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Headteachers, do you understand the role and value of your school library?

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

Two women in discussion about resources online. Looking at a laptop.

I have loved working with school librarians over the last few years. Their passion and commitment to their schools, students and teachers constantly inspire and delight me. Many really want the opportunity to work closely with teachers in supporting the curriculum and school goals. However, many find they are sitting on the outside as an added extra rather than central to teaching and learning. Many spend a lot of time trying to help their schools understand they have more to offer and I have often wondered how this can change.

I do believe that it comes from training both for school librarians and teachers. Currently, however, teacher training courses don't cover school libraries and their importance to the curriculum and library degrees do not specialise in school librarianship and teaching in the UK. This leaves school librarians out in the cold. Many teachers believe that school libraries are important but beyond Reading for Pleasure they don't know or understand how their school librarian could be supporting teaching and learning.

Engaging and Empowering School Libraries

Having recently started a membership called Engaging and Empowering School Libraries my interest is certainly about helping schools understand the power and value of their school library. This membership is not only for school librarians but teachers too. However, my first cohort is school librarians. This does not surprise me but I wonder how this can change?

The engagement has to come from teachers as well as the school librarian. Engagement means "to make an effort to understand" meaning that not only do school librarians need to understand their school and curriculum goals and align themselves to them but Headteachers, Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and teachers need to understand the educational purpose of the school library and librarian too.

Even the schools, that are lucky enough to have school librarians, still seem to be missing something. There are very few examples of exemplary schools in the UK that are working with their school librarian in a truly well rounded collaborative way that truly links to their curriculum. I do know that Blanchelande College in Guernsey have just employed a full-time school librarian and are making the library central to their curriculum. It would be lovely to have a list of great examples to share, so if you do know of any more please share in the comments below.

How can my membership encourage and support teachers?

It is essential to know and understand what teachers need from their school library. Unfortunately, this is a catch 22 because teachers do not know what they do not know. School librarians offer so much more than is realised or understood.

My membership now includes teachers and school memberships that enable teachers and school librarians to learn together how to support and engage with each other. If you are a Headteacher, member of SLT or teacher who would like to become part of this new membership please contact me. Let's work together going forward. I can see a bright future for school libraries and education but without talking we can't even take those first steps forward.

For more information about all my membership options please click here.

I look forward to talking to you 😊

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