further includes the support and implementation of the vision of our school communities through advocacy and building effective library and information services and programs (ALIA & ASLA, 2004). What advocacy looks like in the school context involves the Teacher Librarian being always aware of opportunities to develop strategies and possibly influence decision making for the betterment of the students, the school library, and the profession. With the twenty-first century proving to be a rapidly changing technological world, the role of the Teacher Librarian is to continue to be aware of, and implement, new strategies and approaches that advocate for the meaningful and beneficial existence of the school library and the Teacher Librarian (Bonanno & Moore, 2009).

Our role involves not only the teaching of students within an information-rich environment, but the additional professional development of our colleague teachers and the promotion of the library as an innovative and supportive environment for teaching and learning (Lamb, 2011). Additionally, the role of the Teacher Librarian encompasses the responsibility of encouraging the implementation of collaborative teaching and promoting the academic benefits and teaching outcomes that can come from its integration, and collaborative planning including developing the goals and visions of a collaborative environment within the school setting (Thorley, 2013b).

ETL401 Blog Task Two, in which I investigated the role of the Teacher Librarian with regard to Constructivist Learning and the Australian Curriculum, allowed me to make the realisation that the role of the Teacher Librarian has changed from the narrator of knowledge and learning, into a facilitator and enabler of independent learning (Thorley, 2013c).  At the core of the Teacher Librarian’s role is learning and literacy and the responsibility of improving student learning outcomes. Our role is distinctive because we hold multiple qualifications in the field of teaching and library information services (Girolami & Ryan, 2008) and we are responsible for developing curriculum learning programs as well as implementing information literacy programs.

The Teacher Librarian holds a significant leadership role in promoting and supporting teaching and learning within multi-modal, multi-literate twenty-first century learning environments. Whether we are planning collaborative or individual teaching programs, creating and enhancing quality teaching and learning environments, performing library management duties, or advocating for the implementation of new programs or improvement of facilities, we are doing it for the opportunity to enhance and improve student learning and achievement.






Australian School Library Association (ASLA) & Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). (2004). Library standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved 1st June, 2013, from

Bonanno, K., & Moore, R. (2009). Advocacy: reason, responsibility and rhetoric. Australian School Library Association (ASLA). Retrieved February 2, 2013, from School-library-advocacy.aspx

Girolami, A. & Ryan, S. (2008). The Role of the Teacher Librarian in Learning and Literacy. Incite, 29(5). Retrieved 1st June, 2013, from;dn= 103462610419815;res=IELHSS

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century: Charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with Potential: Mixing a Media Specialist’s Palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning. 55(4), 27-36. Retrieved 1st June, 2013, from http://

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books right? A look at the roles of the school library media specialist. Library Media Connection 29(3), 30-33. Retrieved 28th May, 2013, from

Thorley, J. (2013a). Role of the Teacher Librarian. Module 2.1 ETL401 Teacher Librarianship. Charles Sturt University.

Thorley, J. (2013b). Teacher Librarian’s Role in Collaborative Teaching. Module 5. ETL401 Teacher Librarianship. Charles Sturt University.

Thorley, J. (2013c). ETL401: Blog Task 2 – The role of the Teacher Librarian with regard to Constructivist Learning and the Australian Curriculum. From The Little Things Blog. Retrieved 1st June, 2013, from




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