I am the Head of the Library and Learning Commons at my secondary school, and that means I work 4/6 in the library, 1/6 in a EWC 4C/4U classroom, and 1/6 in a fully online ENG4C class. I have held this role since 2010 with variations on which classes I teach. So my year as the school librarian is divided between
a) making sure that the library has a culture reflecting the learning commons philosophy b) advocating for the use of technology in the classroom and helping students and staff do this and
c) making sure that students and staff are using everything that is available to them for inquiry-based research.
As Head of the Library and Learning Commons, I additionally go to every staff and department head meeting and I am the Literacy Lead for our school planning all interventions for our standardized literacy test in grade 10. As you can imagine, this work keeps me hopping!
2 of our foundational documents are:
Together for Learning http://www.togetherforlearning.ca/t4l-vision-document/
Canadian School Libraries Leading Learning http://llsop.canadianschoollibraries.ca/
If you’re new to the learning commons shift, then you’ll find both really interesting. If you’re already shifting your school culture to include learning commons then jump to Leading Learning, because I talk to my principal all the time using this sort of rubric to say “This is where we are and this is where we need to get to”.
The Manitoba School Library Association is PHENOMENAL) and is really pushing boundaries in your province. Tomorrow is National School Library Day in Manitoba Canada and Manitoba’s provincial parliament will be reading a bilingual address about the importance of school libraries for student success. Oh that we could make this happen nationwide.
A smaller ask then….
Would you please have a conversation or write a letter to someone with power and/or influence to make sure that the work and necessity of school libraries is valued and recognized? Across Canada we need to have equitable staffing and per-pupil budgeting models in all publicly funded schools. We need to have diverse print and digital resources available for all staff and students. We need to recognize that the literacy work of school library staff is foundational for student success. We need to have school libraries open during and beyond school hours to allow for the messiness of robust inquiry-based projects.
I am so thankful for my devoted library teaching partner and my wonderful library technician. I am so thankful for a principal and a school board that recognizes the value of this work. Celebrate with me! To school libraries across Canada!