Why School Librarians are the Literacy Leaders We Need

Van Duzee, Alyssa

(CO) Collaboration

Sacks, A. (2018, May 30). Why school librarians are the literacy leaders we need. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/whole_story/2018/05/why_school_librarians_are_lite.html

This article essentially summarizes some of the key components regarding what a librarian does. Since many libraries are underutilized (for a multitude of reasons), the article provides good insight as to what a high functioning library can offer. It also touches on the importance of the librarian truly being a literacy leader on campus.

This article is important because it showcases the impact that the librarian can have on a campus. Teachers are amazing and definitely influence their students within their classrooms. but having another person to support literacy campus-wide is only going to help support them. The article concludes with a call to action to support more well-trained certificated librarians being hired on school campuses. Funding is always an issue, but librarians can offer a lot of support and really become a leader on campus.


A Co-Teaching Example

Robillard, Gail

Cohen, S. (2015). Coteaching. Teacher Librarian, 42(5), 8-11. Retrieved at http://web.b.ebscohost.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=1ae20cc1-8add-48df-8132-d57e135aca98%40sessionmgr104&vid=8&hid=116

After documenting the research that supports the benefits of co-planning, coteaching, and coassessing student learning outcomes to improve instruction and student learning, author Sydnye Cohen describes a ninth grade social studies unit she was involved in as a humanities librarian at New Canaan High School in Connecticut in the 2013-2014 school year. The content of the unit was the reasons for the collapse or survival of ancient civilizations. Collaboration for the unit was instigated by the department chair and ultimately involved 5 out of the 6 social studies teachers and the author. The teaching group decided on essential questions and goals, including having the students work collaboratively in small teams to research and share their findings using multiple platforms. It was also important to the author that the students learn how to appropriately evaluate and cite their sources. 

Two aspects of the article were of  particular interest to me. First, the author identified and discussed very specific choices that were made when designing the coteaching structure. For example, students were required to use the CRAP test to determine a sources’s authority, and while each social studies teacher assigned his or her own weight to this assessment, it was the author who graded the works consulted and provided feedback to the students so they could improve on the next phase of the project. The author included a diagram of the hierarchy of coteaching. These and other coteaching choices really provide almost a template for successful coteaching. 

Second, the author noted several assessments and tech tools that I want to investigate, such as the CRAP test, Tools for Real Time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (TRAILS), smore.com infographics, padlet.com electronic whiteboard, and lucidpress.com as a collaborative platform. 

School Librarian and Leadership

Thompson, Ayana
CO-School Organization

ROOTS LEWIS, K. (2016). The School Librarian and Leadership What Can Be Learned? (Cover story). Teacher Librarian, 43(4), 18-21.

Summary: Author gives tips on how school librarian can play an integral role in teaching and learning schoolwide. She gives helpful tips on how to interact with teachers, staff, and administration to effect change.  

Rating: I thought the tips were particularly useful for anyone entering the field of education and navigating through the web of personalities and roles at in a school.


Thompson, Ayana
CO-School Organization
Moreillon, J. (2016,  October 7) Coteaching: A Strategic Evidence-Based Practice for Collaborating School Librarians Retrieved from http://blog.schoollibraryconnection.com/2016/10/07/coteaching-a-strategic-evidence-based-practice-for-collaborating-school-librarians/
Summary: The author’s research highlights how the learning commons (LC) mode; evidence-based practice (EBP); and coteaching  are the 3 measurable differences in student learning outcomes.  

Rating: I thought this was a great summary of the deepest form of collaboration and brief description of how these 3 aspects of space, practice, and behavior work together to impact student learning.

Richness and Depth libraries provide to schools

Martin, Jeanette
CO-School Organization

Smith, A. (2008). Touching the ground: the human dimension of teacher librarianship. Access     
      (10300155), 22(4), 31-33. 
In regards to putting a defining value of the work of a librarian, school librarian Andrew Smith had this to say about his profession at the end of his career: “The value of the library as a central place within this school culture might be gauged by guessing where the social and educational interactions which now occur here would be relocated if the library did not exist. The reality is that the school would be impoverished by such a loss. The value of the human thread in library as place is incalculable. Although our policies point to the educational purpose and value-adding of libraries and teacher librarians within schools our school libraries function as complex social and cultural spaces. The contribution made by teacher librarians in these spaces is irreplaceable. In their own unique ways, they add a richness and depth to schools as they manage these spaces and the students who occupy them.” (2008). This is what I need to remember as I go about the daily task of being and evolving as a school librarian.

This article no matter how true it may be is not a valued argument when it come to the decisions made of closing libraries or laying off library workers. 

What Teachers Need from Researchers

Mary Fobbs-Guillory


Saul, Roger. (2016) Education and the mediated subject: What today’s teacher’s need most from researchers of youth and media. Journal of Children and Media, 10(2). Pp.156-163

Roger Saul shares that the majority of today’s educators are still operating with archaic understanding of what young people are capable of and how to engage them in school.  He argues that researchers need to provide educators with a better understanding of their students’ potential to make meaningful contributions to their education.  He also shares that teachers may not realize they are marginalizing their students by not allowing students the opportunity to explore their identity and express themselves as they learn in school.

Saul has offers a balanced perspective in his argument as he shares that teachers too are regulated and may not have the autonomy to change how they address students needs.  He shares that districts need to trust teachers more and allow them to do what research says is best for students.  This was interesting to read as an educator because I often felt that in district schools, teacher’s don’t have much of a voice and they have to do what they are told or else find a new school to work at.  It is encouraging that some people see the need to empower teachers who can in turn empower students to be more involved and engaged in their education.

Collaborative Relationships with Principals

Eric Sanderson


Moreillon, J. (2014, December / 2015, January). Collaborative relationships with principals. School Library Monthly, 31(3), 27-28.

Summary. In this brief article, Moreillon speaks directly to school librarians about the importance of establishing positive collaborative relationships with school principals. Both descriptive and prescriptive in its content, Moreillon’s article offers an introduction to the ways in which such relationships can (a) enrich a school’s learning and teaching ecosystem and (b) develop the professional experience and expertise of school librarians and principals.

Evaluation. While we spend a great deal of time considering collaborative relationships between classroom teachers and teacher librarians, Moreillon’s article reminds us that such relationships are often predicated on or shaped by the institutional framework developed or implemented by school principals. Moreillon’s article provides a useful introduction to understanding the ways in which teacher librarians can carve out and/or develop their niche within a school’s learning and teaching ecosystem by working proactively with school-level administrators. Also, it is worth noting that this article speaks to the Cutting Edge E (Expertise and Leadership) component of the LIITE model.

Physical Space + Thinking = Cultures of Learning

Brandt, Alisa

Lange, J. (2016, August 9). Physical space + learning = cultures of learning
    [Blog post]. Retrieved from Independent Ideas website: http://aislnews.org/



This is a very short blog post about how physical spaces in a school (and library) should reflect the kind of learning activity that takes place there. Lange was inspired to write this post after attending a conference in which author Ron Ritchhart presented a session based off of his book, Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools. Richhart suggests that the activity in a classroom “shifts” from one in which the teacher presents material to the class to one where students and adults can work collaboratively. Richhart suggests that there are three kinds of learning spaces: “caves” (for individuals); “watering holes” (small groups); and “campfires” (large groups led by a “storyteller”).
The article continues with some suggestions for creating these spaces. Lange recommends displaying student work and surfaces covered in whiteboard paint so students can demonstrate their thinking. She also shares that she created a kind of Harry Potter “house sorting” book display for students to “sort” their summer reading into one of the three houses from the book. This demonstrates peer thinking in an open and shared space. And finally Lange offers another suggestion from Richhart to go on a “ghost walk” through other educators’ classrooms to get a sense of the kind of activities and what types of learning happens there and how that can be enhanced by the library.

Evaluation: I am very interested in reading Mr. Richhart’s book after reading Lange’s post but I have to say that I see some underwhelming examples of how to use the author’s suggestions. I would be curious to know more about Richhart’s thinking about physical spaces and how they create cultures of learning. Certainly displaying student work gives an example of a particular learning culture and it becomes a way to echo and reinforce those cultures. But I would also like to learn how to create those spaces in my library. We have already seen that our group study rooms from individuals or small groups works well in addition to our open group study areas. We also have two classrooms for a “campfire” space. But I think it would be great to be able to learn how to help individuals more.

Not Hush Hush Anymore

Mierop, Kerrie


Wilson, A. (2016, April 1). Not Hush Hush Anymore. School Planning and Management. Retrieved from https://webspm.com/articles/2016/04/01/learning-commons.aspx
Summary: This article discusses how the one-size-fits-all school library is no longer relevant in today’s learning culture. The school library of today must embrace a collaborative center that is at times noisy, but is now a “flexible, interactive, technology-rich area”. The author, Wilson, discusses the necessity of a flexible library that gives students and teachers the ability to move furniture, use private study rooms for both groups and individual study, and gives the students the materials and resources to learn at their own pace. Wilson explores three schools that have made the transformation from the traditional library to a learning commons library. Each school transformed the library starting with redesigning the space and adding the necessary technology. Wilson states the need for the school library to transform into a collaborative learning environment that serves the whole school.

Review: Wilson writes a great article that explores how three schools evolved from a traditional school library into a learning commons center that has allowed the staff and students to have a “flexible, interactive, technology-rich area”. The article shows how the schools adjusted their library environment to help enrich the learning for both staff and students. 

Library to Learning Commons: A Recipe for Success

Mierop, Kerrie


Hayes, T. (2014). Library to Learning Commons: A Recipe for Success. Education Canada. Retrieved from http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/library-learning-commons
Summary: This article discusses how the traditional school library is no longer serving the needs of today’s students and teachers. The school library needs to evolve into a learning commons and embrace an inquiry learning base collaborative environment. This learning environment will create and foster a thriving reading culture. The learning commons will create a staff collaboration center, give the students the access to additional resources, and save variable research time for teachers, students, and the teacher librarian.

Review: The author uses the example of how she inherited her grandmother’s old recipes and how, although they are great recipes, with what we know about nutrition she has embraced a new healthier diet. The author agrees with her grandmother that food brings the family together, however, as time goes by we need to update these recipes to make them work for our diet. Just like the traditional recipes, the traditional library needs to be updated to make it accessible to the culture of today. The article is well written and lets the reader know that times and culture do change and we need to change with it.