Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In sunny LA, librarians are not "teachers." How grandiose.

Whilst relaxing over the Memorial Day weekend, I saw this article come through the blogosphere: "L.A. School District Tells Librarians: You're Not Teachers." Available at http://n.pr/m1UW7A
After seeing that, I was no longer relaxed. Thank goodness for BBQ and beer and mosquitoes to get me back in the mood of the weekend. But I digress.
Om nom nom on my arm.
Hoo boy, this librarian/media-specialist-as-superfluous-employee trend had better stop before it begins or else the US may end up trending toward this. As usual, all librarians need to step up the marketing and explain or demonstrate to their colleagues and employers why they are indeed teachers. A lot of times what we teach is off the standardized curricular map. There is probably not a single one of us librarian/public servants that wouldn't consider ourselves teachers, be it of reading, critical thinking, resume writing, navigating the Internet, navigating to the bathroom, job searching, information finding, emailing, current events, blogging, source evaluation, spelling, culture, history, research strategies, web design, oral and written communication, globalization, computer software, healthcare, taxes, self-reflection, community involvement and civic organizations, "Netiquette," customs, English and other languages, stewardship, plagiarism, creativity, and trust.
That last sentence: It was long. And I could've gone on. But I think the point was mildly made that librarians do teach--maybe just not to the tests and curricular standards.
As we move forward in our futurist planning, we need to consider:
  • How does one define what it means to be a teacher--not just in theory but in the eyes of school districts, administrators, job descriptions, parents, community members, ????
  • How do the skills and information librarians teach line up with state and national learning standards?
  • Do librarians need to overtly "teach to the test"--that glorious trend in education right now--so that their educational contributions may be measured?
  • Or is this a better model to consider? http://ntrls.org/downloads/EDCFeb2011.pdf
What do you, the reader, think about this? When did librarian and teacher become two disconnected entities in the eyes of some? Were they ever considered synonymous terms by those outside the field of librarianship? Why or why not? In your opinion, are librarians teachers?

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