ALIA Schools Online Forum: Teams in School Libraries – Day 4


ALIA Schools Online Forum ‘Teams in School libraries’:

Day 4 – Teams Across and/or Beyond a School Library

Welcome to the fourth day of the ALIA Schools Online Forum: Teams in School Libraries.

Today’s question is:

Which teams are critical to a teacher librarian’s success? Why?

We look forward to your responses and thank you for taking the time to participate. A reminder that tomorrow will be the final day for this online forum.


11 thoughts on “ALIA Schools Online Forum: Teams in School Libraries – Day 4

  1. We don’t have teacher librarians at our school, but from my generic librarian standpoint I would list these teams as important to me:
    The Home & School team is a great team to partner with as a work alone librarian. They have independently run book fairs to fund-raise for us, which was amazing in a year of no (or highly limited) new book budget for my campus.
    Teaching and Learning / Academic teams are pretty critical – they highlight the direction the school is taking with regards to learning, and can also be good with suggesting resources.
    Heads of Department are sources of information regarding students’ assessment and research topics throughout the year, which make it easier to see which areas/subjects may be lacking resources.
    Last but definitely not least, IT Department is VITAL if we don’t want to be stuck covering books all day waiting for the technology to be available. My brain gets pretty good at remembering where books are, but those search computers and the databases are just that bit helpful 🙂

  2. Curriculum committee (or equivalent) is essential but I must say, I notice that lots of library staff appear to be the union reps (based on comments on previous days).This is interesting. Apart from the threat to library jobs this is the greratest way to be an essential member of staff.

  3. I think that the most influential teams to be involved with are the curriculum teams – at my current workplace we have KLA Team Leaders and the Learning and Teaching Committee. Being a member of both of these teams allows me access to all the heads of Key Learning Areas and the Learning and Teaching team make significant decisions regarding learning within the College, so to be an active member in these means that the library has a voice. I would find it very difficult to know what is going on the the school if not for my involvement in these teams. They give access to information so that collection development is current, inquiry skills can be embedded within the curriculum, team teaching can be developed and the library can be seen as a hub of the school. Also putting your hand up to participate in delivering professional development with the school can show leadership and teachers the skills that you have and puts the library in a different context.
    I also highly value involvement in network groups and associations so that I can hear about what is happening in other schools and everyone is always ready to share ideas, strategies, successes and failures.

  4. I agree with previous statements regarding curriculum teams as being the most valuable but there are occasions when they may not be effective in regard to decision making in the school. Many years ago when I first started teaching I worked in a school where all important decisions were made by the Staff Association; other committees were ineffective if they did not have the support of the Staff Association. I have also worked in a school were decisions were made by a very autocratic principal. It didn’t matter what the decision was; the principal had the final say. The whole staff could vote one way at a staff meeting and the principal would implement the opposite even though both options had similar costs with respect to the school staffing budget. He would ‘speak’ to staff individually who presented an opposing view in meetings; an experience I did not enjoy.

  5. Apart from the teams mentioned in the comments above, I suggest that if there is an opportunity to join the Policy Team, do so. This team oversees the policy developments in the school and therefore is a great source of ideas for initiatives and ways to value add to the library services.

  6. Definitely curriculum teams! I am a member of the ICT committee, a pastoral committee, Heads of Learning and the Learning Management System committee all of which give me different insights into the school. Having the library represented and being seen as an active participant really lifts the profile of the library and ensures we are meeting the needs of the school community. Also to repeat what Jill stated, various networking teams are also highly valuable to me as you are constantly exposed to new ideas. I guess the key is to get as involved as possible in key areas that are relevant to your role and embrace the opportunities they present.

  7. A range of teams are important and does depend on your own school structure as it varies greatly between schools within each sector and across the sectors.
    At our school – The Board, The Executive, Curriculum Team, Junior School Team, Department Team, Professional Learning Team, Parent Association, Pastoral Team, Student Leaders and our own library team of 3. A teacher librarian cannot work alone – it must be a collaborative effort.
    You need the support of the Principal, the Executive and the Academic Deans if you want to succeed with your ideas. Once you have their support and your own library team support then the possibilities are endless – limited by enthusiasm and time then funding.
    We established our new reading festival with support from the Principal, the Academic Deans and their teaching staff and the students and their parents who loved it,

  8. Curriculum teams are an essential point of contact,communication, information and support for me as a Teacher Librarian. I am a member of the English KLA but try to drop in on meetings of all KLA’s through each semester. Some of the best teams in our school have been made up of a mixture of faculties and have researched topics of mutual interest. As a part timer I appreciate access to minutes and notes from the various meetings in our school. I encourage KLAs and leadership teams to meet in the Library at least once each term, and seek a few minutes to seek opinion on resources or give them info. Active involvement of Library staff in as many facets of school life as is practical, including sports days, productions and staff functions etc is essential to being a visible part of the big team.

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