Who guides selection? The difference in roles between a Teacher Librarian and Teacher.

There is significant difference between the teachers’ and teacher librarian’s role in selecting and using resources. Whilst the teacher can suggest or request items they may need or want for their class, the teacher librarian has a greater functioning knowledge of the process of selection with a focus upon the priorities of the school as a whole.

Primarily, the selection of resources is a systematic process. There is a standard way in which the teacher librarian has to select resources.
Each school should have a functioning collection development guide. It should also have a procedure for the selection of materials. These are used to allocate funds wisely and to make sure that the budget is being spent in the most appropriate way.  The teacher librarian’s job is to be aware of these procedures and adhere to them so that suitable resources are provided for all students. The teachers have not been trained in collection management and may not have an understanding of the process of material selection, or be aware of the budget and constraints that are placed upon this selection procedure. Teachers do not have the knowledge of the acquisition process. For example, the suppliers/book sellers the school uses, what may be on standing order, the priorities of the school, the designated budget for each area of the collection etc.

Furthermore, the teacher librarian has a broad knowledge of the entire curriculum and is able to assess the usefulness of each resource. The teacher librarian has formal training in collection development that will enhance student achievement, support student learning, enrich teaching and learning and add value to the library collection.

However, in discussing the differences of the role of the teacher and the teacher librarian in selecting and using resources, it is important to emphasise that a collaborative approach needs to be adopted. The teacher should be able to assess the usefulness of resources and make recommendations for new resources. This ensures that the resources are functional and useful to the teachers in the classroom as well as to the students within the library.

In my opinion, one of the best ways for collaboration is by having a request form of which any member of the school community can place a suggestion for order for the teacher librarian to consider. Whether the form is online, physical, or both, the request process needs to be supported with effective communication allowing the teacher librarian to notify the individual of the selection or rejection of an item and the reasons for the outcome. The request form can be simplified for the younger primary students, verbal requests could also be taken from the youngest school students.


I think I will leave you with this thought…