TEN BEST THINGS ABOUT BEING A TEACHER LIBRARIAN
I’ve always said that being the Teacher Librarian is the best job in the school. Just before I retire from WGSS, I thought I’d explain why. In no particular order…
Being able to chat to our teens, discover their interests and successfully track down a good read that matches their interests.
“OMG this book was amazing.!” “I couldn’t stop reading this novel and wondered if you have something else just like this!” “I don’t read books, but this one was really good.” I’m thrilled when this happens as sometimes it only takes one great read to change attitudes towards reading.
When a student realizes that using a database to locate online information really is faster and more useful than simply Googling. I love peering over shoulders to watch our students automatically open the WGSS Library website on the computers, link to the databases, and navigate these resources with ease. A big thank you to our teachers who recognize the importance of integrating information literacy in their lesson planning, which brings me to my next favourite thing…
Creating collaboratively-designed lessons with our WGSS Staff. It’s so satisfying to locate potential resources for a specific curriculum topic, share these with the teacher, and work together to develop a lesson which will achieve the intended learning and yet be as engaging as possible. It’s even more fun to actually test-drive this lesson together with the class in the Library.
Being able to draw on the expertise and talents of our school community to make our Library space as dynamic and useful a space as possible. Some examples of contributions: the Library Advisory Council students provided feedback and suggestions such
as developing our mission statement, furniture selections, website features/ changes; Mr. Gordon offered his own artistic talents and student art projects as displays; the WGSS Print Shop decorated the walls and windows with innovative vinyl creations, quotes, and signage; Mr. Kitteringham has been an avid supporter from supplying mousetraps to ordering new Annex furniture; and the District Maintenance Shop created new custom countertops and bookshelves to solve design issues. Without these amazing people and others, we wouldn’t have been able to transform our Library into the welcoming space it is today. Truly it has taken a “village”.
Being able to find the perfect source of information to support a student’s research quest – whether a chapter or a few pages in a non-fiction book, or an
online article. Chatting with students about their inquiry projects is so interesting and I’m constantly amazed by their varied interests as well as the depth of knowledge acquired by the time they have finished their research journey.
Working hard to design and set up a themed book display and then have students immediately “destroy” it by signing out all the books! I may complain in jest, but I actually love it when this happens because promoting reading was, after all, the purpose in creating the display in the first place!
Spending my days alongside an amazing library technician – one who works with me as a true partner, who is imaginative, always positive, and has the talents to turn my crazy ideas into gold. Did I mention that Mrs. Harpur is also very tech-savvy – and yet patient enough to teach me as well. Recently we’ve added a teaching block and student teaching assistants to the library team and this has given me an amazing opportunity to continue to learn from others and to gain new perspectives on how to enhance our Library program.
Being able to browse through a bookstore to find the latest recommended novels and then have the Library pay for them! Honestly, it doesn’t get better than this when you love to read as much as I do. I’m so lucky to have a job that feeds into my passion.
Reading my choice of these new books first – before anyone else. Even before they are added to the library catalogue and are processed! There is nothing like being the first person to hold that book in your hands, to inhale that new book smell, to open the first pages, and settle in to enjoy the story. This has definitely been a real perk that I have never taken for granted.
Tapping into my passion as a life-long learner. Technology - instruction - sharing - choosing! This role means constantly learning more about technology, exploring new approaches to instruction, sharing ideas with staff and choosing my own 'adventure' in the work I tackle every day. In other words, as the school's Teacher Librarian, it's my job to establish clear goals to encourage student learning and then develop the best possible action plan to help them achieve these goals.
It’s been a challenging and fabulous 16 years as the Walnut Grove Secondary’s Teacher Librarian. A special thank you to former principal Mary Wright for her belief in me even when I didn’t know I was capable of such a challenge and to husband Henry for pestering me to apply for the job. Thanks to George Kozlovic for supporting the library’s shift to a learning commons model and for acknowledging that a teacher librarian belongs on the Leadership Team. I am so appreciative to all the colleagues who I have learned from over the years – many of you have developed into close friends. And, of course, a special thanks to all the students I have had the pleasure to work with – it has been a privilege. Joanie Proske
The WGSS Libr@ry Learning Commons is a welcoming and inclusive place whose mission is to support and extend student learning. In this dynamic physical or digital space, decisions are made in consultation with the school community, and through the lens of what is best for each individual student. - Joanie Proske Teacher Librarian 2005-2020