Thinking about roles of the Teacher Librarian

'Teach' photo (c) 2012, Susana Fernandez - license:


After reading a number of articles about the roles of the Teacher Librarian, I had plenty to think about, the number of tasks mentioned was over whelming – I honestly had given little thought to the documented myriad roles of the TL beyond vaguely “being in the Library”.

In order to undertake the various roles successfully prioritizing according to the school’s and student’s needs at a particular time is vitally important (Herring, 2007,p. 31). Priority areas would ideally be fluid across the year allowing for the TL to be effective and strategic in her workings with colleagues.

Within the roles put forward in my reading, three common areas stood out for me: the TL as teacher was over-arching and enhanced by innovator, leader and specialist. My ideas are explained in this table:























  • teacher
  • designing challenging learning opportunities for students
  • supporting  teachers – curriculum or tech based
  • leading by example
  • developing active learning using resources/materials used by 21st century students
  • collaborator

Pro-active in keeping Library products, services, experiences and successes visible and mainstream within the school community.





“Making a difference in the way teachers teach and students learn.” Purcell, 2010, p. 30







Contributing to a higher standard of student learning and performance

  •  teacher
  • creating & implementing curriculum
  • designing authentic learning experiences which integrate information skills
  • assessment, goal setting and planning
  • teacher
  • in information literacy – transliteracy
  • in information systems
  • collection management
  • ensuring Library services, products and programs are visible and explicit

Teaching is where Teacher Librarians get to “walk the talk” – they are in the position of not only advocating, leading and specialising in integrating technology – they are also in the classroom showing what it all means in action.


Herring, J. (2007). Teachers librarians and the school library. In S.Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp.27-42).  Wagga Wagga, N. S. W. : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Lamb, A. and Johnson, L., (2008) School library media specialist 2.0: a dynamic collaborator, teacher, and technologist. Teacher Librarian 36(2), pp. 74-78.

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection 29(3), 30-33.