At IB World Schools across the globe, librarians are providing educational and pedagogical leadership and are often involved in varied collaborative investigations with teachers and students, as well as developing and managing the library itself. (Barrett, Green, & Tilke 2011)
As I step into the pedagogical leadership team in my school, I thought it is the right time to pen down a note to the hardworking school librarian tribe as to why it should be a standard protocol for a librarian to become the leader of the school pedagogical team.
In most IB World Schools, the librarian is the connecting thread for the entire school, from the early years to the diploma programme. As we are continually upgrading ourselves to serve every teacher, student, and parent requirement for new resources, we end up with the unparalleled expertise of each programme and its unique needs.
Most of us don multiple hats as we tend to equip to lead the school in various ways. As a natural progression of our role as the school librarian, we become the coordinator for literary activities, MYP Personal Project, and DP Extended Essay, making us the ATL skills coordinator and the academic integrity specialist.
In a residential school setting, the role of the librarian not only extend to helping the students with resources during weekends but also end up heading various after school clubs like Reading club, Quiz club, Debate club, MUN Club, and at times, we are the default choice to lead the school magazine’s editorial team. As librarians are tech-savvy and keep an eye out for the latest happenings in the academic world, we sometimes are also the best PR person who can manage the content for the school’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
STUDENT LIFE LIBRARIAN
A school library is always a warm and welcoming place for students, and they tend to lower their guard here. This medium makes it the ideal place for a librarian to talk to the children in a relaxed atmosphere, and there are times when we end up counseling them regarding their issues. We can recommend books for the difficult phases in their lives, e.g., parents separating, losing a loved one, gender crisis, victim of bullying, or teenage issues.
A librarian also plays a helping hand when the senior students are researching for colleges and looking for their best fit for their higher education aspirations.
The school librarian is the best choice for teacher professional development sessions regarding creating Personal Learning Networks and the latest academic referencing and citation developments. We can ensure that academic honesty is an integral part of the school culture.
Along with supporting students and teachers, librarians can also play an essential role in supporting the parents. We can plan spoken English lessons, reading clubs, literary get-togethers, parent-child activities, and also connect them to events around the world, like summer camps and book readings.
The librarian is the liaison between the faculty and the authors, publishers, and vendors, and we strive to get the best and the latest resources for the school. We also ensure that we present the perfect library budget to the management, ensuring that all concerned parties are happy.
I believe that all these skills and experience make a strong case for the librarians to lead the pedagogical development in a school.
Barrett, Yvonne, et al. “IB World Librarians.” International Baccalaureate®, May 2011, www.ibo.org/ib-world-archive/may-2011-issue-62/between-the-pages/.
Librarian/Asst. MYP Coordinator
Pledge Harbor International School, Bangladesh