Donna in the library

adventurous beginnings

Compare and contrast the above views of Herring, Purcell, Lamb, and Valenza.

March 27, 2013 by donnastephens · No Comments · ELT401

Herring’s article views the role of the TL as one that in the coming decade will see a greater emphasis on staff flexibility, participative management and a rapid evolution on the nature of the work performed. He also talks of TL’s working smarter not harder. He stresses the importance of providing hard evidence about their role within the school.

Purcell seeks for clarification on the role of the TL. Purcell’s time study observation is a useful tool as a practitioner to self-reflect and evaluate performance and perhaps use this as evidence.

Lamb’s palette is very optimistic in it talks of the potential of the TL’s evolving role. She gives an optimistic view of the role of the librarian but stresses the need that school media specialists or TLs must have the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and dispositions to turn this potential into reality.

Each author had high expectations of the TL and all recognized the many dimensions of this role. I would follow Herring’s advice in that it is clear that no teacher librarian could fulfill all of these roles at the same time and teacher librarians who manage their time effectively prioritize roles according to the current needs of students, staff and parents in the school community.


The palette of potential








Libraries will change

Learning and teaching in context

School Library Mission

Standards for the school Library

The role of the TL

Information Literacy in schools

Collection development

Information services to students and teachers

The School Library web site and intranet


Clarification needed

Defining the role


Information specialist
Program administrator

Instructional partner








Information landscape

Collection development

Access, equity advocacy

Audience and


Copyright copyleft            I  Information ethics

New technology tools

Professional development        and professionalism

Teaching and learning

As a librarian it is important to be involved in events and the school community; to be seen about the school on a face to face basis. Not just virtually but face to face. Lamb gives the example of the school media specialist collaborating with the science teacher on a water-testing project. These partnerships are an important step toward collaboration.

Lamb argues that school libraries are losing professional  positions due to the inability of school media specialists to convince the need for TLs. This concerns me that one should have to also be an advocate for their job.

I am wondering how I can achieve all these tasks and what I would need to give up in order to do so. In some school libraries the IT integration teacher/ coach or the Digital Literacy coach shares office space within the Library. This is an ideal way to share and collaborate and form partnerships within the school.

Ensuring that goals and plans are consistent with those of the school’s mission or action plan would be a good starting point in allowing myself to be more proactive in needed areas. Farmer suggests that TLs need to align their efforts with the school’s mission and the principal’s vision. TLs can help principals become more proactive in fostering collaboration. Whilst the order of the roles may have been suggestive of their importance for the authors of the papers I see all the areas as important and some areas needing more of a ‘push’ at different times (in response to ‘hard’ evidence) in order to better serve the needs of the students, staff, school and community.

The role of a TL seems enormous and overwhelming. After working in Early Years education for many years, when teachers had to strongly advocate and educate on the importance of young learning and play, I feel again I am in a position that has to advocate my role. This makes me uncomfortable. I hope by making myself indispensable to my school and library then I won’t need to do this.


Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information (pp.27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36. doi:10.1007/s11528-011-0509-

Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians Do Is Check Out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33. Available from

Valenza, J. (2010, December 3). A revised manifesto [Blog post]. In School Library Journal. Retrieved from:

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