and a 2018 President’s Award winner.
Yet somehow I’m just as busy as I was in our old school, if not more so because of my movement around the whole building (my Fitbit likes this), so why am I questioning myself and worried that I am not keeping up? Part of this is just general age and self-awareness, but also I read daily questions on various school library related social media networks about the role of librarian and I am continually reminded of how very different every library position is, so I am not alone in that respect. And it’s not just by grade level, but also school size, administrative philosophy, institutional pedagogy, cultural norms and school climate that all play a part in our role in the library.
While my title is library media specialist, I’m more accurately a teacher librarian, I teach a course called Research Media Projects to all 7th & 8th graders as a part of their regular specials rotation. Because we are in a learning studio for class, it often doesn’t register with students that I am the librarian until they are standing in front of my desk checking out a book during an enrichment block or before school.
I’ve been an educator for nearly two decades, and it was always very clear what my position was as a high school English teacher. Sure the classes I taught changed from year to year, but no one thought twice about what my job was. I’m confident that the departments that I now work with most, ELA and Social Studies, know the scope of my position, but just the other day a math teacher, who I see most days, seemed to just now realize that I am indeed charged with both teaching, collection development and all the other administrative duties of a librarian.
I suspect it is these deep differences in the roles library media specialist play that makes it a position that is often on the chopping blocks for districts; without definition the lack of understanding from decision makers provides an easy cut. This is my fifth year as an LMS and I feel like I am learning what more I what can do or can be for our students and staff, as well as how much that can change from year to year. With that said I want my role to be defined enough for my colleagues that the position is always seen as an essential component of our school, and not just because I fill a block in student schedules. I also hope that I will continue to be able to contribute to the greater school library community conversations as I recognize the commonalities my role continues to share with others’ and be able to offer insight into my varied role that might be useful to our collective experiences.