Ever have a student say, “You used to be a teacher? I thought you were a librarian!” It might be the quickest gauge of whether we are telling our story–that we are teacher- librarians, able to shelve books, run circulation, and be a vital part of the faculty providing curricular instruction and support. Personally, I’ve heard it more than I would like to admit!
Librarians are generally humble, service-oriented people. We don’t like to brag about what we do, and many of us prefer to be behind instead of in front of the camera. However, the stereotypes that most people have about librarians can only be broken down by us, letting people–our students, our staff, our parents, all of our stakeholders–know what it is that we do, and do well. And that is teach!
When we have opportunities to collaborate, we must let people see the result. Take pictures. Make a quick video. Publish anecdotes from students about what they learned and examples of student work. Display work in the hall or in the library. This serves multiple purposes:
It’s an advertisement! When other teachers and students see what we can do, they will want to participate.
It’s an artifact! These items can be used by both the librarian and teacher as examples of collaboration for evaluation purposes.
It’s evidence! We have just had a successful collaboration and we can prove it to others. They will begin seeing us doing work beyond taking care of the books and computers.
If your library has a blog, a social media account, or a website, post it! If not, share it with your campus’ webmaster or social media coordinator, or do both! The more pictures you use of your students and teachers, the more attention you will get. Most of us are vain enough to want to see our pictures and work published somewhere.
Be sure your administrators have seen it as well. They are so often bombarded with problems–taking a moment to see the result of good teaching is worth their time. And it just might help break those stereotypes we are always trying to shake.
So, if you’ve just collaborated with the science teacher, like the librarian colleague of mine in this picture, put it on your blog as she did. Seeing the librarian teaching a science lab is definitely pushing the boundaries of what people expect to see us doing!
Next week, we’ll wrap up the Keys to Collaboration series with a look at reflection and why it is so important to the process.
Author: Jennifer Laboon
Jennifer LaBoon is the Coordinator of Library Technology in Fort Worth ISD. She serves on the AASL Blog Committee, on the Executive Board of the Texas Library Association, volunteers with a local children’s musical theater group, and is an avid TCU fan.