Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What's My Job?

Pondering the recent blogs of two of my esteemed colleagues (TechnoTuesday and Plays Well With Others) as well as a recurrent theme of our state listserv combined with the (mis)conception my incoming sixth graders have of the school library media center.

I am surprised every year when I ask my (new) sixth grade students what I do. The overwhelming reply (class after class) is some variation of “keeper of the books”.

“Help keep books straight”.
“Check in books.”
“Check out books.”
“Find books for us.”
“Read books to us.”

This year, I posed a new question to them:

“...if all the books in the universe were to vaporize when I snap my fingers, would I have a job?”

And the (almost) unanimous answer is “NO!!”

Really? Unbelieveable! Disheartening. Saddening.

I have the best most exciting job in the entire world! INFORMATION! My job is to teach my school community how to access, evaluate and synthesize information...no matter the format. The bound codex (book) is simply one of a multitude of ever-morphing formats.

Concept Map

Like many dedicated media specialists (teacher-librarians, information specialists) I work extremely hard to remain current in my field in order to better meet the needs of my school community. Striving to be a more accomplished educator, I spend my time engaging in and learning about best practices. I am savvy in current and emerging technologies and their applicability to the educational arena. I am conversant in all curriculum content standards, not just my own. I advocate for collaboration and integrated instruction. I partner with colleagues in multiple content areas across grade levels to impact student achievement. If I am not an integral part of the instructional program at my school, it is because I have failed to make myself that vital piece of the school community. My role is to ensure competencies and success in multimodal literacies.

Who is better poised to prepare our students for their role as productive, global citizens than a 21st Century school library media specialist?