Teacher-Librarians play an important role: Inspiring, teaching and nurturing a love of reading

What is a Teacher-Librarian?As the Resource Teacher for the Simcoe County District School Board, my job is to support the Teacher-Librarians in our 104 schools. Teacher-Librarians do more than purchase, read and shelve books. With careful consideration, they compile a collection of relevant and appropriate resources in digital or paper formats for students and teachers. They co-teach, co-plan and co-assess with their colleagues to create realistic and meaningful learning opportunities for students in all grades and in all subject areas. Teacher-Librarians lead learners in their schools as they gain expertise in new initiatives and new technological practices.

In my 23 years of teaching, 13 of them have been as the Teacher-Librarian of an elementary school. The style and format of reading has changed over time but the love of reading has never diminished. Students and teachers still explore ideas, ask questions, imagine, discover and create.

Teacher-Librarians help students by:

Cultivating a love of reading
More students reported that they enjoyed reading if they had a full-time qualified Teacher-Librarian in their school. Teacher-Librarians are able to help students find “just the right book” by determining a student’s interest. Teacher-Librarians participate in reading programs such as Forest of Reading and Battle of the Books to create excitement and reading engagement. One of the best ways Teacher-Librarians encourage enthusiastic readers is to put excellent reading resources into the hands of classroom teachers for their read-alouds.

Inspiring and teaching as collaborators
Teacher-Librarians teach in their classroom called the library or the Learning Commons. It is the hub of the school, connecting students, teachers and concepts. At the core of any search for information, any new idea, you will find Teacher-Librarians. They are the “go-to person” when all learners in the school adopt new technological practices and they ensure that staff and students use the new tools to enhance or accelerate learning. They teach students of all grades, in all subjects and they are key to helping classroom teachers integrate teaching and new technologies. Many initiatives, such as learning through inquiry, require a variety of resources and collaboration among teachers. A Teacher-Librarian is the in-school support for the development of critical thinking skills and digital citizenship concepts.

Nurturing a sense of well-being
Teacher-Librarians take pride in creating safe and welcoming places for students of all ages with the thoughtful and inclusive selection of resources and materials in the Learning Commons. It doesn’t matter if it is your first year in school or your graduating year, the Teacher-Librarian is one of the trusted adults in your school who knows you by name. Teacher-Librarians build relationships with students and staff over many years.

There are endless ways in which Teacher-Librarians support their students. The key is the connections Teacher-Librarians offer – to the student, to explore his interests, to challenge her thinking, and to support growth and development of everyone in education.

Melissa Jensen
Instructional Resource Teacher
Teacher-Librarian, SCDSB

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