I read every job description / recruitment ad for school library staff in New Zealand that I see. I am passionate about the future of library services for our students. In particular how we can contribute to the evolution of these services so that future students will enjoy a more equitable provision of and an ever increasing quality of services
Just as a playing field doesn’t make an athlete, nor does a library make a learner or a reader. It takes an agent, a person who supports and enables students through resources, skills development and coaching. Connecting learners to the people, resources and skills they need is a service – performed by a person or team.
In the ecology of the library learning environment there are a variety of different roles and people who fill them. In reading job descriptions from schools around New Zealand, there are skills and qualifications that are often sought, and there is often a “person spec” or list of qualities as well. These skills, qualities and qualifications with various emphases are somewhat standard.
A set of dispositions or attributes is also important and that any one working with students and teachers in a library learning environment must be in possession of these non-negotiable traits.
Here are some that would top my list:
- Relates to and genuinely enjoys working with students/children as well as adults
- easily develops rapport with students and colleagues
- A passion for education and literacy
- understands the many ways library services impact on achievement
- An affinity for continuous life long learning and personal/professional learning
- always seeking to find ever better ways to support learning/literacy outcomes
- always leading the development of services and programmes to support learners and teachers
- Enjoys working as part of a multi-player team, on different projects with different people
- a willing collaborator with teaching colleagues to add value to the learning environment, who understands and supports the school’s education goals
- Effective and enthusiastic communicator
This is not a comprehensive list but I think it is a start. Anyone can learn a library system, or other software, but great school librarians share a love of students, and a passion for empowering learning and literacy.
- understands and differentiates audience needs and uses effective communications styles face to face, in written communication, through web based tools and when presenting to groups.