The role of the librarian in a present-day educational institution is one who is conversant in the knowledge of contemporary teaching practices. He/She is aware of the curriculum needs of the elementary, secondary school and finds ways to enrich the program for the students, teachers and the parent community.
By nature, many librarians are shy and modest individuals, but given the impetus, information and the skills, they like any other educator will shine, blossom and surprise themselves and others. Including librarians in meetings, help them become familiar with the teaching language and can find ways to support Language Literacy along with information and media Literacy. Library periods are not meant only to issue books, magazines, and other materials. It is a time for the Librarians to engage with the students, giving them options and a variety of strategies to support their reading. Merely decoding words is insufficient, learning to recognize the different crafts of writing and connecting it to students learning, is something Librarians can reinforce. The Library curriculum may begin with the procedural instructions about how to use a library and the different uses of books and information. The Library curriculum must include other objectives to help students define, learn and practice different Literacy Skills. Some areas of literacy skills may consist of recognizing the voice and purpose of the writing, comparing and contrasting different characters. Students may explore different genres, reinforce close reading texts, appreciate various forms of poetry as well as giving opportunities for students to write stories, poems or even comic books.
Besides literacy, supporting students in learning how to find resources for their project work, learning to use keywords, subject heading, paraphrasing, using different sentence starters, analyzing sources of information and finally synthesizing all the information and presenting is not an easy task. It is essential not only to become information Literate but to become an Information Activist, where individuals are empowered to instruct others on how to use information ethically.
We are surrounded by media, knowing how to decipher propaganda from news, facts from fiction and recognize biases are some of the elements that adults find it hard to learn. Therefore, LIbrarians could use the library classes to teach, reinforce and explain the importance of media literacy through a variety of engagements helping students become proficient in analyzing media and information appropriately.
Librarians are extensions of teachers, they support, reinforce all the necessary skills required for students to become successful global citizens who respect others’ ideas and beliefs and are empathetic to the cultures and needs of others. They can perform these tasks, given the opportunity to learn and provide opportunities.
Becoming familiar with technology tools is an added asset for all librarians. Information flows through print and digital media, therefore, learning several web 2.0 tools to create stories, poems, using different visual representative web tools to present data or information is becoming an essential ingredient in the role of a librarian.
Gone are the days, when the librarian was a bookkeeper who guarded the books — time to evolve and move ahead to meet the needs of our future learners.
Thanks for writing this article and sharing your expertise with us.
Ms. Heeru Bhojwani (Adhyayan assessor)