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Volume 2 and Being: Reflections on Teacher-Librarianship

Becoming
Teacher-Librarianship
c/o
Department
University
551
11210
Edmonton,
P:
F:
Website:
Becoming
780-492-0863
780-492-7622
Dr.87Jennifer
Education
and
Avenue
&tl-dl.ualberta.ca
ABBeing:
ofBeing:
Elementary
Alberta
Centre
T6G
Branch-Mueller
2G5Reflections
Reflections
South
by Education
Distance
ononTeacher-Librarianship
Learning
Teacher-Librarianshipvolume
Volume2 by
2 Site
Teacher-Libra
rianship by Distance Learning, University of Alberta is licensed under a Creativ
e Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
A special thank you to Dr. Dianne Oberg, Professor Emerita, University of Albert
a and the founder of the Teacher-Librarianship by Distance Learning Program, for
Thank
her continued
you to oursupport
students,
of the
pastprogram
and present,
and forinmaking
the Teacher-Librarianship
this book possible. by Dis
tance Learning program. Our program is strong because of your commitment to bec
oming and being school leaders. Please continue to stay connected with us and wi
th the school library community as you take on leadership roles in your schools
and districts.
INTRODUCTION
Outlines
BOOK
BECOMING
Goldilocks,
Hear
TEACHER-LIBRARIANS
Supporting
ORGANIZATION
my
plea...come
ANDAtElementary
BEING
Risk
i and
Aand
ENGAGING
TEACHER-LIBRARIAN
Teacher-Librarian
Vulnerable
collaborate
iii AND SUPPORTING
Adolescent
with1me.STUDENTS
Students
2
12
Through
22
School Libraries a
nd Collection
Genius
Alternative
TEACHER-LIBRARIANS
The
Why
Should
School
should
Hour:school
School
Library
ways
Exploring
Development
toleaders
Leaders
BECOMING
Makerspace
approach
andcare
Care
Celebrating
AND
reading:
Within
About
about
BEING
23 technology
aIndependent
LITERACY
The
TECHNOLOGY
Students
Learning
unexpected
LEADERS
Commons
implementation
Passions
Silent
LEADERS
benefits
48
Reading?
78
plans
35 for49the ben
61
77
efit Teachers
TEACHER-LIBRARIANS
When
of all student
BecomeBECOMING
including
Learners:
ANDthose
The
BEING
Role
with
SCHOOL
ofspecial
Teacher-Librarians
LEADERS
needs? 90
108 in School Wide Pro
fessional Learning
Instructional
Leadership:
Communities
Capitalizing
109
on and Combining the Skills of the Teache
r Librarian
AUTHOR
BIOGRAPHIES
and Vice Principal
132
124
The bottom
Introduction
line is this: [teacher-librarians] must see their work as the schools w
ork not just because the physical space and resources are shared by all, but beca
use the significance of the learning that is conducted in the library media cent
er is at and
Becoming
the Being:
heart ofReflections
the schools
on Teacher-Librarianship
purpose. (Zmuda & Harada,
Volume
2008,
2 isp.11)
a collectio
n of writings that highlight the central importance of the work that teacher-lib
rarians do in schools. The chapters are written by ten newly qualified teacher-l
ibrarians (TLs). They are all soon-to-be Master of Education graduates of the Te
acher-Librarianship by Distance Learning (TLDL) program at the University of Alb
erta. The book is edited by Jennifer Branch-Mueller, Associate Professor and Coo
rdinator of the Teacher-Librarianship by Distance Learning program, and Wei Wei,
a Masters student in Humanities Computing at the University of Alberta from Bei
jing,TLDL
The
China.
program introduces teachers to the leadership role of the teacher-libra
rian in schools and school libraries and focuses on four major themes: evaluatio
n, selection, organization and management of print and digital resources; inquir
y-based instruction; new and emerging technology integration; and contemporary l
iteracies. Their MEd degree in the Department of Education also includes a resea
rch methods course to help prepare TLs to find, critique and summarize education
al research, a curriculum foundations course to help TLs understand the history
and development of curriculum, and the final capping course which requires a maj
or paper. This book is the second collection of major papers that highlight the
individual
Most
of these
passions
teacher-librarians
and interestscompleted
of these their
new TLs.
degree while also working fulltime in schools and school libraries. They chose to do a graduate degree in teac
her-librarianship; most were not required to do so. They believe that to be a sc
hool leader, you need to have the same degree as other school leaders. And these
new TLs are now ready to take on the leadership roles in their schools and dist
Graduates
*ricts.
Empoweredofthem
TLDLtohave
taketold
on greater
us that leadership
the program:roles in their schools and distri
*cts.
Transformed
Provided
themthem
with flexibility
both personally
and the
and opportunity
professionally.
to succeed while managing t
*heir
Helped
diverse
themwork
to develop
and homeprofessional
responsibilities.
contacts and friendships across the countr
*y Focused
and around
on global
the world.
issues of teaching, learning and the school library while ha
ving the opportunity for choice in assignments that could be tailored to unique
*situations
Engaged them
Consisted
and
of quality
professional
inthoughtful,
instruction
learning
high and
quality
needs.
support
discussions.
from the TL-DL administration and
*community.
Provided good value - reasonably priced compared to similar programs in Canada
The
andbook
is aisdeal
organized
comparedvery
to much
programs
likefrom
the TLDL
the US.
program itself. The first section
details the process of becoming a teacher-librarian. Many new teachers-in-the-li
brary come to their positions with little training and only a vague understandin
g of what it means to be a qualified teacher-librarian. How does a teacher begin
The
thisnext
transformation
section explores
to become
student
a teacher-librarian?
engagement and support in the school The schoo
l library goes by many names (media center and learning commons are two of the m
ost popular terms right now), but regardless of what it is called, the school li
brary and the school library program exist to provide the school community with
access to recreational and informational resources that meet the diverse learnin
g needs of students and teachers. As a physical space, the school library may un
dergo name changes and transformation, indeed many functions of the school libra
ry may
The
third
occur
section
outside
highlights
the fourthe
walls
roleofofthethephysical
teacher-librarian
space.
as a literacy lea

der in schools and school districts. Teacher-librarians have a critical role to


play in the development of readers in their communities. Teacher-librarians not
only support their students reading habits, they provide ongoing professional dev
elopment, mentorship, and support to their teaching colleagues, who may need ass
istance choosing books for their classroom libraries or even finding just the ri
ght book to read themselves during a school-wide sustained silent reading time.
The fourth section examines the role of the teacher-librarian as technology lead
ers in schools and school districts. Teacher-librarians model and support the ef
fective integration of technology into schools. From providing professional deve
lopment opportunities for their colleagues to developing and teaching inquiry un
its infused with technology to curating content to support student research, tea
cher-librarians are technology leaders who are at the forefront of the use of te
chnology
The
finalinsection
schools.
brings us back full-circle to the leadership role of the teach
er-librarian. In this section, we see specific examples of teacher-librarians ta
king on specific challenges in their school community. This final section of Bec
oming and Being highlights further ways in which qualified teacher-librarians ca
n be andA.,are& Harada,
Zmuda,
Reference
school leaders.
V. (2008). Librarians as learning specialists: Meeting the
learning imperative for the 21st century. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
Book author
Each
Organization
was asked to frame their chapters around four fundamental questions
whichshould
Why
This
introductory
are used
school
in section
the chapters
leaders
care as?subheadings
contextualizes
and provides
to guideathe
general
reader.
overview of the
topic. Some authors included their own story in this section and shared what bro
ught
This
Whatsection
them
do school
to serves
thisleaders
topic.
as anneed
introduction
to know? to the research and professional literatu
re about the chosen topic. As an expert in their topic, each author guides reade
rs through the important literature and helps us understand what we need to know
What
The
about
third
cantheir
school
section
topic.
leaders
of eachdochapter
about helps
?
readers see the connections between the t
heory and the practice. Using examples and situations from their own experiences,
as well as connections to the literature, this section guides readers through t
he process of actually putting the idea or topic into action in schools or schoo
l libraries.
What
The
final
does section
this meanoffor
eachschool
chapter
leaders?
serves as a summary, a conclusion, and a place
Further
Each
to look
author
resources
towards
provided
the afuture.
list of further resources for those interested in learnin
g more about their chapter topic. This information will be available on the books
2015-becoming-and-being/home.
website - https://sites.google.com/a/ualberta.ca/
This companion site for the book will also include
a link to the eBook version and further information about the TLDL program. Rea
ders of the book are encouraged to add their own favourite resources on a partic
ular topic to the site and we hope that the books site will be a valuable resourc
e for everyone interested in learning more about the role of the teacher-librari
Whether you are a school administrator, a classroom teacher, a teacher-in-the-li
an.
brary or a qualified teacher-librarian, we hope that Becoming and Being: Reflect
ions on Teacher-Librarianship Volume 2 inspires you and gives you ideas and info
rmation about the role of teacher-librarianship and the school library program i
n schools.
Jennifer
(jbranch@ualberta.ca)
Branch-Mueller
(wwei1@ualber
Wei Wei
ta)
Becoming
After
being
andaBeing
classroom
a Teacher-Librarian
teacher, the process of becoming a teacher-librarian has
many challenges and many rewards. Many new teachers-in-the-library come to thei
r positions with little training and only a vague understanding of what it means
to be a qualified teacher-librarian. How does a teacher begin this transformatio
n tochapters
The
become ainteacher-librarian?
this section will begin to answer that question, leading the rea
der through the process of becoming to ultimately being a teacher-librarian. The
section begins with Cathy Pauls fairy tale of Goldilocks and the school library.
Follow along on Goldilocks adventure as she finds what is just right for her as a t
eacher-librarian. The second chapter explores collaboration and the role of the
teacher-librarian in working with other teachers in schools. Andrea Brown exami
nes the benefits of collaboration for students and teachers and presents researc
h supporting
The
shift fromthebecoming
importance
a teacher-in-the-library
of collaborative practices
to being
foralearning.
teacher-librarian ta
kes time, training, and a strong support system.This section clearly identifies s
ome of the skills, knowledge, and dispositions required to aid in this transform
ation.
Goldilocks,
By
Why
paulwpg@mymts.net
Catherine
Should School
Elementary
Paul Leaders
Teacher-Librarian
Care if Teacher-Librarians Have a Voice on the Element
ary opening
Our
Once
Leadership
upon a time
scene
Team?
there was a new teacher-librarian named Goldilocks. Goldilocks
understood that a commitment to lifelong professional growth was not only necess

ary for operating a dynamic library, but also for breathing life into curriculum
. The online Teacher-Librarian Masters of Education program at the University of
Alberta gave her the tools that she could use on the job. She knew that beyond h
er degree, open online professional development opportunities would be available
because of Web 2.0 pioneers, like Helene Blowers (2007). Goldilocks recalled how
she had learned to sew a lovely quilt after watching a YouTube tutorial; findin
g and participating in educational opportunities had changed so much. Teacher-lib
rarians have an imperative to stay on top of educational trends; this ensures th
at these trends, and how they may impact the library, can be brought to the lead
ership table, where conversations can happen about their implementation (Bishop,
Goldilocks
2013).
was full of enthusiasm and brimming with a diverse breadth of knowled
ge, earned through diligent graduate studies. She eagerly anticipated her role as
a learning specialist; forming collaborative learning partnerships with staff,
where learning experiences could be designed with the end in mind (Davies, 2000)
. Goldilocks anticipated Zmuda and Haradas (2008) ideal where improving student ac
hievement through a process of conscious design, construction and assessment was
one facet of the fulfilment of the teacher-librarian role. She anticipated a fut
ure where
Early
one August
she would
morning,
be supported,
she prepared
challenged
to embark
and on
inspired.
a journey. She was ready to d
iscover her first library. Not the first library that she had ever entered, oh no
; she was fluent in the mysteries that abound within a library. She knew the Dewe
y Decimal Classification system for library organization. She knew the Library of
Congress Classification system. She knew how some teacher-librarians organized t
heir libraries like a book store. This would be the first library that Goldilock
s would assume responsibility for; it was the first library where she would be t
he Goldilocks
As
teacher-librarian
made herinway
charge,
to theandlibrary,
she wanted
she wondered
to make ithowlook
shejust
wouldright.
recognize
the school leaders. Were the school leaders limited to the school administration,
or did they include the divisional administration board? Was there a technology
coordinator? Was there a divisional library consultant? Could teacher-librarians b
e school leaders? School leaders could be any or all of these things, perhaps the
y could even be none of them. Could Goldilocks count on the support of other teac
her-librarians in the school division, or would she have to look to the internet
to grow her personal learning network? With so many questions swirling around he
r head, our plucky heroine soon found herself facing the front doors of the scho
Armed with three stuffed, reusable canvas sacks and a loaded, wheeled crate, she
ol.
anticipated any one of three different leadership styles from the school leader
s. Perhaps they might be too big picture, completely hands-off, forgetting all ab
out her. She wondered if the school leaders would be too small-minded, micromanag
ing her, stifling all of the fresh energy and new ideas that she came bearing. Ho
w could the school leaders be just right? They would be just right if they welcom
ed her to participate, in a meaningful way, as a full member of the school leade
rshipright
Just
team school
(Zmuda leaders
& Harada,should
2008).care about supporting the unique position that
is theteacher-librarian. They are teachers in the library, but not necessarily lib
rarians. They are media specialists, but not necessarily computer programming exp
erts. They are experts on matching students with books, but not necessarily the i
ntricate mechanics of reading. They are able to collaborate with teachers, but us
ing teacher-librarians to provide preparation breaks for staff members is not an
effective use of their time. The foundations of teacher-librarianship are establ
ished when they are working among all of the students and staff in the school, i
nfusing the curriculum with technology, while weaving transmedia literacy throug
hout. School leaders, who might thrive on data, should shadow teacher-librarians
for a day, before they demand an accounting of time spent; words on paper couldnt
Just
do this
rightjobschool
justice.
leaders
need to care about what teacher-librarians do in an el
ementary school. Teacher-librarian Goldilocks embodies a servant-leadership style
. Greenleaf (1970) describes servant-leadership as an attitude with a natural inc
lination for serving others, and putting their needs first. There also is the des
ire to lead, through this servant attitude. The servant-leader strives to ensure
that the needs of others are met, as evidenced by their personal growth, a sense
of empowerment and independence. While these qualities are sometimes difficult t
o measure, they can be demonstrated and articulated through best practices, such
as self-evaluation and reflection. Ten servant-leadership characteristics identi

fied by Spears (1998), as quoted in Crippen (2005), are often embedded as part o
f school-wide behaviour goals. Teacher-librarians, by the very nature of their wo
rk, exemplify these characteristics. Just right school leaders in an elementary s
chool should recognize and capitalize on teacher-librarians who are servant-lead
ers, as their work not only affect students, but achieves demonstrated positive
results within
Goldilocks
stoodtheinschool
the foyer
community.
of her new school. It was quiet, except for the fai
nt sound of voices echoing distantly in the hall. She squared her shoulders, and
beganDolooking
What
Schoolfor
Leaders
her library.
Need to Know

About Teacher-Librarians in an Elementary Sc


hool Setting?
Scene
Goldilocks
two found the library, with the help of a cheerful secretary. She opened t
he doors and breathed in the rich smells of ink, paper and wood. Peering into the
darkness, she scanned the room for the light switches. As she made her way to th
em, she noticed the varying heights of the shelves around the room, scattered ta
bles and soft furnishings. Evidence of an elementary school library was all aroun
d her: the stuffed animals on the shelves, the brightly coloured rugs defining t
he spaces, the tiny chairs, and the monolithic iCart. Goldilocks flipped on the l
ights and noticed the glare of the online public access catalogue (OPAC) station
s, the hum of the ceiling-mounted projector and the three giant television carts
, kitted out with VCRs and DVD players. Beyond the glass walled breezeway, glowed
the screenswondered
Goldilocks
of a desktop
whichcomputer
new pieces
lab.oftechnology she would now have to master.
What operating system did the computer lab use; Linux or Windows? How often was
the technology used and how was it booked? Were the classrooms equipped with litt
le things, like wireless mice and keyboards, medium things, like document camera
s and webcams or large things like projectors and SMART boards? Did school leade
rs expect her to be the technology coordinator, responsible for upgrades, mainte
nance and repairs for all devices or was that position already taken by other sc
hool staff? Did the school have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy? Ripley (201
0) notes that the presence of technology does not guarantee high performing stud
ents, and that teachers with sound pedagogy routinely outperform gadgets. Goldilo
cks dabbed at the sweat that was forming beneath the golden curls on her brow. De
spite the coolness of the climate-controlled library, she began to feel a heavy
cloak of apprehension settle on her shoulders. Perhaps the hidden challenges of t
his roleleaders
School
would need
provetotoknow
be more
how teacher-librarians
than she was qualified
are trained.
to handle.Teacher-librarian
s are trained teachers, first, who have chosen to further their education with a
Masters degree in teacher-librarianship. Vygotskys (1978) zone of proximal developm
ent defines the ideal space for learning as taking place between the measurable d
evelopmental level of the individual at the moment, and the level of potential d
evelopment, as held against high achieving peers. Teachers who choose to become
teacher-librarians generally have dispositions to learn, in perpetuity. Some scho
ol administrators expect that teacher-librarians should be on top of the latest
trends in education. Bradford et al. (2007), noted that schools for librarianship
are flexible in their course offerings and grow along with shifts in thinking a
s electronic resources evolve. Teacher-librarians have honed their professional s
kills on the job and in the classroom (Lambert & Newman 2012) over time. They are
experts in curriculum; planning according to provincial outcomes, delivering en
gaging lessons, and assessing using a wide variety of tools. Davies (2000) says t
hat when we allow ourselves time to process the information that we have already
Yet,
takenMartin
in, we(1995)
can learn
notes,more.
that teacher-librarians tend to downplay the fact that
they are professionally trained, citing a possibility that the degree lacks pre
stige within the school community. Deeming and Chellin (2001) found that people w
ho came to teacher-librarianship as a secondary career indicated overall satisfa
ction with their choice. School leaders need to recognize that teacher-librarians
School
come equipped
leaders need
with to
skills
knowthat
thattranscend
teacher-librarians
the classroom
are experts
(Farmer,at2007).
crafting exci
ting lesson plans. Teacher-librarians differentiate lessons to meet student needs
where they are academically. Tools like the Center for Applied Special Technolog
ys Universal Design for Learning framework, where lesson planning begins with the
end goal in mind, uses three basic principles so that the needs of all learners
are met: showing and approaching learning in different ways, and offering optio
ns for expressing learning. Providing complete learning experiences can involve, b
ut is not limited to, videos, music, drama, art, using nature, audio recordings,
and podcasts in addition to traditional lecture and text reading. Cara (2012) po

sits the teacher-student relationship greatly impacts student learning. Teacher-l


ibrarians team teach with instructional partners, work one on one to support stu
dent learning and volunteer for extra curriculars. They, like other specialists,
are in a unique position to work directly with every student in the school. Ash-A
rgyle and Shoham (2014) remark that the teacher-librarian is not always perceive
d in the peer or co-teacher role, but more as a story-teller or curator of knowl
edge, by other staff members. This perception increases the onus on teacher-libra
rians to legitimize what they do during the school day (Gillespie & Hughes, 2014
); if school administrators set the tone by supporting team teaching with teache
r-librarians, perhaps this would lead to more positive collaborations. Kist (201
0) states that collaboration is essential for those participating in a new media
environment. If teachers expect students to successfully negotiate their own ro
les when asked to work in groups, how can we ignore modeling this concept for th
School leaders need to know that teacher-librarians need opportunities for profe
em?
ssional development. Oberg (1991) noted that teacher-librarians, in their academi
c preparations, may not always have a realistic view of what their own position
entails. Professional development opportunities give new teacher-librarians oppor
tunities to share questions and concerns that arise on the job, while gaining ne
w skills (Yakawa & Harada, 2011). Without a cohort of trained, supportive teacher
-librarian mentors (Smith, 2011), new teacher-librarians may find themselves in
unfamiliar situations that their academic education did not prepare them for. An
example of this is while teacher-librarians may not all start out being experts
in technology, they do receive some instruction and gain practical experience w
ith online tools. However, the technology that was popular during teacher-librar
ian training may not exist in their teaching practice; the school may not have a
ccess to it, may not believe that it is a good educational fit, or the technolog
y itself may no longer be available. School leaders can count on teacher-libraria
ns to use technologyliterally
Teacher-librarians,
appropriately
teachers
and in
infuse
the library,
it throughout
work in
theacurriculum.
fishbowl. No
oth
er teacher works in such a public forum; all members of the school community pas
s through and around the library. While teacher-librarians are teachers first, th
eir job situation differs in subtle, yet profound ways. Teachers have no expectat
ion that while they are actively teaching in their classrooms, that other staff
members will wander through their room and ask to check out materials, or that a
student will ask them to locate a book, or that a substitute teacher will ask f
or a guest computer username and password. Teacher-librarians accept these inter
ruptions with (general) good graces, as evidence of their integral role in the s
chool. Pedersen (2007) acknowledges that librarians wear at least seven distinct
hats: reference librarian, manager and systems expert are the top three roles. He
also proposes three roles for future consideration, with economist being one of
them, noting the importance of library budget management. MacMeekin (2013) expan
ds the list of hats to 27 items, including collaboration between students and staf
f, participation in ongoing professional learning and tweets! Teacher-librarians
are the jack-of-all-trades in elementary schools. No other teaching position in t
he school is responsible
Teacher-librarians
add excitement,
for so manybeyond
facetstheofobligatory
education.reading celebration exe
rcises, by creating clubs for disenfranchised students and engaging learners wit
h unique experiences; however, for new teacher-librarians, filling all free rece
ss and lunch periods can lead to burnout. Balance, as Crow (2013) remarks, is abs
ent and remains elusive without purposeful planning to do nothing. Scheduling prepa
ration periods is a necessary evil; the typical inclination of the engaged teach
er-librarian is to fill empty slots with learning opportunities, while school le
aders are also keen to keep staff busy and moving forward. In addition to the dai
ly activities of library management and the collaborative development of curricu
lar resources, there is also the maintenance and repair of technology. School lea
ders should know that building in time for collaboration, collection management,
curation of curriculum-specific materials balanced by periods of preparation ti
me is vital in supporting what effective teacher-librarians do (Pitcher & Mackey
, 2004). was anxious to examine the librarys collection. She settled in front of
Goldilocks
one of the OPAC stations. She began with a little search of her favourite author
and nodded appreciatively when a list of his most popular titles emerged. Then s
he began a medium-sized search of his titles, widening her search parameters to

include all of the elementary schools in the division, noticing that a few more
titles were added to the list. Goldilocks then tried a great big search in her to
wns public library system and found even more titles. As she compared the public l
ibrarys list to her own schools list, Goldilocks began jotting down titles, making
a list to plan for possible future purchases. She understood that it would be im
possible to know the entire collection within a few months- that it may take ove
r a year to know it well (Bishop, 2013), so she would need to begin with the com
munity,leaders
School
the curriculum,
need to know
and how
the teacher-librarians
elements found in her
arenew
trained
library,
in collection
itself. dev
elopment and management for the purposes of evaluation, selection and organizati
on (Zmuda & Harada, 2008). Teacher-librarians may begin any number of ways, but a
ll paths lead to an assessment of the collections ability to meet the instruction
al and informational needs of the school population (Bishop, 2013). Three differe
nt methods, collection-centered, use-centered and simulated use-centered, employ
different measures to provide quantifiable support for collection management (B
ishop, 2013). Teacher-librarians are not only responsible for purchasing, curati
ng, and maintaining the student collection, but also the professional collection
and the virtual collection. The professional collection may have contents that ar
e required by the school division, such as kits to support potentially sensitive
health content, or required by the province, such as curriculum guides. The virt
ual collection may be as simple as an archived list of information services that
the school or the school division subscribes to on behalf of its schools, such
as World Book Online, or as complex as eBook and podcast collections, such as Tu
mble Books. Using the Canadian Library Associations (2014) publication to inform te
acher-librarian standards of practice ensures that the library remains a vital h
ub for information-seeking strategies and information sharing, with participator
y and collaborative
School
leaders need to
goals,
recognize
and a the
vision
linkforthat
theexists
future.between teacher-librarians
and positive student achievement. They need to know that teacher-librarians are
trained in multiple literacies. Asselin and Doiron (2006) refer to todays litera
cies as constantly evolving. Multiliteracies refer to not only being literate wit
h text, but also being digital and computer literate, as well as media and infor
mation literate. The way that we interact with information today is vastly differ
ent from the learning experiences undertaken by current school leaders (Jacobsen
2010). Students need support in seeking the legitimate sources best suited to th
eir learning needs. Teacher-librarians are integral to helping students and staff
What
bridge
Canlearning
School Leaders
gaps toDonavigate
About How
multiliteracies
Teacher-Librarians
successfully.
Operate Within and Eleme
ntary School?
Goldilocks
looked appreciatively over the wheeled book carts of varying heights
and the tiered book shelves flanking the circulation desk. She made a mental note
to purchase some mini lights to highlight special shelves. She would make one li
ttle shelf for seasonal displays, one medium shelf for new books and a large she
lf for student-created books. However, as Goldilocks sat in the rolling chair beh
ind the circulation desk and surveyed the library in its entirety, a small wave
of panicdecisions,
Little
rose up inlike
herwhere
chest.to move the silk plants or the reference section, s
he felt confident in making independently. Medium decisions, like how the shelves
and other signage should be labeled, she could confer with students and staff t
o make wise choices. It was those great, big decisions that Goldilocks feared! Dec
isions like how to talk to anxious parents who want to ban a book, how to weed a
n aged collection, or a reasonable book-buying budget per student. For decisions
like these, she would need to call in the experts: she needed the magic of more
experienced
School
leaders
teacher-librarians.
can put veteran teacher-librarians in leadership positions of sup
port and mentorship for new teacher-librarians within a school division. An innov
ative consultant/ leader for other teacher-librarians would already have first-h
and experience in the trenches. Teacher-librarian experience is not limited to re
ading the right academic books, lurking on blogs or investing in the latest tech
nology; it is about making professional connections with others in your field, o
n local and global levels. It is about recognizing opportunities for professional
and student learning. Those opportunities may be found anywhere: on Twitter, dur
ing an informal conversation, reading a blog, by contributing to a wiki, or bein
g present at a workshop. Teacher-librarians inherently understand that learning i
s not a one size fits all experience, nor is there one way to express that learn
ing. By having experienced teacher-librarians as mentors, novices would have prac

tical, ready experts who are versed in their own school division to help them na
vigate the intricacies of the complex and varied job that is teacher-librariansh
School leaders can support teacher-librarian success. Farmer (2007) and Oberg (19
ip.
95) noted that teacher-librarians need the support of school administrators to b
e successful in their information and technology roles. Success can look like man
y things for teacher-librarians: collaboration with teachers, school-wide litera
cy leadership, organizing family literacy events, collection management, or prom
oting ethical digital literacy. School leaders can recognize teacher-librarian su
ccess by regularly providing time for them to share trending information, such a
s navigating copyright laws or Web 2.0 tools, during staff meetings. They can sho
w support for teacher and teacher-librarian collaborations by offering release t
ime for planning. They can also stand behind the teacher-librarians professional j
udgement when reading materials are challenged by families. School leaders can ai
d teacher-librarian success by acknowledging their role in the school community
with funding,
School
leaderspromotion,
can work with
and teacher-librarians
support.
to foster a culture of trans-lit
eracy; literacy across multiple formats. School leaders can advocate for funds to
support reading, both through the purchase of quality literature and access to
devices, such as iPads, laptops and eReaders. They can support a BYOD program by
providing good access to wifi networks throughout the school, clearly defined ru
les and appropriate consequences for the devices educational use. School leaders c
an encourage a school-wide culture of trans-literacy by providing time for teach
er-librarians to work with those staff members who are uncomfortable with non-tr
aditional literacies, like digital literacy. They can encourage staff who desire
practical experience to borrow devices to play with, outside of school time. They c
an ensure that teacher-librarians have access to the technologies that can contr
ibute toleaders
School
learning,
and superintendents,
by advocating forwho
themareataware
the school
of trends
division
in education
level. already
know how the library of yesterday has been replaced with the learning commons o
f today, simply by virtue of what takes place in the space. There is an onus on t
eacher-librarians to make the space multi-functional, suitable and appealing to
a broad range of ages and developmental stages. School leaders can recognize teac
her-librarian efforts to make the learning commons accessible to all students by
sourcing grant money and encouraging volunteers to sustain all of the activitie
s that takecould
Goldilocks
placehear
there.
muffled voices in the hall. She crouched behind the circula
tion desk, straining to listen. They were talking...about her! A big, deep voice s
aid, I wonder what our new teacher-librarian will do about the three sets of pre2003 encyclopedias? A medium-toned voice said, I wonder if she will do read alouds
during library periods? And a soft, high voice said, I wonder how she will be with
the students. Will she be strict and keep the library to herself or will she be o
pen to having lots of clubs and activities there? Goldilocks held her breath as th
e voices
What
Doespassed
the Work
by that
the library
Elementary
door,Teacher-Librarians
and smiled.
Do Mean for Canada and the
Gathering
World? her courage, Goldilocks straightened from behind the circulation desk.
She hurried to the library door, calling out, Hello? Is anybody there? The three voi
ces belonged to three teachers, who shared such similar features that you might
have wondered if they were related! They startled and then they all began speakin
g at once, a cacophony of excited voices exclaiming, Hello! Who are you? Where did you
come from?beamed,
Goldilocks

as she stood just inside the open library door, I am your new
teacher-librarian.
What
does this meanWont
for school
you come
leaders
in?in Canada and the world? School leaders ne
ed to support teacher-librarians as they shake off the dated, fussy image of the
shushing librarian. Teacher-librarians in the 21st century have never been more
relevant or more necessary. School leaders around the globe must know that as the
world rushes toward the high-tech future, digital literacy will become a vital
navigational tool. They must see how crucial it is that teacher-librarians cultiv
ate ethical practices for their students democratic digital future. They are suppo
rting literacy skills when teacher-librarians create safe, responsive learning c
ommons.leaders
School

count on teacher-librarians collaborations with classroom teachers


to provide authentic, engaging learning experiences. Teacher-librarians will n
ot rest until every staff member is comfortable playing with any technology set
before them. Teacher-librarians build bridges, inviting the school community to
fully participate, uniting teachers and families through literacy events. School
leaders know that teacher-librarians will not be content to stagnate. Teacher-lib

rarians will always look at their collection with a critical eye, until it meets
the needs of all their patrons. They will not be satisfied until every student r
eaches their own reading goals. Teacher-librarians are committed to connecting st
udents
If
the day
withever
eachcomes
other,where
theirschool
community
leaders
andthink
the world.
that a teacher-librarians job is
good enough and all is copacetic, they might be surprised. School leaders will w
atch those teacher-librarians buying new books, to meet tomorrows needs. They will
find them learning tomorrows Web 2.0 tools through online professional developme
nt. They will find them opening their doors to curious children, who want to see
whats happening in that big room, filled with many, many books, and so much more.
What school leaders will not find is a teacher-librarian sitting, reading books
all day- unless they are at home, possibly deep in a forest, and its not a school
Goldilocks
Epilogue
day!
survived her first year as a teacher-librarian with the help of some
lovely teacher-librarian mentors, who she met at a divisional meeting. Her librar
y is in the midst of being turned into a learning commons, with the help of a gr
ant that her supportive principal found for her. Goldilocks started a grassroots
campaign to have teacher-librarian representatives sit down with superintendents
twice a year to discuss the changing landscape of information and communication
technologies. At her new school, she had three new clubs begin each semester, en
compassing grades 1 through 5. Goldilocks made fast friends with the trio of teac
hers that she met on her first day. Whenever she needs a mental bear hug, she dro
ps by their
Additional
Booth,
D. (2000).
resources
classrooms,
Guidingwhere
the reading
they areprocess:
always happy
Techniques
to oblige!
and strategies for suc
cessful Basic
Chapman,
instruction
ME:
C.,Stenhouse
&building
King,inR.Publishers.
K-8
blocks
(2005).
classrooms.
forDifferentiated
reading
Portland,
instruction.
assessment strategies: One tool d
oesnt fit
Howall.
Press.
to tailor
Thousand
yourOaks,
assessments
CA: Corwin
to reflect the capabilities of your stude
Davies, A., Herbst-Luedtke, S., & Parrott-Reynolds, B. (2008). Leading the way t
nts.
o making
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librarian.
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Jennifer
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LaGuarde,
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LaGuardes
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(2015).
American
blog
TheMiddle
PLN
adventures
champions
Starter
Years
Kit.
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ofblog,
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alsoand
girl.
suitable
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pushes
[Webat
http://www.livebinders.com/
for
Log].
boundaries.
upper
Retrieved
elementary.
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This LiveBinder is the one thing that new teacher-librarians must have to start the
play/play?id=441748
professional
Lance,
K. C. (2015).
learningKeith
networks.
Curry Lance. [Web log]. Retrieved from http://keithcu
Principal
rrylance.com/
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J. (2012, April
researcher
10). Technology
of the link
forbetween
formative
libraries
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and librarians
Shared practi
and student achie
ce in teaching
Retrieved
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teacher
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logy-for-formative-assessments.html
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(2013,
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technology
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librarian does. [Web log
]. Retrieved
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librarian-does/
A smart infographic describing the various roles of the teacher-libraria
n.
Miller, D. (2013). Reading in the wild: The book whisperers keys to cultivating l
ifelong Jossey-Bass.
reading
Inspiring,
habits.
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s of how-tos
Paul,
C. (2015).
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forTeacher
implementing
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Pinterest is a user-friendly web aggregator to collect and share ideas using
Routman,
pictures.
original
R.Each
(2012).
web page.
pinLiteracy
takes youanddirectly
learningtolessons
the
from a longtime teacher. Newar
k, DE: International

The Regie
ReadingRoutman
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Residency program has been adopted by the River East Trans
hool Division,
measurable,
Shearing,
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HearAndrea
By
WHY
Teachers,
SHOULD
my plea...come
Brown
SCHOOL
who
mayLEADERS
have
and originally
collaborate
CARE? been
withattracted
me.
by the autonomy of the job, are
now called upon to become experts on collaboration. The lone ranger model is qui
etly dying
Imagine
whatout
would
(Daniels
happen&ifHarvey,
teachers
2009,
leftp.54).
the confines of their isolated classr
ooms and worked on classroom projects with a teacher-librarian? Picture the eas
e of planning, instructing and assessing with someone to help you along the way.
The stress of having to teach learning outcomes to a diverse student populatio
n could be lifted off your shoulders and the varied needs of those students coul
d graduated
IIts
be called
better with
met. a B.A. in Education in the spring of 2010. During my 2 years i
collaboration.
n the teaching program, I heard a lot of teacher jargon being used: inquiry, pro
ject-based learning, assessment, web 2.0 tools and collaboration. Collaboration
. During my teacher training, collaboration was briefly discussed and I underst
ood the concept to mean two teachers (or a teacher and a teacher-librarian) work
ing together with their students to achieve one or more learning outcomes. I wa
s intrigued.
As
a trained dancer, I am very comfortable working with others. Together, the o
ther dancers and I would practice and work hard to perform the dances to the bes
t of our abilities. When it came to group choreography, we would plan together
how the dance would start, the different moves that we would execute during the

routine and finally, how the dance would end. A lot of what we did came down to
communication. Verbal communication during the planning stages of the choreogr
aphy and often verbal and physical communication while dancing. All of our diff
ering strengths would result in a balancing act that in the end would create a b
eautiful visual piece of art. Our success came because we were working together
. We were
Shortly
after
collaborating.
graduating from the teaching program, I decided I wanted to pursue
a Masters degree. I started to do some research online and by chance stumbled u
pon the University of Alberta teacher-librarianship web page. As I was reading
through the course objectives, I felt instantly that this was the career path th
at I had to pursue. I was cautioned by colleagues about my choice because of la
rge cuts (particularly in B.C.) happening in school libraries. I, however, had
done my homework and saw the role school libraries could play in transforming sc
hools into 21st century learning institutions with: learning commons, technology
, project-based learning, inquiry, maker spaces, passionate readers, digital cit
izenship, digital literacy and collaboration. I could envision myself in the ro
le was
It
of teacher-librarian.
during my second course in the teacher-librarian program - EDEL 542: Intr
oduction to Inquiry-based Instruction - that the concept of collaboration became
a course focus. Throughout this particular course, I was exposed to what a pow
erful tool collaboration can be and this power was emphasized when I read the fo
llowing quote: Just as collaboration releases the social power of learning for ki
ds, so the social power of teaching together brings excitement and new possibili
ty to our professional lives (Daniels & Harvey, 2009, p.54). I wanted that excit
ement approximately
After
for myself andtwo
foryears
my future
on thestudents.
TTOC (teacher teaching on call) list, I was
finally able to begin my vision for collaboration when I received my first cont
inuing contract as a teacher-librarian. Although I would only be working as the
teacher-librarian three days a week, I could not wait to start collaborating wi
th was
It
my colleagues.
harder finding someone to collaborate with than I had initially planned.
During the first week in my new position, I emailed all of the staff and invite
d them collaborate with me during one of my open collaboration times. There wer
e no takers. After about a month of continued emails to staff, I realized that
what I needed to do was physically walk into classrooms and connect with the cla
ssroom teachers. I needed to see what exactly it was that they were working on
and teaching in their classrooms if I was going to collaborate with them. I was
also part of a learning team grant on inquiry and needed to find someone to col
Ilaborate
connected
withwith
in the
a hurry.
3/4 teacher and discovered that she was going to be coverin
g the astronomy learning outcomes. I suggested we collaborate on a planet inqui
ry unit in order to meet the needs of her diverse learners. I offered that this
was something that we could work on together: an inquiry specific to planets.
At first she was very hesitant, explaining to me that she had a very difficult
class as far as student differentiation was concerned and that an inquiry projec
t would probably be too difficult for them. After we chatted a bit more about w
hat the project could possibly look like and discussed how collaboration and inq
uirycollaboration
Our
projects can project
be greatwas
foradifferentiation,
huge success. Each
she student
was on board!
created an inquiry p
age on their planet within ComicLife. Once the ComicLife pages were done, we im
ported them into Voicethread where the students were able to personally narrate
their comic life page; this brought the students work to life. The students were
so proud of their work. They wanted to be able to share their projects with th
eir parents. We planned a Celebration of Learning so that the parents could come
in and watch the Voicethread presentation with their child. The students work wa
s also shared on the school email so that other staff could see just how great o
ur collaborative project turned out. We had a lot of positive feedback from par
ents is
This
andnot
staff
to say
alike.
that our collaboration time always ran smoothly. It most def
initely came with its share of very difficult moments. Finding the time to work
together with the students was probably the biggest feat we had to overcome, as
I was only at the school three days a week. We were fortunate enough to have b
een given release time to collaborate and plan prior to the commencement of our
inquiry project as we were part of a learning team grant. However, we really ha
d to communicate (often times through email) and work strategically with our ver
y different schedules in order to work on the projects together with the student
s andwecomplete
What
discovered
our through
assessments.
this collaborative inquiry project was that we (mysel

f, the classroom teacher and even the students) were better together. My streng
ths were not necessarily the classroom teachers strengths and vice versa. To be
able to bounce ideas and thoughts off of each other in order to create something
together was absolutely satisfying. The students also benefited enormously fro
m having two teachers who could assist them in their inquiry projects and give t
hem the help and direction that they needed. Assessment was also a lot easier a
s together we could discuss how the students had or had not met the learning out
comes and criteria that had been established. Why try to wade through all of th
e planning, learning outcomes and assessment on your own? Collaboration is the
way tochapter
This
go. After
will explore
all...arent
the research
two headsandbetter
practice
thanofone?
collaboration and the rol
e of the teacher-librarian in building a culture of better together in a school an
d school
WHAT
Anybody
DO SCHOOL
library.
can
create
LEADERS
a study
NEED hall
TO KNOW?
or maintain a rooms of books but a teacher-librar
ian with an open mindset, a solid grasp of curriculum, expertise in digital lite
racy facilitation, and collaboration skills to support knowledge created is need
ed to perform the wizardry that truly creates a learning commons. (van Dyk, 2013,
Benefits
If
para.
the learning
14)for Students
commons is going to thrive in the 21st century, it is imperative
that the school community see the learning commons as the heart of the school (
Brown, 2004; Zmuda & Harada, 2008). The learning commons is the space where stu
dents will become more engaged as they are able explore and experiment through c
ollaboration (Loertscher & Koechlin, 2012; Montiel-Overall, 2005). It is for th
is reason that a qualified teacher-librarian is a necessity in the learning comm
ons, for they understand the complexity, fluidity and dynamics of the space. Th
e clientele of the learning commons is always changing and, therefore, the teach
er-librarian must be able to adjust accordingly (Brown, 2004; Buzzeo, 2008; Mont
iel-Overall, 2005, 2006; Staenberg & Vanneman, 2009; Zmuda & Harada, 2008). Att
entive eyes and ears will inform the teacher-librarian as to how their clientele
uses the library and listens to their compliments, complaints and needs (Doucett,
No2011,
longer
p.131).
can the sage on the stage model of teaching prevail. The guide on the si
de should now reign supreme. Collaboration encourages learning together as the p
refered teaching practice; student from teacher, but also teacher from student a
nd student from peer (Montiel-Overall, 2005). According to Haycock (2007), colla
boration is the single professional behaviour of teacher-librarians that most af
fects student achievement (p. 32). Collaboration creates a classroom of inclusio
n as everyones voice gets the chance to be heard and everyones differing perspecti
ves are given weight (Montiel-Overall, 2005). These types of inclusion are crit
ical as differing perspectives can add and enrich the overall learning experienc
e for both students and teachers (Buzzeo, 2008; Daniels & Harvey, 2009; Kimmel,
2012; Montiel-Overall, 2005; Rogers, 1995). When teacher-librarians, classroom
teachers and students come together, the students will learn more and produce bet
ter research products (Haycock, 2007, p. 23) as greater critical thinking opportu
nities are fostered through co-planning, co-implementing and co-evaluating studen
ts progressin order to improve student learning in all areas of instruction (Montie
l-Overall, 2005, p. 32).planning, teaching, and evaluating student learning across
Collaborationinvolves
the curriculum and providing an instructional team with the teacher as expert in
the content and context and the teacher-librarian as expert in the resources an
d process
Benefits
The
important
for
(Kulthau,
Teachers
role that
2003,teacher-librarians
p.5).
play in the collaboration process sho
uld not be minimized. Through it, teacher-librarians can become collegial leade
rs and partners within their schools (Kimmel, 2012; Kulthau, 2003; Montiel-Overa
ll, 2005, 2006; Rawson, 2014; Zmuda & Harada, 2008). Collaboration gives teache
r-librarians a chance to share their expertise in the field of resources, making
connections and teaching informational literacy (Buzzeo, 2008; Kimmel, 2012; Ku
lthau, 2003; Montiel-Overall, 2005; Zmuda & Harada, 2008). Herring (2011) feels
strongly that the definition of information literacy is as follows: a critical a
nd reflective ability to exploit the current information environment and to adap
t to new information
Preconditions
that areenvironments
helpful (but(p.
not4).
always necessary) for creating a success
ful collaborative experience are: a shared vision, differing skills and talents,
trust, relationships, commitment and communication (Montiel-Overall, 2006, 2008
; Richards, Elliot, Woloshyn, & Mitchell, 2001; Staenberg & Vanneman, 2009; Poll
ard, 2004). Montiel-Overall (2006), states that there are five key elements (in
terest, innovation, intensity, integration, implementation) that should be consi

dered during all collaborative efforts in order that students and staff might re
ceive the maximum
Collaboration
encourages
benefitsteam
fromwork.
this In
typea time
of emergent
when teachers
processare
(p. dealing
29).
with inc
reased demands and diminished resources, collaboration can ease the workload (Mon
tiel-Overall, 2006, p. 28). Through collaboration, the realization of the sum b
eing greater than all of its parts is fulfilled; the group is stronger together
(Dewey, 1963; Ford, 1996; Kulthau, 2003; Montiel-Overall, 2005, 2006; Rogers, 19
95; Staenberg & Vanneman, 2009; Woolls, 2004; Zmuda & Harada, 2008). Montiel-Ov
erall (2005) states that when collaborative endeavors reach their maximum capacit
y, individuals engage in intellectually challenging endeavors where they jointly
Collaboration
create something
encourages
that iscontinuous
greater than
reflection.
what eitherItcould
need not
create
be aalone
formal(p.and29).
wel
l rehearsed undertaking (Montiel-Overall, 2005; Pollard, 2005). In fact, great
collaboration and reflection can occur by using a tool as simple as email. The
key is communication (Montiel-Overall, 2005; Pollard, 2005; Richards et al., 200
1; Staenberg & Vanneman, 2009). With consistent communication, the effectivenes
s of the activity, learning space and assessment can be modified or adapted to e
nsure optimal understanding and authentic learning for students (Staenberg & Van
neman, 2009,
Teachers
who have
p.16).collaborated with teacher-librarians enjoyed the partnership a
nd found the teacher-librarian to be a wealth of knowledge in multiple areas inc
luding instruction, resources and curriculum (Kimmel, 2012; Montiel-Overall, 200
5, 2010; Pollard, 2005; Woolls, 2004; Zmuda & Harada, 2008). What the teacher-l
ibrarians were able to offer the classroom teachers and students was support (Ki
mmel, 2012, p. 92). As stated by an overjoyed classroom teacher: I feel like def
initely you are a key part of our planning because you are able to get those res
ources for us but also you always come with ideas as well. And helping us reali
ze is
What
It
ourAdministration
critical
objective
that(Kimmel,
Can administration
the
Do? 2012, p. 92).
understand the unique role that the teach
er-librarian has to play within the school community (Dorrell, 1995; Hartzell, 2
002; Kimmel, 2012; Morris, 2007; Montiel-Overall, 2005, 2006, 2010). As teacher
s themselves, administrators understand the role teachers play and can often pro
ject this role onto teacher-librarians without having a clear understanding of w
hat is happening in the learning commons (Kimmel, 2012). It is this lack of und
erstanding that often causes teacher-librarian positions to be the first ones cu
t as their usefulness can easily be overlooked as they may not contribute central
ly to any specific practice (Kimmel, 2012, p.93). In order to give administratio
n a clear and succinct picture of the role of a teacher-librarian, teacher-libra
rians need to make themselves visible (through their knowledge, skills, collabor
ationisandalso
Time
openwhat
communication)
is needed intoorder
the for
administration
collaboration
andtoother
occurstaff
and be
members.
successfu
l (Montiel-Overall, 2010; Pollard, 2005). Without it, collaboration will simply
not exist. As Bruner (1968) states: knowledge is a process, not a product (p.72
). Therefore, in order for collaboration to be present within a school for the
benefit of students, teachers and the school community, it is imperative that th
ere be blocks of time allotted that the teacher-librarian can use strictly for c
ollaborative time with classroom teachers (Curry-Lance, Rodney & Schwartz, 2010;
ItHartzell,
is also important
2002).
for administration to allow opportunities for all classroom
teachers and the teacher-librarian to meet in order to discuss learning deficit
s and curriculum goals (Buzzeo, 2008; Hartzell, 2002; Montiel-Overall, 2006; Mor
ris, 2007). These encounters can take the form of a data leadership team or PLC
(Professional Learning Community). Buzzeo (2008) states that having the teache
r-librarian on board as a team member during these discussion times is key to in
creased student achievement as the teacher-librarian can discuss with staff memb
ers the different ways in which their students and curriculum goals can be suppo
rted it
When
andcomes
reinforced
to collaboration,
through collaboration
administrators
and library
are theblocks
chief catalysts
(p.30). and set t
he stage for the school learning environment (Farmer, 2007; Morris, 2007). There
fore, it is critical that administration understand the value and power behind c
ollaboration and what benefits it has for both staff and students (Curry-Lance e
t al., 2010; Hartzell, 2002; Kimmel, 2012; Montiel-Overall, 2005, 2006, 2008, 20
10; Morris; 2007; Pollard, 2005). It is important that collaboration be encoura
ged and supported by the school administration through: adequate resources (incl
uding a qualified teacher-librarian), a school-wide commitment to collaboration,
planned collaborative professional development days, recognition of collaborati
ve efforts, an inclusive school environment and shared planning/collaborative t

ime (Farmer, 2007, p. 63). The research shows that when administrators value col
laboration between teacher-librarians and classroom teachers...it happens more f
requently (Curry-Lance et al., 2010, p. 35). When collaboration occurs, everyone
benefits (Brown, 2004; Buzzeo, 2008; Dorrell, 1995; Hartzell, 2002; Kimmel; Mor
ris, CAN
WHAT
When
2007;
teachers
SCHOOL
Montiel-Overall,
within
LEADERSa school
DO ABOUT?
2005,2006,
collaborate,
2008,they
2010;begin
Pollard,
to think
2005).
not just about my c
lassroom
The
last year
but and
alsoaabout
half has
ourbeen
school.
an absolute
(Loertscher,
whirlwind
Koechlin
of growth
& Zwaan,
and learning
2011, p.107)
f
or me. I started my masters degree in teacher-librarianship just over three year
s ago without really knowing the demands of a teacher-librarian and also not hav
ing a library learning commons to call my own. It was very difficult for me to
wrap my head around my coursework because it was not applied learning, for there
was no space to apply everything that I had studied. Looking back and reflecti
ng on a number of my first assignments, much of my assignments are filled with th
is is what I might do one day or I imagine that I would do this if I had a learnin
g commons to work in. There is no more imagining. I now have a space to call my
Myown.
first job as the new teacher-librarian was to put the collection back in the
stacks. I thought to myself, Pardon me? The books arent already in the stacks?
I dont know where anything is supposed to go. I quickly discovered that the librar
y learning commons had just been re-painted and recarpeted the summer before I r
eceived my position. I instantly felt overwhelmed. Little did I know that thes
e renovations would be the best thing that could have happened to me as the new
teacher-librarian because they gave me the opportunity to get to know my collect
ion. With the help of my library clerk (and my mom), we managed to get the coll
ection
The
teacher-librarian
back in place within
has thetwoability
days, to
justsetinthe
timetone
forfor
school
a schools
to start.
learning envi
ronment (Buzzeo, 2008; Daniels & Harvey, 2009; Farmer, 2007; Montiel-Overall, 20
05, 2008); therefore, one of my first goals was to create a warm and inviting le
arning environment that the students wanted to be in and the teachers wanted to
bring their students to. I wanted it to be an environment in which I could offe
r support to the school community. I had the school district carpenters come in
and move some of the bookshelves in order to create a more open and fluid floor
plan as I had plans in mind of inquiry projects and collaborative work with tea
When it comes to collaboration, administrators are the chief catalysts and set t
chers.
he stage for the school learning environment (Farmer, 2007; Morris, 2007). My a
dministration was very open-minded when it came down to the idea of collaboratio
n and so together we sat down and looked at the library learning commons schedul
e. We decided to move around a few of the book exchange blocks in order that I
might have some collaborative blocks to work with teachers. Once the schedule h
ad been built, I needed to get over my first day jitters as the new teacher-librar
ian and start connecting with the staff in order to find someone to collaborate
with. As I previously mentioned, initially there were no takers on my collabora
tive offers. After that first month with no response from staff, I started to p
hysically go from classroom to classroom and visit with teachers. My first face
-to-face encounter was successful and I ended up collaborating with the grades 3
/4 teacher.
The
important role that teacher-librarians play in the collaboration process sho
uld not be minimized. Through it, teacher-librarians can become collegial leade
rs and partners within their schools (Kimmel, 2012; Kulthau, 2003; Montiel-Overa
ll, 2005, 2006; Rawson, 2014; Zmuda & Harada, 2008). In order to project myself
as collegial leader, I have made sure to become involved with teacher-librarian
Learning Team Grants (LTG) within my school district. Last year I was part of
a LTG entitled Changing the culture of inquiry in the primary grades (this was the
collaborative project with the grades 3/4 teacher) and this year I am part of a
LTG for implementing a MakerSpace within the learning commons. These LTGs are
important for me to be a part of as they give me an opportunity to collaborate w
ith other teacher-librarians and teachers. By being involved in these projects,
After
I am having
showingsuch
to mysuccess
colleagues
with my
thatfirst
I practice
collaborative
what I effort,
preach. I have sought out
other teachers to collaborate with. I have continued to make face-to-face conta
ct as I found that this receives the best response and has allowed me to answer
any questions or squelch any fears that the classroom teacher might have with re
gards to collaboration. My collaborative efforts started out small but critical
- teaching basic information literacy skills (finding, retrieving, analyzing an
d using information) - and led to entire inquiry projects and LTGs. Teachers at

my school are most definitely jumping on the collaborative bandwagon. This can
be evidenced by the fact that my five collaborative blocks are now booked solid
everyjoint
The
week.collaborative blocks really allow me to showcase my knowledge, skills,
strengths and talents in certain areas (information literacy, digital citizensh
ip, digital literacy, research skills, technology, geography and even dance) whi
le allowing the classroom teacher to do the same. What the teachers and I disco
vered through our collaborative projects is that we are better together. We hav
e also found that the students really benefit from having two teachers that can
assist them in their projects and give the help and direction that they need in
order to behas
Technology
better
beenengaged
anotherand
great
successful.
way for me to pursue and encourage collaborati
on with other teachers. As a teacher-librarian, I am also a collegial leader wh
en it comes to technology. I have passionately pursued the technological implem
entation as I have found that many classroom teachers are still not very comfort
able when it comes to using and teaching technology. A goal of mine for this la
st year has been to touch base with a few teachers, find out what outcomes they
are currently working on with their students and show them ways in which I can e
nhance their students learning and interest through technology. Some of the web
tools I have been able to use to enhance student learning and engagement to dat
Ie have
are Timetoast,
found thatWordle,
there isPrezi,
not aVoiceThread
lot of timeand
in aComicLife.
day to demonstrate to teachers
all of the wonderful E-Resources that our school district has purchased and can
be found right at their fingertips. It is for this reason that I now get some
time at our monthly staff meeting to briefly showcase a couple of E-Resources to
our teachers. These E-Resource Showcases have proven extremely successful. The
teachers have been surprised at just how easy these E-Resources are to use once
they know how to access them and equally surprised at how they engage their stud
ents in the learning process. To date, I have had teachers come up to me after
each staff meeting weve had this year and share with me that they were able to ut
ilize the E-Resources I had shown them with their classes. Whether its books, w
eb tools or E-Resources, sharing these resources is key to engaging teachers in
the collaborative process as it allows us to become an accessible and integral pa
rt order
In
of planning
to ensure
(Kimmel,
that my2012,
principal
p.93).and colleagues better understand my role as
teacher-librarian, as well as the impact and significance my role has on our sc
hool community, each year I create a Library/ Learning Commons Year in Review that
I post to our school district school folder. Within my review I mention the fo
*llowing:
number and
collaborative
groups
of resources
clubs
projects
thatcirculated
occur
(and at
withlunch
that
whom)
year
andthat
after
wereschool
completed
(i.e. Crib Club, Lego Cl
*ub,changes
volunteer
Red Cedar,
that
reading
Rainbow
were
programs
made
Loom
to the
Club,
(i.e.
learning
etc).
Costcocommons
Readers)(i.e. sections that were moved,
*weeded
WHAT
When
professional
grants
Learning
goals
aDOES
teacher
and
achieved
to
applied
THIS
team
be
expanded)
achieved
development
MEAN
is
grants
for
this
willing
FORyear
ISCHOOL
the
was
tofollowing
opportunities
a LEADERS
move
parta learning
ofyear
INthat
CANADA
experience
I attended
AND THEfrom
WORLD?
the classroom...goo
d things happen: There are now two teachers instead of one, an information-rich
and technology-rich environment is available, and each learner can expect twice
as much
Like
classroom
professional
teachers,
support
teacher-librarians
(Champlain & Loertscher,
have the ability
2003, p.67)
to motivate and ins
pire students. We have the ability to help our students see more than just the
words on the page and teach them to go beyond the information given to create end
less thoughts
Within
a single(Wolf,
classroom
2007,there
p.16).
is a unique cross-section of intellectual abilit
ies, socio-economic statuses and behaviours. These differences have shown me th
e importance of versatility when planning, creating, managing and meeting the in
dividual learners unique, educational needs. The importance of finding an assort
ment of ways to teach and motivate students on their educational journey is evid
ent to me. This
Collaboration
starts
is where
with you.
collaboration
Talk to your
shines.
administration, make sure they supp
ort you in your collaborative endeavors and work with them to rearrange your sch
edule so that you can have collaborative blocks. Seek out teachers. Dont just e
mail them. Walk into their classrooms, make them aware of your abilities, skill
s and talents, and ask them how you can support them in their classroom. Connec
t with other teacher-librarians in your district and find out what they are doin
g in their learning commons and school communities. Attend professional develop
ment days and seek out learning team grants. If there arent Pro D days to attend
Collaboration
or LTGs to behasa the
partpower
of, put
to change
one on us,
or start
our colleagues,
one.
our students and schoo
l community. Collaboration demands trust and communication as it is a partnersh
ip. A partnership that allows skills and strengths to be utilized and leads to
greater student
Daniels,
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of innovations
education.
andAthe
collaborative
Westport,
(4th
ed).conversation.
CT:
NewBegin
York:and
Free
School
Garvey.
Press.
Li
braryDyk,
van
Monthly,
http://www.schoollibrarymonthly.com/
J. (2013,
26(4),February
15-17. 17).
Retrieved
More than
from comfy chairs. [Web blog comment].
Wolf,
Woolls,
Retrieved
M.B.
http://jacquelinevandyk.ca/more-than-comfy-chairs/
(2007).
from: (2004).
(ed).
Proust The
and school
the squid.
library
Newmedia
York:manager
Harper (3rd
Perennial.
ed). Westport,
CT: Greenwood.
Zmuda,
A., & Harada, V. (2008). Librarians as learning specialists: Meeting th
e learning
Westport,
imperative
CT: Libraries
for the 21st
Unlimited.
century.

ThisStudents
Teacher-Librarians
Engaging
Teacher-Librarians
sectionand
explores
Supporting
Engaging
how qualified
and Supporting
teacher-librarians
Students
are transforming their sp
aces and places to respond to the changing needs of their learning communities. E
rin Jones believes teacher-librarians have an important role to play in supporti
ng at-risk and vulnerable adolescents. Her chapter examines her own experiences
working with at-risk youth and provides the reader with research and practical
ideas about how to build an open, welcoming and safe haven for all students, esp
ecially those who are marginalized. Megan Fulgeras presents Genius Hour an oppo
rtunity for self-directed learning during the school day where students pursue t
opics of interest to them, share their learning with their classmates, and refle
ct upon those experiences. Research supports the benefits of self-directed lear
ning and Megan provides practical advice for those interested in implementing a
Genius Hour
Although
school
in their
libraries
schoolshould
and school
alwayslibrary.
remain at the heart of the school, the c
hapters in this section push us to think about ways in which school libraries ca
n push the boundaries of traditional programs and services, and promote new ways
of thinking about school library spaces and teacher-librarians.
Supporting At Risk and Vulnerable Adolescent Students Through School Libraries a
nd the
By
Why
erincejones123@gmail.com
At
Collection
Erin
Should
beginning
Jones
School
Development
ofLeaders
my teaching
Care? career, I took a job at a local alternative high
school for at-risk youth. I was going to be responsible for teaching English La
nguage Arts and Social Studies to a group of students who, for a variety of reas
ons, had large gaps in their education and were attempting to transition back in
to school. I was also given the informal title of Literacy Specialist. I remembe
r excitedly driving to work on my first day, being kindly acknowledged by a few
students as I walked by the smoke pit and into the run down old building that ho
used the program and meeting with my administrator. After being shown my room, o
ne of my first questions was with regards to where the library was located. To m
y utter shock and horror, there was no library. Not even a small area where stud
ents could pick up a book and flop down on a cozy chair and escape for awhile. I
t was immediately clear to me that I needed to get an assortment of books into t
he school
These
students,
fast. many of whom were marginalized in a regular school environment,
were not being given the tools, books, and learning resources that could potenti
ally help them, enrich their lives, or provide some escapism from the terrible i
ssues they were dealing with. How, without providing library access to students,
was I supposed to increase literacy in their subject areas and develop a comfor
t level or love of reading? It seemed to me, the school was depriving some of ou
r most vulnerable students of a right to learn. The situation struck me as simil
ar to that of Erin Gruwell in The Freedom Writers (1999) novel and movie adapta
tion. She was given the task of teaching grade 10 English to a diverse, high nee
ds, at risk class, but yet did not have access to quality material to do so. Eri
n Gruwells story is based on real events, where once given access to quality mate
rials and helped through them, students made connections, improved their literac
y, developed their writing skills, began to trust an educator and graduated. The
y were able to connect to books like The Diary of Anne Frank and write about the
ir own challenges. Her story, as well as many others, helps illustrate how criti
cally important access to good resources is. It can literally change lives. As I
moved from the transitional program into teaching senior students their core cl
asses, I brought in several books for students, implemented uninterrupted silent
reading, read aloud and used several other strategies, but could not help but w
onder my
Since
whattime
difference
at the alternative
could be made
school,
if students
I have spent
had access
several
to years
a school
teaching
library.
Eng
lish at two inner city high schools with many at risk and vulnerable youth. At
risk is a tricky term that has come to mean many things. Schonert-Reichl (2000)
examines the term in her research, saying at risk has been applied to children an
d youth experiencing a wide array of difficulties, ranging from exposure to peri
natal stress, poverty, abuse, death of a parent, to school failures, teenage pre
gnancy to juvenile delinquency (p. 3-4). For this chapter, I would like to incl
ude in this definition our vulnerable students who may be socially or academical
ly at risk. These vulnerable students include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgende
r and Queer (LGBTQ) youth, those with mental health issues, anxiety or special n
As I move from my role of classroom teacher into that of teacher librarian, it i
eeds.
s an absolute priority that my library reflect the diverse population of todays s
chools. Students need to see and have access to quality literature that features

characters like them. They need to see LGBTQ literature as normalized, not hidd
en away behind the librarians desk. Bishop (2013) warns that without vital books a
nd resources, gay students can end up in high risk situations (p. 199). She also
says that having information available on LGTBQ can discourage bullying and teas
ing from others, and that LGTBQ students should see people and families like the
ir own represented and accepted in literature (Bishop, 2013, p. 199). However, thi
s is true for all of our vulnerable students. They need to see books that give t
hem hope to overcome poverty, they need to see special needs students in books a
s heroes rather than victims, and they need to see books featuring stories and c
haracters from multicultural backgrounds. All of these books need to be the norm
in our school libraries. Teacher-librarians can be key in supporting at risk st
udents by using their knowledge of the overall curriculum, technological expertis
e, and the ability to locate resources, [TLs] are in a unique position to collab
orate with the educational team and evaluate at-risk students (Gavignon & Kurtts,
This
2010,chapter
p. 3).will explore the research and practice of the role of the teacher-l
ibrarian in supporting at risk students. School libraries need to be safe place
s where at-risk students differences are acknowledged and respected (Gavignon & Kur
tts, 2010, p. 3). In order to feel acknowledged and respected, students need to
see a diverse collection that represents a variety of different themes, backgrou
nds, and characters. This not only helps at risk students, but helps all student
s develop empathy and learn about others. They need access to qualified teacherlibrarians to guide them and support them. Teacher-librarians need to ensure th
ey are knowledgeable of such resources, advocate for all students and create a p
lace where vulnerable students can not only access resources, but feel safe in d
oingando
What
In
so.
article
Schoolfrom
Leaders
the 2013
Need School
to Know?Library Journal entitled At Risk Youth and the
School Library a teacher-librarian called libraries the great equalizer (Adams, 20
13, p. 2). The American Library Association shares this view as a part of the De
claration for the Rights to Libraries, adding that libraries serve people of ever
y age, education level, income level, ethnicity and physical ability (ALA, 2015,
para. 4). In Canada, the Canadian Library Association also demonstrates their co
mmitment to diversity and inclusion by stating that libraries have a responsibili
ty to contribute to a culture that recognizes diversity and fosters social inclu
sion, (CLA, 2014, para. 1). In a secondary school setting this should be true as
well, with attention and consideration to issues affecting our youth. In additi
on to several other things, providing a comfortable, equalizing and safe environ
ment in the school library begins by offering a diverse collection that appeals
to our and
Access
According
alltoBarriers
youth.
Sanacore (1998), both at risk and not at risk students benefit grea
tly from being given choice in their reading selections. He states an important b
enchmark for their choice of material is that they have a pleasurable experience
with it (Sanacore, p. 4). The author adds that students are more apt to consider
reading as a lifetime activity when we respect their choices and when we give th
em time to read, (Sanacore, p. 4). He advocates providing at risk learners with r
ich literary environments where there is access to a wide variety of reading mat
erials and time for pleasure reading (Sanacore, p. 5). Students need time to rea
d for pleasure, and a diverse variety of literature that represents different ki
nds of people, cultures and situations. The teacher-librarian is an expert who c
an build a collection around the unique needs and issues of their school communi
Sadly, the rich literacy environment that Joseph Sanacore recommended is not wid
ty.
ely happening with our at risk youth. Like in the alternative school I taught at
, many alternative schools and programs do not have a school library. The lack
of outreach from other school or public libraries, as well as the students own ba
rriers can have a significant negative impact on library access. Pytash (2012) e
xamined how creating a classroom library at an alternative school, or taking tho
se ideas and applying them to the school library, can have positive impact. By p
roviding quality, diverse books: access to the classroom library began to change
the students perceptions of themselves as literate members of the community, (Pyta
sh, 2012, p. 33). They began to value knowledge more and appreciate a variety o
f literature simply because they were exposed to it. Pytash encourages outreach
between teacher-librarians and others who work with at risk youth, like probatio
n officers and juvenile court officials. These community workers may have insigh

t and knowledge of the reading habits and interests of at risk youth that would
allow teacher-librarians to become advocates for at risk youth in their school o
r in alternative school settings. School leaders need to know that for at risk s
tudents to gain confidence, positive self esteem, and the skills to help them be
successful in life, they need access to books, ideally in a school library.
In a time where teacher-librarians are seeing significant cuts to their programs
and positions, the importance of a qualified, teacher-librarian becomes even mo
re important for our vulnerable and at risk youth. In a recent study looking at
student success and staffing ratios in Idaho and Colorado, it was found that elem
entary schools with better-staffed libraries have a significantly higher percent
age of students scoring proficient or advanced in reading, (Frances & Lance, 2011
, p. 65). The impact is especially dramatic for vulnerable students; the study s
uggested that a well-staffed library can be especially important for the neediest
students, (Frances & Lance, 2011, p. 65) and that with teacher-librarians, the a
chievement gap can be narrowed. If we want to make sure that our most vulnerable
students are getting the best possible opportunities, as well as exposure to a
variety of literature, web tools and information literacy instruction, we need t
eacher-librarians with an open, caring, welcoming disposition, so that our stude
nts can experience the success they deserve. We need to advocate for our at risk
students, by insisting they have access to libraries and qualified teacher-libr
For LGBTQ students, access and barriers can be significant issues. Teacher-libra
arians.
rians may be apprehensive to add books with LGTBQ characters, themes or issues o
ut of fear of being challenged. Between 2001 and 2008, there were 3,736 challeng
es of materials brought to the American Library Association (Adams, 2009, p. 48)
. Over half the challenges were from schools, and were mostly from parents. One
of the primary reasons for books being challenged, was positive portrayal of homo
sexuality (Adams, 2009, p. 48). Schools need to start educating students early ab
out being inclusive and accepting of sexual and gender diversity. Using age-appro
priate books that reflect all family types (families with two moms, two dads, fo
ster parents, blended families, extended families, interracial or intercultural
members, and adopted families) will breed understanding and sensitivity (Flecker
& Gutteridge, 2008, p. 2). Teacher-librarians and school leaders can face book c
hallenges head on with clear selection policies and procedures for challenged ma
LGBTQ students may not have always had positive interactions at both school and
terials.
public libraries. In a study by Curry (2005, pp. 65-75) a young lesbian woman vi
sited twenty Vancouver public libraries as a secret shopper for LGBTQ content and
information. The young woman reported she would not return to twelve of the twen
ty libraries due to negative physical reactions from the public librarians, such
as raised eyebrows or frowns (2005, p. 73). She also felt that she was treated in
an abrupt manner and rushed. This is one of the many reasons it is so important
for teacher-librarians to greet students with a smile, positive attitude and no
t let any personal biases or prejudices taint interactions. LGBTQ literature can
be tough to find in school libraries, partially due to the lack of appropriate
subject and topic headings. The lack of the heading homosexuality-fiction, makes t
he available books invisible (Schrader, 2004, p. 11). In many schools, students
cannot find any LGBTQ books at all. How can people feel they are valued if they
are excluded
There
are manyfrom
positive
their ways
schoolthat
library
the library
collection?
can be used to foster tolerance an
d embrace all students, such as hosting gay/straight alliance clubs and book dis
plays, but one of the most powerful determinants of comfort is how LGBTQ student
s feel in the library. Do they feel that they are represented? Do they feel safe
? Do they feel that there is a professional who is advocating for them by provid
ing them with quality, LGBTQ resources from all genres? LGBTQ students are at a
higher risk to drop out of school due to bullying and negativity. A well-equippe
d library with a caring teacher-librarian has the power to make a significant di
fference
Something
An
inclusive
toForancommunity
Everyone
LGBTQ student.
that caters to diverse, vulnerable, and at risk students
begins with knowing the population of the school and ensuring that there are qua
lity books on the shelves for all students. In her look at urban learners and ho
w libraries can support them in their challenges, Foster (2014) says using books
can encourage urban learners to converse and discuss real-life experiences cente
red around selected titles that address at-risk challenges and environmental har

dships (p. 2). She urges teacher-librarians to connect to the students life experi
ences and engage their interests. Scott (2014) cautions, however, that we need t
o be aware of our language choices for and around at risk youth, stating there co
ntinues to be a tendency...to discuss at-risk youth in a way that is paternalist
ic and unnecessarily dramatic (p. 37). She warns that approaching at risk youth i
n this way can limit how teacher-librarians interact with and provide for at ris
k youth. So, while we need to make sure we are catering to the interests of our
at risk and vulnerable students, we also need to watch how we address them, and
try to avoid
Students
withcliched
learningresponses
disabilities
and saviour
can alsocomplexes.
be at risk. Wopperer (2011) provide
s a brief history of the poor portrayal of young people with disabilities in lit
erature. She says literature portraying characters with disabilities can help chi
ldren and young adults develop the habit of reading for pleasure about character
s like themselves, and it can support the development of personal power by portr
aying these characters as strong and believable (Wopperer, p. 2). Wopperer notes
that self esteem and sense of purpose can also be developed with an inclusive co
llection. Including literature with students with disabilities also helps others
increase awareness and understanding. Wopperer recommends that when selecting l
*iterature
Realistic
Plot
andfeaturing
Settingand Accurate
students
universal
Characterization
with
plotsdisabilities,
that are appealing
teacher-librarians
to all, bookslook
thatfor:
deal w
*ithInformation
Meaningful
Up
real
to date
life,language
and
needs
tough
Accurate
tosituations.
with
be accurateIllustrations
regards tocharacters
disabilities.
with disabilities need to be pres
ented accurately.
Wopperer
points out that we are moving in the right direction with having inclus
ive literature, but that more work needs to be done. She notes that there is a ga
p that needs to be filled in the lack of young adult literature that at a lower
reading level [addresses] issues young people want to read about (Wopperer, 2011,
p. 7). While Wopperer was focusing on representing students with disabilities i
n the school library, her recommendations could and should be used for any vulne
rable or at risk students as well. When thinking about content for LGBTQ student
s, teacher librarian, Sarah Stone (2014) advises looking at books focusing on LGB
TQ issues from many different angles (p.2). She also warns that the queer experie
nce doesnt have to be limited to coming out books and can include other topics like d
ealing with your own homophobia (as cited in Barack, 2014, p. 2). She uses an ex
ample students
LGBTQ
of Chris are
Terrys
socially
Zero at
Fade,
risk,
where
andatherefore
teen is processing
are more likely
his uncle
to bebeing
truant,
gay.
disengaged and bullied. Essentially, these students are potentially at risk due
to a variety of factors, many of which might overlap; most importantly, these s
tudents are in need of our support. The Center for Disease Control and Preventio
n (CDC) gives some startling statistics under its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Tra
nsgendered health section. The website states that LGBTQ youth are at risk for su
icidal thoughts and behaviors, suicide attempts, and suicide (CDC, 2014, para. 5)
. The site further adds that after a national study of grade 7-12 students, it w
as found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to
have attempted suicide as their peers (CDC, 2014, para. 5). With regards to a stu
dy of 55 transgendered youth, the CDC report that 25% had reported suicide attem
pts (para. 5). These students are most definitely at risk. Students at risk are
far more likely to experience bullying and violence at school or home. At risk
students need to feel included in the schools overall culture, as well as support
In a study at the University of the Pacific, displays were used and there was co
ed.
llaboration between the librarian and other outreach workers to promote inclusiv
ity, education and outreach to marginalized groups of students. The results were
very positive from staff and students. Essentially patrons- and particularly stu
dents from underrepresented groups - have seen library faculty and staff involve
d in these efforts as allies in the creation of a campus environment which foste
rs an ever-deepening commitment to diversity and social justice (Maloney, 2012, p
. 288). In turn, communication and sharing ideas between the library and members
of the school community have increased (Maloney, 2012, p. 288). These same idea
s and initiatives can be done in an elementary or high school to educate, promot
e awareness, and help provide a comfortable environment for all. The study also
highlights how outreach can be powerful in reaching marginalized students. The l
ibrary can be the centre of the school in promoting a positive, inclusive school
Everyone
We
environment
cannotbenefits
afford
wheretoall
be neutral
studentsinmatter.
our ethical responsibilities. As educators, we
have an obligation to advocate for our at risk students. Having a library colle
ction that reflects the diverse school population and helps vulnerable students

feel included and important, benefits everyone. Walton (2012) reminds us of the
important role of literature [and] its capacity to enable readers to imagine wha
t it is like to be another (p. 225). Many readers have probably felt deeply for a
character in a book, widening their scope of understanding. One could argue tha
t developing empathy for others is an essential skill, partially learned through
reading diverse books. Walton focuses much attention on the book The Curious In
cident with the Dog in the Night and its autistic protagonist Christopher Boone.
She also looks at other recent books featuring characters with Aspergers syndrom
e or other learning disabilities that may make them vulnerable to bullying and e
xclusion (Walton, 2012, p. 228). Contemporary book choices offer diverse litera
ture that make it so all students can read, enjoy and ideally become more unders
tanding, compassionate human beings, as a result. In the case of at risk youth w
ho have been incarcerated, Guerra (2011) identifies literacy as a main factor in
whether teens build productive lives with no recidivism (p. 58). He states that li
brarians have
Educating
others
a great
aboutdeal
diverse
to offer
peoplethis
andpopulation
their struggles
in need
is always
(Guerra,beneficial
p. 58). a
nd yet, in many places is still very limited. In School Library Journal, author
of the acclaimed book on bullying, Sticks and Stones, Bazelon (2013), says in an
interview with Karyn Peterson, Empathy can be inspired. But it can also really b
e concretely discussed and I actually think story-telling is a tremendously powe
rful vehicle for this (Peterson, 2013, p. 4). She goes on to discuss her own chil
drens reactions to stories and how they can really imagine what it would be like f
rom those characters eyes and really come to value their feelings and emotions (Pe
terson, 2013, p. 4). We can understand a great deal about people, simply by rea
ding stories about characters like ourselves or those who have had different exp
eriences than our own. Our world can widen and become a more compassionate, acce
pting place. In secondary school, where students are facing more and more issues
, thishave
There
becomes
beeneven
several
morestudies
important.
and discussions looking at fiction developing em
pathy. Mar, Oatley and Peterson (2009) discussed the relationship between readin
g fiction and empathy: While reading fiction, the simulation of social experience
that occurs might engage the same social-cognitive processes employed during re
al-world social comprehension (p. 408). The study surmises that repeated simulatio
n of this kind, then, could lead to a honing of these social and empathetic proc
esses, which in turn could be applied to other contexts outside of reading (Mar e
t al., 2009, p. 408). The study concluded that reading reaches a lot further tha
n what is on the pages (Mar et al., 2009, p. 424). Representing and providing li
terature to meet the needs of our at risk and vulnerable students serves the bet
terment of the entire school community and has the power to change perceptions,
attitudes and treatment of our students. School leaders need to know that being
an adolescent is a difficult time, even more so for our vulnerable students. Sui
cide is the second most common cause of death for adolescents, and our vulnerabl
e students are at higher risk. This is why it is of critical importance for our
school libraries to be open, welcoming, safe havens for all, with a flourishing
collection that is representative of our different students and shows that we em
bracenext
The
allsection
of our will
students,
help school
especially
leaders
thosewith
whopractical
are marginalized.
considerations and ways
to make their library and school a more accepting place for everyone. It is a g
uide as to what needs to be done to ensure our students needs are being met with
What
Work
the together
collection
can
schooltoleaders
and
provide
in the
doa safe,
schoolsupportive
about?
library. environment for at-risk and vulnerab
le students. and effective communication to meet the needs of our students is e
Collaboration
ssential so that we are informed and united in our approach. All school professi
onals, especially teacher-librarians, can play a key role in supporting and havi
ng a positive impact on our struggling students lives. Jami Jones (2009) provides
an excellent guide as to how teacher-librarians can support at-risk students. S
he created a Library Ladder of Resiliency to show how school libraries can be ce
ntral to engaging, mentoring, and supporting at-risk youth. The first rung of he
r ladder called Making Connections (Jones, 2009, p. 84) is arguably the most impor
tant. The teacher-librarian has the privilege of working with all students in th
e school, therefore making her the centre of of a supportive environment. Jones
references Evans (2000), saying collection development is built on the premise t
hat librarians know their clientele and communities and continually assess user
expectations and needs. (Evans as cited in Jones, 2009, p. 84). Making connection

s with vulnerable students not only helps create a welcoming, safe environment,
but it shows a commitment to representing their needs and wants in the collectio
n. Knowing our students is critical in making connections and best serving them.
At-risk
Teacher-librarians
and vulnerable
canstudents
be instrumental
need ourinattention.
this.
When I was working at the al
ternative school, we had a staff meeting every week to discuss issues around the
school and students of concern. This may seem extreme, but due to the nature of
our students and the very difficult issues they were grappling with, it was imp
ortant that, as a staff, we were a team and were informed. In a conventional sch
ool, teacher-librarians can assist by being a part of round-robin meetings about
students experiencing difficulties, can attend department head meetings, and k
eep in regular contact with the counselling staff, special education teachers an
d alternative program teachers. Teacher-librarians have the unique ability to re
ach all students and can be a valuable ally and advocate when they have the info
rmation they need. Small gestures, such as providing a safe place to eat lunch,
play games, and participate in activities and clubs in the library can help, as
well as creating and promoting a varied collection. Jones (2009) says that teach
er-librarians are the best at promoting literacy, when they promote the right boo
ks at the right time (Jones & Zambone as cited in Jones, 2009, p. 84). Knowing ou
r students and their issues should help shape our collection to ensure we are re
aching all of our students, particularly those who are marginalized. Putting a m
eaningful book into an at risk or vulnerable students hands can have immeasurable
Welcome
Jones
impact.
(2006)
all students,
says a library
knock media
down barriers,
specialistandneeds
listen...
to understand teen development
and the youth culture (p. 23). She adds that it is this understanding that is ne
eded to build a good library program. Jones offers some ideas as to how teacher
librarians can help at risk youth become more resilient. She suggests that they
can promote book clubs and other events that foster student friendships, improve
academic success and build community (Jones, 2006, p. 23). The author recommends
collaboration between the school and public library to offer programs and servic
es to teens (Jones, 2006, p. 23). Adolescents like to feel that they are being h
eard, and Jones (2006) suggests they be involved in circulation, collection deve
lopment and the overdue policy (p. 23). Making policies like having no overdue f
ees charged to students can be effective for allowing them to gain access to mat
erials. Many at risk students simply cannot afford to pay, and charging them wou
ld be a detriment to what libraries are trying to do. If we want to create and f
oster lifelong reading, we need to make sure we are providing books for students
, even ifalso
Students
we lose
appreciate
a few. being asked for feedback. Teacher-librarians have the o
pportunity to talk to students about what they are reading, what they want to be
reading and what (if anything) is preventing them from reading. Students should
also be encouraged to leave book suggestions in an anonymous box somewhere in t
he library or add titles to an ongoing list on display for everyone to see. They
need to feel like their thoughts and requests are being addressed, and that the
re is follow through on their suggestions. If the teacher-librarian is approacha
ble and empathetic, then students might also feel they can request titles in per
It is also important that the teacher-librarian is knowledgeable about the popul
son.
ation of the school and keeps up to date about books that appeal to, and represe
nt, a variety of students. There are many places to seek out book reviews to mak
e informed choices for the collection, such as School Library Journal, Booklist,
Kirkus Reviews, Goodreads, and Librarything. In particular there are book revi
ews and recommended resources for special needs students, LGTBQ students and oth
er students at risk. Fellow teacher-librarians, teacher unions and public librar
Aians
variety
can also
of books
provide
mustexpertise
be included
and for
advice
allwith
reading
suggestions.
levels. This might mean maki
ng sure that high interest books with accessible vocabulary are in the collectio
n. It also means having a conversation with students and mentioning some themes
in available books. If those themes are relatable to their varied life experienc
es, curiosity is fostered. Uninterrupted pleasure reading should be promoted and
encouraged as a way to develop life long readers. In a Literature Review from t
he University of Alberta (n.d.), the document urges schools to honestly scrutini
ze [their] culture and identify and acknowledge which students may feel less welc
ome in this culture than others (p. 4). Library collections are integral to helpin
g everyone feel welcomed and accepted through highlighting differences, giving i

nformation and representing the school population . The review also advises bein
g flexible with instruction, while also promoting and modelling multiple academi
c approaches. Librarians are important partners in this, due to their knowledge
of the curriculum and resources, and by being able to provide access to technolo
Agyrecent
to enable
bookdifferentiated
by James Dawsonlearning
(2014),(University
a young adult
of author
Alberta,from
n.d.).
the United Kingd
om, is meant to fill a void in many secondary schools. The book entitled, This B
ook is Gay plays on the phrase heard in many high-schools and seeks to educate L
GBTQ students and those who identify as straight. As a heterosexual, I benefitte
d greatly from reading the book, but can only imagine how wonderful it would be
in the hands of a LGBTQ student who has unanswered questions, or needs assurance
that they are not alone. The book addresses everything about being LGBTQ that s
chool sexual education programs avoid. Real excerpts from LGBTQ people from all
over the world are included. It also examines some of the brutal history of LGBT
Q people, the amazing victories, how LGBTQ people are treated in different count
ries, and lastly, includes a chapter called A Guide to Recognizing Your Gay Saint
s. (Dawson, 2014, p. 239). All of this information is given accessibly and has th
e right balance of seriousness and comic relief. Every secondary school and publ
ic library should have this book, and students, LGBTQ or not, should be encourag
ed to read it. In addition to a variety of books, LGBTQ students should have acc
ess to informational websites. School Library Journal (2006) recommends the foll
owing: Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays www.pflag.org, Gay, Lesb
ian and Straight Education Network www.glsen.org, The American Library Associati
ons Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Roundtable isd.usc.edu/~trimmer/glbt
rt/biblist.htm, The Gay Straight Alliance Network www.gsanetwork.org/index.html
(p. 50). Canadian LGBTQ sites that students need access to are: Canada Human Rig
hts Trust www.egale.ca, My GSA www.mygsa.ca, PFLAG Canada www.pflagcanada.ca. Al
l of these sites offer support and resources for students, educators and familie
s. Teacher-librarians need to ensure that the library computers do not block any
of these sites, as they all contain useful and possibly life saving information
.For LGBTQ books, the access barriers must be removed. LGBTQ literature must be e
asy to find and promoted to all students. Book displays can be a powerful tool i
n creating a culture of acceptance, safety and tolerance, not only for LGBTQ gro
ups, but any marginalized or vulnerable groups. Whelan (2006) in School Library
Journal suggests cataloguing fiction and nonfiction books under every subject hea
ding imaginable so kids can easily find them, (p. 48). She advises against labeli
ng books with rainbows or triangles, but suggests adding a bibliography of LGBTQ
books to the library webpage, and ensuring they are on summer reading lists and
included in book talks (p. 48). In the same article, a teacher-librarian at a s
chool in Rochester, New York, even suggests letting students take the books with
out actually checking them out. The school library can be a safe haven for LGBTQ
and at risk students and can also lead in creating a school-wide support system
with colleagues, counsellors and administrators to make sure that students feel
What
We
included,
must
Doescommit
This
valued
Meanadvocating
to
andForfree
School
toand
beLeaders
who they
supporting
in Canada
are.
at risk,
(andvulnerable
the world)and LGBTQ studen
ts by providing them with a welcoming, safe, accepting and diverse school librar
y and collection. The following excerpt shows the perspective of a teacher-libra
rian andlibraries
School
the importance
can betosanctuaries
at risk youth:
and places of hope for at-risk students when
staffed by empathetic school librarians who are aware of their needs. Santos and
Dante live in shelters without access to books, but they run to the library and
even fight for books because they are so valuable to them. Books provide them wi
th a comforting haven to escape from a world that is not always just and fair. I
feel blessed to work with these students because I get to witness a school libr
ary program act as a powerful agent of change (Valerie, email message to author,
Oct.cannot
We
28, 2012,
underestimate
cited in the
Adams,
importance
2013, p.that
28).the school library and teacher-libra
rian holds in an at risk or vulnerable students life. Ultimately, students want t
o be accepted, safe and have engaging learning opportunities, presenting teacher
-librarians with important opportunities. Teacher librarians are advocates for f
reedom of information and speaking out against censorship, we must not be neutra
l when it comes to our struggling students. Through being a part of the school t
eam, consulting with school counsellors, police liaison officers and others, we
can get to know our students and cater our collection to them. By encouraging st

udents to have a voice in library policies and collection, we show that we value
their contributions. Using book displays and making sure that students have acc
ess and can find LGBTQ books and websites celebrates our differences, rather tha
n implying shame by hiding them. Flecker and Gutteridge (2008) remind us that equ
ity education is key to our societys growth and understanding. Its about linking t
he isms - racism, classism and sexism- and it needs to include homophobia. (p. 39)
They conclude by reminding us of our duty to support all of our students needs a
nd experiences, concluding that you never know...it may even save lives. (p. 39).
As teacher-librarians, we have the unique opportunity to not only foster a love
of reading, but to also help students foster a love of self by helping them gai
n theIconfidence
When
reflect back
andonsecurity
my timetoatbethesuccessful
alternative
in school,
life. I think about the diff
erent students we had attending. We had young mothers, students experiencing tro
ubled homes, students who had had issues with the law, transgendered students, l
earning disabled students, and students who simply didnt feel they fit anywhere e
lse. During my time there, our population grew immensely. This tells me that our
young people need our support and that at risk and vulnerable students are not
just a small minority of our population. As teacher-librarians, we have an incre
dible opportunity to engage these students and hopefully make their lives a litt
le easier by showing them we are happy to welcome them and that they are valuabl
e members
Additional
The
BCTF has
ofresources
our together
put
school community.
an informative guide for students, educators, counsell
ors and parents. There are lists of resources for elementary and secondary schoo
ls, as well as resources on dealing with bullying of LGBTQ students and opposit
ion to resources. This is a great place to start looking for titles to include i
n classrooms or school library collections. https://bctf.ca/SocialJustice.aspx?i
The University of Alberta site has information about several LGBTQ resources and
d=17990
book lists such as Stonewall book awards, Rainbow books, and Goodreads. The sit
e also has information on setting up Gay Straight Alliances in Alberta, celebrat
ing Pride, tips for teaching tolerance, and many great links to other resources
and information. http://guides.library.ualberta.ca/content.php?pid=326821&sid=26
The Alberta government just passed Bill 10, which allows students in any school
76800
to set up a Gay Straight Alliance club. Here is a guide to setting up a GSA for
teachers: http://www.ismss.ualberta.ca/sites/www.ismss.ualberta.ca/files/GayStra
Jami L. Jones PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library Science
ightAlliancesinAlbertaSchoolsWells2006.pdf
and Instructional Technology at East Carolina University. Her article The Librar
y Media Specialist: A Vital Link discusses at risk students and offers practical
ways in which teacher-librarians can support students. She includes a list of pr
ofessional books for further information on various issues with at risk students
.Jones, Jami.(Feb.2006). The library media specialist: a vital link. School Libra
ry Media Activities
Stephanie
Guerra explores
Monthly.
the22(6),
importance
22-24.of literacy and librarian outreach to a
t risk and incarcerated youth. She discusses what being at risk means, examines
books to engage at risk students, potential conflicts and selection policies. Th
e article offers some valuable information and advice, not only for incarcerated
students, but those in alternative or conventional schools, who are at risk. Gu
erra, S. (2010). Reaching out to at-risk teens: building literacy with incarcera
ted youth.
When
I taught
PNLAatQuarterly,
an alternative
75(1),school,
50-60.we stocked our classrooms full of Orca b
ooks and students devoured them. Orca book publishers offer low vocabulary, high
interest books with themes relatable to at risk and vulnerable students. They o
ffer threeistypes
Library
http://www.orcabook.com/client/client_pages/landingpage.html
a place
of where
books:there
Orca is
Soundings,
a table for
Orcaeveryone.
Currents and
Where
OrcaitSports.
is okay to sit
alone with a book or a laptop or your thoughts. We feed so many in so many ways
. We smile. We greet so many who enter our doors by name. (Joyce Valenza, 2011,
para. 8) Valenzas blog entry Where Theres Always a Place at the Table is an importan
t reminder of the importance of the library in the lives of vulnerable students.
http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2011/12/21/where-theres-always-a-place-at
This is a guide by the Ontario Teachers Federation to help create safe and inclu
-a-table/
sive schools. The site includes anti-bullying, equity and inclusive education re
sources. There are online modules for educators to use for professional developm
ent. The site also links to resources for: racism, homophobia, sexism and other
generalH.resources.
Adams,
References
R. (2009).http://www.safeatschool.ca
The freedom to question: challenges in school libraries. Sc
hool Library
Monthly, 26(3), 48-49. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibrarym
Adams, H.R. (2013). At-risk students and the school library. School Library Mont
onthly.com/articles/index.html

American
hly,
29(6),
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Library
28-29.
from http://www.schoollibrarymonthly.com/articles/index.html
Association.
(2015). Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/advocacy
Barack, K.
/declaration-right-libraries-text-only
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Bishop,
L.from
(2014).
(2013).
http://www.slj.com
LGBTQcollection
The
& you. School
program
Library
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60(5),and
40.practices. San
ta Barbara,
Canadian
Library
CA: Libraries
Association.
Unlimited.
(2014). Retrieved from http://www.cla.ca/AM/Templa
te.cfm?Section=Position_Statements&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=471
3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.c
Curry, Ann. (2006). If I ask, will they answer? evalutation of reference service
dc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm
to GLBT youth. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 45(1), 65-75. Retrieved fro
m http://pacificreference.pbworks.com/f/If+I+Ask,+Will+They+Answer.pdf
Dawson,
Flecker,
James.
M., & Gutteridge,
(2014). ThisL.book
(2008).
is gay.
GayLondon,
positiveUK:literature
Hot Key books
in libraries could
save lives: the leadership role for teacher-librarians in social justice issues
. Teaching Librarian, 15(2), 38-39. Retrieved from http://www.teacherlibrarian.c
om
Foster, V.W. (2014). School libraries and the urban learner. Library Media Conne
ction, 32(4),
Francis,
B., &32-33.
Lance,Retrieved
K. (2011).from
Thehttp://www.librarymediaconnection.com
impact of library media specialists on stud
ents and how it is valued by administrators and teachers: findings from the late
st studies in colorado and idaho. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Imp
rove Learning,
Gavignon
K., & Kurtts,
55(4), 63-70.
S. (2010).
DOI: Together
10.1007/s11528-011-0513-9
we can: collaborating to meet the nee
ds of at-risk students. University of South Carolina Scholar Commons, School of
Library and Information Science. Retrieved from
http://scholarcommons.sc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1060&context=libsci_fac
Gruwell, E. (1999). The freedom writers diary: how a teacher and 150 teens used
pub
writing to change themselves and the world around them. New York, NY: Broadway B
Guerra, S. (2010). Reaching out to at-risk teens building literacy with incarcera
ooks.
ted youth. PNLA Quarterly, 75(1), 50-60. Retrieved from http://www.pnla.org/quar
Jones, J. L. (2006). The library media specialist: a vital link. School Library
terly
Media Activities Monthly, 22(6), 22-24. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibrarym
Jones, J. L. (2009). Dropout prevention through the school library: dispositions
edia.com/articles/
, relationships, and instructional practices. School Libraries Worldwide, 15(2),
Maloney,
77-90. Retrieved
M. M. (2012).
from Cultivating
http://iasl-online.mlanet.org/publications/slw/index.html
community, promoting inclusivity: collections
as fulcrum for targeted outreach. New Library World, 113(5), 281-289. doi:http:
Mar, R. A., Oatley, K., & Peterson, J. B. (2009). Exploring the link between rea
//dx.doi.org/10.1108/03074801211226364
ding fiction and empathy: ruling out individual differences and examining outcom
es. Communications: The European Journal Of Communication Research, 34(4), 407-4
28. doi:10.1515/COMM.2009.025
Peterson,
Karyn. (2013, March). The power of empathy: Q&A with Emily Bazelon. Sc
hool Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/2013/03/authors-illustra
Pytash, K. E. (2012). Ain't nothing wrong with reading books. Young Adult Librar
tors/interviews/the-power-of-empathy-qa-with-emily-bazelon/
y Services,Joseph.
Sanacore,
10(4),(1998).
31-35. Encouraging
Retrieved from:
all children,
http://www.ala.org/yalsa/
including at-risk learners,
to make choices
about their literacy learning. Retrieved from ERIC da
tabase.Denise.
Scott,
(ED415499)
(2014). The language of library services for at-risk youth. Felicit
er, 60(4), 36-37. Retrieved from: http://www.cla.ca/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Feli
Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2000, April). Children and youth at risk: some conceptua
citer1&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=15480
l considerations. In Children and youth at risk. Symposium conducted at Pan Cana
dian Educational research agenda, Ottawa, Ontario. Retrieved from http://resear
Schrader, A.M., & Wells. K. (2004). Queer perspectives on social responsibility
ch.educ.ubc.ca/ksr/docs/schonert-reichl_childrenatrisk2000.pdf
in canadian schools and libraries. School Libraries in Canada, 24(4), 8-37. Retr
ievedUniversity
The
from http://www.clatoolbox.ca/casl/slic/
of Alberta. (n.d.) At Risk students. Retrieved from https://educa
Walton, E. (2012). Using literature as a strategy to promote inclusivity in high
tion.alberta.ca/apps/aisi/literature/pdfs/AtRisk.pdf
school classrooms. Intervention In School & Clinic, 47(4), 224. doi:10.1177/105
Whelan, D. L. (2006). Out and ignored. School Library Journal, 52(1), 46-50. Ret
3451211424604
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Wopperer,
http://www.slj.com
(Ja/F 2011). Inclusive literature in the library and the classr
oom: the importance of young adult and childrens books that portray characters wi
th disabilities. Knowledge Quest, 39(3), 26-34. Retrieved from http://knowledgeq
uest.aasl.org
Genius
By
Why
meganfulgueras@gmail.com
In
aMegan
should
Twittersphere
Hour:
Fulgueras
school
Exploring
leaders
of selfies,
andcare
Celebrating
about Genius
celebrity
Students
gossip,
Hour?and
Passions
constantly changing trends,
its easy to overlook a large and vocal group of educators using social media for
professional development. As a teacher, I have experienced tremendous professi
onal growth through this growing online community of educators. Genius Hour sta
nds out in my mind as one of the most exciting teaching practices I have adopted
after conversing with other educators through social media. I first learned ab
out Genius Hour on Twitter in the spring of 2012 while following the #geniushour
chatter between educators who were enthusiastically sharing their passion for i
t. Genius Hour was created to provide opportunities for self-directed learning
within the school day; during this time, students pursue topics of interest to t

hem, share their learning with their classmates, and reflect upon their experien
ces. While Genius Hour was implemented differently by each classroom teacher in
the conversation, I was greatly intrigued by the the common threads of creativi
ty, inquiry,
After
making the
collaboration,
leap from teaching
and community
secondary
building.
school to teaching elementary scho
ol that fall, I couldnt stop thinking about Genius Hour but wasnt sure if I was re
ady to delve into a period of unstructured time. I was simultaneously excited a
nd skeptical. What happens when elementary school students are given the opport
unity to learn anything they wish? Could my students really manage to use class
time wisely when researching topics of interest? What topics would they choose
to learn? Could I really support up to thirty different projects at the same t
ime? Would they learn well in groups? How could I make sure the time was used
wisely while providing my students with freedom to explore? What would parents
think? I was comfortable with the inquiry process at the secondary level, but w
asnt sure how unstructured time and a plethora of project topics would translate
to mymany
Like
elementary
of the best
schoolthings
classroom.
Ive tried, I jumped in without knowing how things wo
uld end, learned alongside my students, and tweaked the process and expectations
as we navigated Genius Hour together. My ability to facilitate Genius Hour has
not stopped shifting nor evolving; I continue to learn with my students, and re
flect on our learning, each week. As a masters student in the University of Albe
rtas Teacher-Librarianship program, I see great potential for teacher-librarians
to promote and support inquiry-based learning at all grade levels through Genius
Hour. The skills I am learning through my masters program directly align with i
nquiry-based instruction in my classroom and, in particular, with my students Gen
ius Hour
When
I first
projects.
asked my students what they would choose to study in school if ther
e was no set curriculum, the depth and breadth of their answers was exciting. T
his year, my grade five and six class started off with a list of topics that inc
luded World Wars I and II, knitting, the Underground Railroad, skateboard park d
esign, various animals, horticulture and sign language. Their questions and ide
as were endless and have evolved each week. During our Genius Hour time, I have
begun helping my students to shape topics of interest into deep inquiry questio
Every once in a while, a student will ask, Would it be ok if I did a Genius Hour
ns.
project on the weekend? or Can I work on this at home? Each time, I somehow manage
to contain myself and save a flailing happy dance for later while explaining that
yes, of course, Genius Hour could take place over the weekend or in the evening
at home. I dont assign homework, so the idea of my students choosing to learn o
n their own time is fantastic! I was ecstatic the first time a group came in to
let me know that theyd been hanging out on the weekend, worked on a new Genius H
our project together, and wanted to share their learning with the class. One of
my core goals as a teacher is to help students develop into self-directed, life
long learners; Genius Hour provides the framework, skills, and motivation for th
is to take their
Throughout
place.exploration of Genius Hour, I have seen my students demonstrate
the skills of independent learners, asking questions and guiding one another th
roughout their learning process. Often, I see more reading and writing out of m
y reluctant learners during this time than I have during more formal assessments
. Despite the wide variety of choices and self-directed learning opportunities
offered to my class during the typical school day, there is something about the
freedom of Genius Hour which seems to lower students inhibitions and encourage th
em to take chances with their learning. As a result, it has become a great time
This
of growth
chapterforwill
allexplore
of us and
theisresearch
one of and
the practice
highlightsabout
of myinquiry-based
week.
learning
, Genius Hour, and how teachers and teacher-librarians can support a life-long l
ove of learning. I will also provide more information about how to put the Geni
us Hour
What
Learning
do school
into
is not
practice
leaders
takinginneed
tests,
a classroom
to or
knowtrying
about
and/or
toGenius
schoolHour?
figure
library.
out
what is the next hoop to ju
mp through so someone else can decide your future. Learning is a relationship wi
th the world and those around you, participating in the great conversations of h
umanity, and discovering the value of developing expertise and skill (Hargadon, 2
013,a blog
Benefits
In
para.ofentry,
10).
Self-Directed
the term Genius
LearningHour was used by Daniel Pink (2011) to describe
a weekly hour in which employees at a credit union were given freedom to innova
te with autonomy and the support of their employer. Teachers began to use socia
l media to discuss the practical applications of Genius Hour, as described on Pi
nks blog, in their classrooms (Krebs, 2011; Zvi, 2012). In his book, Drive (2009

), Pink identifies three key factors which motivate people: autonomy, mastery, a
nd purpose. While Pink (2009) referred to the business world in his book and bl
og entry, these keen teachers were right to consider applications for Genius Hou
r with their students. This literature review will explore research that suppor
ts teachers focus on autonomy, mastery, and purpose (Pink, 2009, p. 78) in the clas
sroom. Genius Hour, a time of student-directed inquiry learning, provides the o
pportunity for students to explore new ideas with these core factors at the fore
frontIofasked
When
Autonomy
theirmylearning
class, What
experience
would you
during
liketheir
to learn
schoolabout
yearsifand
youbeyond.
could learn anyt
hing in school? the energy in the room was palpable. Success in inquiry can be e
xperienced when student autonomy is embraced and students questions and decisions
are welcomed in their learning environment (Arnone, Reynolds, & Marshall, 2009;
Todd, 2009 as cited in Arnone, Small & Reynolds, 2010, p. 47). Students demons
trate greater ownership of, and pride in, their work when they are involved in c
reating assignments based upon topics of interest (Crow, 2013). As well, resear
chers have found that academic knowledge and research skills improve greatly whe
n students are provided with autonomy in their learning and are able to pursue t
opics of interest (Chu, Chow, Tse, & Kuhlthau, 2008, p. 26; Chu, Tse, Loh & Cho
w, 2011, p. 237). The link between students interest in reading material and imp
rovement in their reading skills is strong (Chu et al., 2011; Miller, 2014). In
a study of students engaged in inquiry-based learning, Chu, et al. (2011) found
that research and reading motivated by self-selected inquiry topics improved st
udents reading levels. Overall, students who are able to select reading material
which is of interest to them, and which is written at an appropriate level, are
more successful readers (Miller, 2014). Genius Hour provides an opportunity fo
r teachers and teacher-librarians to guide students toward reading material base
d on topics of interest, helping them to become more familiar with school librar
ies, academic research databases, and other online tools. Empowering students w
ith the autonomy to pursue topics of interest is a key component of Genius Hour.
This autonomy improves the development of skills which can be applied to learn
ingorder
In
Mastery
in other
for students
curriculartoareas.
be self-motivated learners, they must feel competent an
d know that they have an opportunity to succeed (Arnone, Small & Reynolds, 2010)
. Genius Hour lends itself to meeting the needs of a wide variety of students,
from kindergarten through grade twelve as the learning which occurs can be adapt
ed to meet the needs of each learner. Learners who struggle academically can ga
in confidence as they pursue topics of interest, focus on learning habits, and d
evelop positive relationships with adults and peers who support their learning p
rocess (Crow, 2013; Doll, 2013). Likewise, students who perform above their pee
rs benefit from self-directed learning and can develop new information literacy
skills through Genius Hour projects (Repinc, & Ju?ni?, 2013, p. 116). These stu
dents, who may be accustomed to meeting teachers expectations in traditional lear
ning situations, may need to learn to feel comfortable with the uncertainty and
longevity of inquiry-based learning projects (Repinc, & Ju?ni?, 2013, p.116). K
uhlthau (1994) acknowledges that the structure of library organization must exis
t alongside, and help to guide, students feelings of uncertainty as they are conf
ronted with research tasks. She explains that uncertainty, confusion, and frustr
ation are associated with vague, unclear thoughts about a topic or problem. As t
houghts become more clearly focused, students report increased confidence and fe
eling more sure, satisfied, and relieved (Kuhlthau, 1994, para. 15). Learners of
all abilities are likely to experience the uncertainty that Kuhlthau (1994) des
cribes and they will need guidance to overcome as they engage in research. Rega
rdless of their learning strengths and challenges, it is beneficial if all stude
nts connect with other educators and students in order to draw on the expertise
of others as they learn (Crow, 2013; Doll, 2013; Harada, 2010). Learning how to
be good learners, and how to improve their skills in areas of perceived weaknes
s, are key components of Genius Hour and will help students to achieve a sense o
f mastery in their learning as they begin to see improvements (Arnone, Small & R
eynolds,
For
Purpose
many students,
2010).
Genius Hour is their first experience with self-directed inqu
iry so it is important for them to see the value in the learning as well as the
skills they acquire throughout their activities. Students need to see that lear
ning is more than tests and memorization; it is the development of skills which

* the
will
In
Genius
benefit
opportunity
Hour,
themstudents
as learn
to
learners
sense
about
forofathe
purpose
topic
restofcomes
ofinterest
their
fromlives
and become
(Harada,
a Genius
2010). in that a
* the knowledge that they must communicate well because peers will see, and lear
rea;
*n increased
from, theirconfidence
projects;in their skills as learners which translates to other are
*asapplications
in and out ofinschool;
the real world such as solving a problem, raising awareness abou
t anmyissue,
In
classroom,
or learning
Genius Hour
a desired
is notskill.
simply an add-on to the curriculum or a peri
od of free time; rather, it is the foundation for teaching skills which benefit le
arners far beyond their time in my class. Teaching research skills can be diffi
cult because, unfortunately, students often get the idea that information seeking
is boring and difficult because their attempts through stilted and irrelevant a
ssignments were based on antiquated searching techniques that satisfied their te
achers' curriculum goals rather than their own interests and curiosity (Crow, 201
3, para. 3). Providing a sense of purpose as students develop research skills h
elps to increase their confidence as lifelong learners. Through Genius Hour, st
udents are not learning in order to meet assignment requirements; they are learn
ing so that they can become Geniuses in topics of interest and share their experti
se with their classmates. This sense of purpose leads students to learn from a
place of intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, motivation (Arnone, Small & Reynolds,
Benefits
The
2010;library
Crow,
of Teacher-Librarian
2013; center
media
Pink, 2009).
has traditionally
Support
been a respected learning environment
for students: a place to pursue both academic inquiries as well as personal idea
s and interests (Zmuda & Harada, 2008, p. 10). Naturally, this environment and t
he expertise of a teacher-librarian would greatly benefit inquiry-based learning
. Teacher-librarians can and should be inquiry leaders in their schools, suppor
ting the development of inquiry skills such as critical thinking, and informatio
n literacy (Harada, 2010; Herring & Bush, 2011; Sheerman, 2013). Genius Hour is
an ideal learning activity through which a teacher-librarian can partner with a
classroom teacher to support inquiry-based learning. For classroom teachers wh
o have not yet embraced inquiry-based learning, Genius Hour can provide an oppor
tunity to experiment during a slice of time each week, without requiring them to
redesign all activities and lessons in their classrooms. After a positive expe
rience with Genius Hour, under the guidance of a trained teacher-librarian, even
the most reluctant teacher may feel inclined to try inquiry-based learning acti
vities
In
addition
in other
to inquiry-based
curricular areas
instruction,
(Sheerman,teacher-librarians
2013).
have the ability to
support students research and information literacy skills. Herring & Bush (2011
) found that teachers understanding of information literacy, and how to teach it,
improved greatly when they were supported by a teacher-librarian. Teacher-libr
arian involvement in inquiry tasks such as Genius Hour can help teacher-libraria
ns to develop support a scope and sequence of information literacy skills across
the school community (Herring & Bush, 2011). Gordon (2010) found that the evolu
tion from book-centered bibliographic instruction to learner-centric information
literacy has matured in recent iterations of school library standards for learn
ing around the world (p. v). As electronic sources of information grow exponenti
ally, it is increasingly important for schools to make use of the leadership ski
lls and knowledge of trained teacher-librarians who can guide staff and students
through the development of inquiry and information literacy skills (Gordon, 201
0; they
Benefits
As
Kuhlthau,
learn,
of Collaboration
2010).
students share
and their
Community
learning processes and final products with o
ne another; this is an integral part of building a positive learning community i
n our classroom. Like collaboration among teaching staff, collaboration can be
beneficial as students learn from and support one another in an authentic learni
ng community (Chu et al., 2008; Harada, 2010). To be motivated to collaborate, a
ll participants must first see some personal value in collaboration and believe
that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful collaborative
partners (Small, 2002, p.8). Throughout Genius Hour, it is important for learne
rs, including the classroom teacher and teacher-librarian, to share their succes
ses and struggles with one another. Many times, shared advice and resources can
help students to overcome challenges, increasing students understanding of the v
alue of kills
Benefits
Nothing
collaboration.
of Meaningful
a love ofAssessment
learning like extrinsic motivators such as letter grades
, stickers, and prizes (Crow, 2013); Genius Hour is free of these things. Learn
ers who are intrinsically motivated are successful learners (Arnone, Small &, Re
ynolds 2010; Crow, 2013; Pink, 2009). This does not mean that my students and I
are not engaged in assessment during the learning process, however. Ongoing fo

rmative feedback throughout the learning process is necessary and effective as s


tudents
The
reporting
seek toprocess
meet their
in mygoals
district
(Harada,
naturally
2010).lends itself to a holistic examin
ation of each students growth and progress throughout the term. At my students re
port card conferences, Genius Hour is often a topic of discussion, despite the i
nformal nature of our assessment during the term. Through their projects, stude
nts often demonstrate the core competencies assessed on the first page of our repo
rt cards: creative thinking, critical thinking, communication, social responsibi
lity, and personal responsibility (School District #42). As well, key literacy
skills from the Language Arts curriculum are often demonstrated throughout stude
nts project work. When students demonstrate mastery of new skills through their
learning,
As
studentswesee
celebrate
their learning
and acknowledge
improve during
this. Genius Hour, they can also see the
ir skills translate to other curricular areas; they are learning how to learn, n
ot just what to learn. The free, unstructured learning time during Genius Hour
provides a meaningful way to improve learning in any subject area or grade level
. When students doubts about their ability to meet learning requirements are era
dicated, I see great improvement in their learning. As a result, during other i
nquiry projects and literacy activities, I can remind students of specific skill
s they demonstrated during Genius Hour and encourage the continuation of this gr
owth teachers,
Benefits
Many
across
of Genius
their
uponschool
Hour
hearing
experience.
about Genius Hour, have remarked that they wonder wh
at parents will think about this use of instructional time. In my experience, p
arents respond positively to the skills their children are learning and the enth
usiasm they show for Genius Hour. As outlined above, research supports this sty
le of learning and inquiring parents, teaching colleagues, and administrators co
uld be directed to a great number of studies which support student-directed lear
ning opportunities and the development of research skills. Furthermore, I can p
romise you that the classroom will not be absorbed in a flurry of chaos and expl
osions as students research, experiment, and explore. Next, this chapter will e
xplore manageable ways to structure Genius Hour for the enjoyment of the teacher
and students as they embrace the messiness, uncertainty, and significant benefi
ts ofcan
What
While
student-led
the
school
research
leaders
learning.
arounddoself-directed
about?
inquiry can be convincing, the idea of i
mplementing Genius Hour can cause anxiety for teachers as they think about havin
g thirty students working on up to thirty different projects. Setting clear goa
ls and expectations for Genius Hour prior to implementation can help to ensure t
hat this is a productive, meaningful time. That said, it is also important for
teachers to embrace the organized chaos, learn and tweak as they go, and adjust
things to meet the needs of the learners in their particular classrooms. Genius
Hour looks different in every classroom and that is part of the process. This
section aims to give some ideas and suggestions for the implementation of Genius
Hour but educators are, of course, encouraged to use their professional autonom
y and judgment as they discover what will work best within their learning commun
Introducing
ities.
When
introducing
GeniusGenius
Hour Hour, and educators goal should be to spark students inter
est and enthusiasm for this time. Aside from that, when it comes to techniques
used to introduce Genius Hour, the sky is the limit! Gallit Zvi of British Colu
mbia recorded a variety of suggestions from colleagues on Twitter which included
using videos to spark students curiosity and creativity, having students brainst
orm wonders on a Wonder Wall in class, guiding students through more structured inde
pendent, group, or class projects, and presenting teacher-created projects (Zvi,
2012). In my classroom, my initial question was What would you learn about if y
ou could learn anything in school? From there, students began to brainstorm and
guidefirst
Parent
The
the
Communication
discussion
time
I introduced
about what
Genius
Genius
Hour,Hour
I added
couldalook
largelike
postinonourtheclassroom.
class blog
explaining some of the benefits of our Genius Hour time for the learners in my c
lass. Over time, I have gained a greater understanding of the academic benefits
of this time and do not feel the need to justify it to parents like I did when it
was new to me; Genius Hour needs no more explanation than any other areas of ou
r curriculum. My weekly e-mails to parents may include details about Genius Hou
r from time to time, just like they include details about activities in Math or
Social Studies. Like any curricular activity, Im happy to discuss my philosophy
with parents, but Im not concerned that they are going to be shocked or concerned
by Genius Hour activities like I once was. To date, I havent had any negative f
eedback about this time. Many parents have commented positively about their chi

lds enthusiasm toward this time and the learning which is taking place. In a par
ticularly traditional school which does not use inquiry-based learning, I would
feel compelled to prepare students and parents with more details prior to starti
ng Genius Hour. If students will require materials or technology from home, adv
ance communication is vital. Like many things in education, knowing ones school
community
Selecting
Before
beginning
is important
Topics
and research
the
Questions
when considering
process, itparent
is helpful
communication.
to have students select top
ics of interest or inquiry questions to guide their experience. I tend to start
off with topics that students would like to learn more about, but havent had the
opportunity to explore in school. We brainstorm as a group and I record all of
the answers for the class to see. For example, some students want to learn abo
ut an unfamiliar animal, a country, or a sport. Others may want to learn how to
do something new, such as knitting, gardening, or computer programming. In my
classroom, students tend to have enough ideas to get them started; very few stud
ents need a lot of prompting to select a topic or focus question. My big focus
questions at first are, What new information or skills do you want to learn? Wha
t do you wonder about this topic? A student who is passionate about hockey, and
regularly plays on a team, can absolutely learn more about the sport during Geni
us Hour, but I try to push students beyond Show and Tell and into a deep and unfam
iliar territory. The only limits applied usually relate to the appropriateness
of the topic; for example, video games with adult ratings or a study about diffe
rent time,
Over
types Iofregroup
guns arent
with my
appropriate
class andinencourage
my elementary
them toschool
thinkclassroom.
about inquiry que
stions as guides for their learning, rather than topics of interest. Their inqu
iry questions must not be easily Googled and must be open-ended. I encourage them
to lead us through their learning process as they present their information to
the class by developing and answering sub-questions throughout their research.
At the end of their presentation, students should draw conclusions. Even if the
conclusions are not solid, students can explain why they were left with more qu
estions than answers or why they can now see the value in several different pers
Below are examples of how we turn topics of interest into a deeper set of questi
pectives.
ons Question
Big
Dogs
Topic
Which
forbreed
student
of dog
research:
is the best for a family with children, living in an apartmen
t? question
Big
Guitar
Topic
Can
What
Sub
Which
Summarizes
Conclusion
This
IQuestion
are
do
format
breeds
teach
web
Ithe
need
tutorials
findings
myself
seems
aretoquiet
qualities
best
small
dotofrom
to
help
inplay
work
for
enough
so
of
order
mewell
all
children?
athat
guitar
good
learn?
three
tofor
they
live
web
learn
using
sub
my
dont
tutorial?
inquestions
students
from
resources
adisturb
small
theasinternet?
space?
and
neighbours?
from
it
answers
provides
the internet?
the
guidelines
Big Question
for the
m to follow along the way, while giving them the freedom to pursue their interes
ts. It takes time to get here, however, so a lot of work related to developing
good questions is essential as students work to plan their learning and how to s
harestudents
As
it.
create plans for learning based upon these questions, I will typical
ly have them make plans for their use of each Genius Hour or their use of time o
ver three or four Genius Hours. As with many things, this varies by group. Wit
h some groups, it might be essential to add this level of accountability, and se
t a deadline for all Genius Hour projects. With other groups of students, time
may be used well at first so accountability may only be necessary for some stude
nts in the group. It can also be a valuable learning opportunity for students t
o work without firm deadlines then regroup and set expectations as a class if th
is is not working. Involving students in the process, and providing them with r
ationale Through
Feedback
Throughout
fortheexpectations,
process
a Positive
of creating
preserves
LearningGenius
theirHour
Community
senseprojects,
of ownership
it isover
helpful
thistotime.
have s
tudents engage in peer assessment and receive informal feedback from a teacher a
s they learn. This can be built in weekly or every few weeks, depending on the
ages and needs of the learners. Some teachers have students share their learnin
g, progress, and problems aloud with the class, others chat with students inform
ally as they learn, while others may have them blog about and reflect upon their
learning along the way (Zvi, 2013). As the learning continues, students may ha
ve advice and resources for one another. Some students may become human resource
s for other learners, while others may have parents and relatives who can provide
information. Involving students in a wider learning community greatly benefits
their learning and gives them confidence as their projects develop. During thi
s phase, it is important to teach and model the process of giving constructive,
meaningful feedback if this is not already part of the assessment practices in t
he classroom.
Sharing
Like
every
Learning
aspect of Genius Hour, the sharing of student learning can be differe
nt in each class and for each student. Some teachers require students to give f
ormal presentations (Zvi, 2013) while I encourage students to share their learni
ng in any format which works for them. Many students enjoy giving presentations

, but others have created informational posters, books, websites, and models. S
ome dont want to speak to the entire class at once, but are comfortable having sm
all groups of students come up to explore their project and ask questions. I en
courage students to try new things, but the ultimate decision is up to them. Un
like the feedback stage, during the sharing of learning, I have learners give co
mpliments and ask questions of one another. The time for constructive peer crit
icism is over; it is time to acknowledge what their classmates did well! Some t
eachers use rubrics based on skills they wish to see learners demonstrate (Krebs
& Zvi, n.d.) in order to assess their students Genius Hour presentations while o
thers provide written or verbal feedback. The most important aspect of sharing
Genius Hour is the opportunity to celebrate the learning of each student. This
is an important part of building a sense of community in my classroom and gives
each student
Adapting
While
my perspective
Genius
an Hour
opportunity
forthat
is
Various
toofgain
anGrade
intermediate
confidence.
Levels teacher, there are many primary
and secondary teachers successfully implementing Genius Hour in their classrooms
.Primary
The
question
Gradesof how much structure to apply to this time is one that I continue
to wrestle with as Genius Hour evolves in my classroom. As teachers explore Gen
ius Hour with primary students, often they find that increased structure and sho
rter timelines work well. Ideally, a teacher-librarian could guide classroom te
achers as they scaffold skills from year to year so that students become more in
dependent
June
(2014)learners
of SouthasCarolina
they movedecided
throughtoelementary
delve intoschool.
Genius Hour by leading stude
nts through a series of structured lessons about children who are inventors. Th
en, she had a group of students create inventions over a four-week period (June,
2014). In a reflection about this experience, she writes, I feel like it was p
erhaps a little more structured than is usual in Genius Hour learning. However,
I think the specific goals kept the students focused on their thinking and lear
ning as they adjusted to the idea of greater freedom in how they approached the
project (June, 2014, para. 9). This strategy would work well as an introduction
to Genius Hour for older students, as well, particularly if they are used to mor
e structured
Garneau
(2014),
learning
a teacher-librarian
time.
in Illinois, implemented Genius Hour with a
second grade class by focusing their learning on a specific country. She provid
ed students with graphic organizers for their notes and scheduled a Genius Hour
block after the notes had been completed (Garneau, 2014). Peer leaders from an
older class assisted with technology while Garneau and her students parents, info
rmed in advance with supply letters, helped to provide additional materials for
the projects (Garneau, 2014). The students Genius Hour time consisted of buildin
g their projects in order to share the information they had learned in previous
lessons (Garneau, 2014). With third grade students, Garneau provided graphic or
ganizers to plan learning, required that Genius Hour projects be completed withi
n a ninety-minute timeframe, and specified that parents and teachers could provi
de learning materials as long as this didnt require the purchase of anything new
(Garneau, 2015). These students worked on creating new games, writing music, an
d researching
Secondary
It
can be difficult
Grades
topicsfor
of secondary
interest (Garneau,
school teachers
2015). to imagine giving up an hour e
ach week when they often see students two or three times weekly. Courses such a
s Humanities, which combine English and Social Studies requirements, allow teach
ers to have additional time and flexibility for Genius Hour (Inden, 2012). Inde
n (2012) implemented Genius Hour with a Humanities 8 class over eighteen weeks a
nd encouraged parent involvement, student reflections, and project presentations
in order to ensure that students were accountable for their time. Krebs (2011,
Nov. 2) worked with junior high students and used a single class period for stu
dents to work on an hour-long project with classmates then report back to the gr
oup for three minutes per group. She reported that brainstorming with the group
, creating a creativity rubric in advance, and allowing students to choose group
s based on interest, helped to make the students Genius Hour time successful (Kre
bs, 2011, Nov. 23). Having taught English, I can see connections to many second
ary English learning outcomes for English teachers. Many other subject areas co
uld also incorporate a Genius Hour unit or period of time each week; it might re
quire some creativity or, perhaps, parameters regarding topics of study. The Br
itish Columbia Ministry of Education offers an Independent Directed Study course
; running a course such as this, and calling it Genius Hour, would be a fantasti
c way to make it fit within a secondary school timetable and meet learning outco

Genius
mes
Support
while
Hour
from
encouraging
provides
Teacher-Librarians
anstudents
excellent
to opportunity
study topicsfor
of teacher-librarians
interest and learn to
newcollabor
skills.
ate with colleagues and students through co-teaching, supporting the research pr
ocess, providing formative and summative assessment, and modeling inquiry-based
teaching in order to support a colleagues professional development. In order to
support learners, it would be beneficial for teacher-librarians to ask students
to self assess their competence with various research skills so that specific re
search support could be provided as students learn (Arnone, Small & Renyolds, 20
10). As students gain confidence in their abilities as learners, teacher-librar
ians could continue to support the learning process through their interactions w
ith large
While
I have
andnot
small
personally
groups (Doll,
collaborated
2013). with a teacher-librarian on a Genius Ho
ur project,
teacher-librarians
across North America are using their training and talents to
support(2013)
Alaniz
this time
of Texas
withinreports
their that
schools.
during Genius Hour, a librarian has to be rea
dy for anything (para. 1). Her schools library serves as a resource centre and a
workspace for individual students and groups working on Genius Hour projects eac
h week (Alaniz, 2013). Her availability during this time supports their learnin
g and reinforces their understanding of the role of their school library and tea
cher-librarian (Alaniz, 2013). Alaniz notes that the best part is that the libra
ry serves
Sherry
Gickitsofpotential
Indiana and
allMatthew
at onceWinner
to allofgrade
Maryland,
levelsboth
(para.
teacher-librarians,
9).
collaborated to create Genius Con, virtual space for Genius Hour participants to
share and celebrate their learning (Winner, 2014). They use an Edmodo page to
share videos from various groups whose learning has been sparked by the question
, If you could change one thing about your school, what would you do? (Winner, 201
4). This collaboration between teacher-librarians from different states highlig
hts the power of using social media for Genius Hour. As well, it provides a fra
mework for meaningful, school-based inquiry for other educators interested in st
ructuring
The
Over
Evolution
time,their
Genius
ofGenius
Genius
Hour will
Hour
Hourevolve
time around
in each
a common
classroom
goal.as educators and students b
egin to apply their learning, make adjustments, and change course to suit their
learning needs. Educators shouldnt be afraid to take an open and honest approach
with their classes when something isnt working; regrouping and readjusting is ke
y. If accountability is an issue, it is worth discussing and brainstorming poss
ible guidelines with students. If students require more time to work, their tea
cher may decide to incorporate Genius Hour into the schedule more than once per
week. However Genius Hour looks in each school or classroom, it is important fo
r educators to keep in mind that what they are doing is based upon solid researc
h and is helping students to become self-directed, independent, lifelong learner
s.
ASupporting
What
keydoes
component
this
Teacher-Librarians
mean
of supporting
for schoolaleaders
cultureinofCanada
inquiry(and
involves
the world)?
funding, hiring, and
supporting trained teacher-librarians who can support this style of learning.
When teacher-librarian positions are reduced to part-time, they often fall to ne
wer, inexperienced teachers who have little or no specific teacher-librarian tra
ining. When this happens, it is difficult for school staff to understand what t
he positions were designed to accomplish. Teacher-librarians positions should in
clude, but are not limited to, leadership in inquiry, technology, and informatio
n literacy. When teacher-librarians barely have enough time to complete basic c
lerical tasks, it is difficult for them to take on the additional roles that tea
cher-librarians should fill. School leaders who commit to promoting inquiry-bas
ed learning opportunities such as Genius Hour must be vocal advocates for the im
portant roles teacher-librarians hold within school communities and the resource
s they leaders
Supporting
School
needInnovation
to must
perform
beand
effectively.
willing
Inquiry
to support innovation within schools, whether or
not attempts are successful. Leading by example, school leaders should encourag
e others to take risks, reflect upon their learning, and continue to develop pro
fessionally through this process. This means that a culture of innovation and i
nquiry must supercede more traditional learning models that emphasize standardiz
ed test scores, maintenance of tradition, and rote memorization. Teachers must
feel safe to take risks with their practice in order to explore new opportunitie
s. Professional development opportunities must be available to support teachers
in their quests for best practice. Genius Hour is a great opportunity for teac
hers to explore inquiry-based learning on a regular basis with the support of te
acher leaders, school administrators, and school district leaders. If school le
aders promote innovation, and support teachers in their quests for best practice
, they Con
Recommended
Genius
http://geniuscon.weebly.com/
willisResources
seea spin
growthonwithin
Geniustheir
Hour through
school learning
which students
communities.
are asked, If you coul

d change one thing about your school, what would you do? The project is explain
ed, and projects from many classrooms are shared, through this website and an at
tachedcomprehensive
Genius
This
http://www.livebinders.com/play/play/829279
EdmodoLivebinder
Hour
page.Live Binder includes information about incorporating Genius H
our at many grade levels and with many different styles. It links to many blogs
, articles, and handouts which will be of use to teachers who would like to inco
rporate
Genius
This
https://geniushour.wikispaces.com/
Wiki
Hour
Genius
isWiki
edited
Hour by
in atheir
number
classrooms.
of teachers using Genius Hour in their classroom
s. They have attached documents for users, information about implementing Geniu
s Hour, and a list of teachers who are using Genius Hour in their classrooms. A
s well,Zvi
Integrating
Gallit
http://www.gallitzvi.com/home/genius-hour
Twitter
isTechnology
a teacher
archives&inGenius
ofSurrey,
#geniushour
Hour:
BC who
Mychats
Journey
blogsareabout
asstored
a Genius
Teacher
on the
Hour.
& Leader
Wiki.Her posts in
clude
My
Joy
http://geniushour.blogspot.ca/
Own
Kirr
reflections
Genius
blogsHour
about
fromimplementing
her classroom
Genius
and Hour,
from #geniushour
here. Her list
chatsofonpopular
Twitter.posts, l
ocated on the right hand side of the screen, provide good reading material for t
Alaniz, C. (2013, Nov 9). #GeniusHour in the library [Web log entry]. Retrieved
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Collaboration:
from: http://www.asla.o
Where does it begin?. Teacher Librarian, 29(
5), 8-11.U.,
Repinc,
arian.com/
Retrieved
& Ju?ni?,from
P. (2013).
http://www.teacherlibr
Guided inquiry projects: Enrichment for gifted
pupils.P.27.
Ripp,
School
(2011,Libraries
Dec 2). AnWorldwide,
hour of wonder
19(1),[weblog
114-1 entry]. Retrieved from http://
mrspripp.blogspot.ca/2011/12/hour-of-wonder.h
Winner,
tml(2014, April 29). Its time to show the world our genius (#GeniusCon).
M.
Retrieved
Zmuda,
A./2014/04/its-time-to-show-world-our-genius.html
from http://www.busylibrarian.com
&Harada,
V.H. (2008). Librarians as learning specialists. Westport, C
T: Libraries
Zvi,
G. (2012,Unlimited.
June 6). What is genius hour? Retrieved from http://www.gallitzvi
Zvi, G. (2012, Oct 27). Introducing genius hour [Web log entry]. Retrieved from
.com/home/what-is-genius-hour
http://www.gallitzvi.com/home/introducing-gen
Zvi,
G. (2013,
ius-hourMay 2). 10 ways to provide feedback during genius hour. [Web log
entry]. m/home/10-ways-to-provide-feedback-during-genius-hour
Retrieved from http://www.gallitzvi.co
Teacher-Librarians
As
literacy leadersBecoming
in theirand
schools
Beingand
Literacy
districts,
Leaders
teacher-librarians have a cr
itical role to play in the development of readers in their communities. Going bey
ond teaching reading and writing skills, teacher-librarians are key to building
positive reading cultures in their schools, reading cultures which foster a life
long love of reading for information and pleasure. Teacher-librarians not only su
pport their students reading habits, they provide ongoing professional developmen
t, mentorship, and support to their teaching colleagues, who may need assistance
choosing books for their classroom libraries or even finding just the right boo
k to read themselves during a school-wide silent reading time. As literacy leader
s, teacher-librarians are integral members of a schools reading life, and the cha
pters in this section of Becoming and Being highlight the many ways in which tea
cher-librarians
Tanya
Hobbs explores
shapeher
childrens
own experiences
and teachers
with independent
school-basedsilent
reading
reading
experiences.
as a te
acher and presents the research that supports the importance of silent reading.
She also provides strategies for successfully implementing independent silent r

eading in a school including access, choice, time, social interaction, environme


nt, accountability, staff and community. Dawn Opheim presents alternate approac
hes to reading and considers such things as cultural viewpoints, reading as more
than literacy, reading with the elderly, reading in and with the community, aut
hentic reading, reading with nature, and reading with dogs.
WhyTanya
By
Early
Should
on in
Hobbs
School
my career,
Leaders
I was
Carevery
About
lucky
Independent
to be paired
Silent
withReading?
an amazing mentor who
schooled me in the ways of literacy. Janet Brewster was the diligent profession
al behind the development and implementation of an incredibly successful literac
y program at a high school in Ontario. Through Janet, many adolescents who had
given up and decided that they would never be able to read, made significant gai
ns in their comprehension, fluency and decoding and, simultaneously, developed a
sense of self and well being. Janet helped me to recognize how integral litera
cy is to an individuals success in the world and that literacy is a cornerstone of
lifelong learning (Achterman, 2010, p. 67). Janets dedicated mentoring kindled a
Fast
passion
forward
for more
literacy
thanthat
10 years:
continues
I amtomoving
drive towards
my teaching
the midway
practice.
point in my car
eer and am thousands of kilometers away from the school where I met Janet. The
needs of students in Janets classes are quite different from the needs of student
s that I now encounter every day. I work with students who, for the most part,
read fluently; in this quiet mountain town, there are not many students who requ
ire intensive literacy support. When I first moved here, I assumed that my rol
e as literacy teacher had, sadly, come to an end. How wrong I was! In my new s
chool, developing and nourishing a positive culture of reading was not a priorit
y for the vast majority of staff. There was no independent silent reading happe
ning in any classes. I soon began to notice that few students were reading for
pleasure and even less wanted to or could talk about books. Many students claim
ed that they hadnt read an entire book since they were in elementary school. Stu
dents struggled with the reading tasks on provincial exams and with the everyday
Language Arts tasks that involved any lengthy or sophisticated reading. Clearl
y, there
Not
too long
wereafter
literacy
this,needs
staffatand
my administrators
new school thatidentified
needed to literacy
be addressed.
as a weakn
ess for students and we developed school-wide goals that were based around impro
ving reading habits and skills; particularly in the junior grades. This goal, a
long with the British Columbia provincial requirements of the Learning Improveme
nt Fund, led to the creation of a teaching position labelled Literacy Support Te
acher. Gratefully, I accepted the position when it was offered to me, believing
that I could build appreciation for solid literacy skills in both the staff and
the students.
Part
way through my first year as Literacy Support Teacher, I encountered Donal
yn Millers (2014) Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperers Keys to Cultivating Lif
elong Reading Habits in a Teacher-Librarian by Distance Learning course with Dr.
Joanne DeGroot. This book re-ignited my passion for Independent Silent Reading
(ISR), a passion that had lain dormant for a number of years, primarily because
I struggled with dedicating so much class time to something that was challengin
g to measure. How could I justify spending almost a third of each class silent
reading? How did I know where students were in their reading if they were simpl
y reading for pleasure with no assessment or evaluation attached? Armed with Mi
llers book and data from Stephen Krashen (2011), I accumulated reasons and resear
ch to back up my desire to see students reading books of their choice every day.
In my gut, I knew that the practice was effective; I had done it when I was wo
rking with Janet and some very reluctant readers. When kids who say they hate r
eading sit silently reading for 20 minutes every class, its hard to argue that its
a bad thing. (Okay okay - so the bribery of donuts for silence was effective a
s well, but, they were reading!). Miller and Krashen gave me the ammunition and
inspiration I needed for a starting point: I would undertake Independent Silent
IReading
startedagain.
every English Language Arts class from then on with Independent Silent
Reading. I consistently modelled what a wild reader does because I truly believe
that if we serve as explicit reading models for our students and specifically as
sociate reading with enjoyment, pleasure, and learning, our students will be enc
ouraged to become voluntary lifelong readers (Gambrell, 1996, p. 21). Using Mill
ers (2014) guidelines, I coached students through how to find a book that would w
ork for them; I went to the library with them and showed them the layout and hel
ped them find books. I asked students frequently and fervently if they were lik

ing what they were reading, if they would recommend it to others, why they were
still reading it if they didnt like it, and what their favourite book of all time
is/was. We put a list of recommended books up on the whiteboard and students a
dded to it as the year progressed. Once every couple of weeks, we had book chat
s where we mingled and discussed what we were reading. We talked about what we
liked and what was happening in our books. We talked about reading goals and I
modelled how to set these goals by talking about my need to read more non-fictio
n.
Soon after this goal setting exercise, I had a pivotal moment; one of those mome
nts that make you realize that what you are doing is meaningful, that make you e
verlastingly thankful for your chosen profession. One day after class, my most
timid student approached me and quietly said, Excuse me, Ms. Hobbs? I was wonder
ing I know that you are wanting to read more non-fiction and I thought you might
like this book. Its one of the funniest books Ive ever read. I dont think its in t
he school library so I brought you my copy so you could borrow it if you like. A
shiver went down my back. I thanked the student who then quickly left. The bo
ok was Jenny Lawsons Lets Pretend This Never Happened, which had me laughing out l
oud while reading. When I was done with it, and with permission from the owner,
I promptly loaned the book to another student who then loaned it to another stu
dent when she was done with it. We became an impromptu book club and had conver
sations about which parts of the books we liked best and encouraged others to re
ad it as well. That specific experience showed me how a culture of reading can
transform a school; it can build and expand relationships and help students to t
ranscend shyness and isolation. What a powerful way to connect and create commu
nity! That moment, in combination with a steady perusal of academic research, g
alvanized my belief that Independent Silent Reading is an extremely effective te
aching tool. In the interest of promoting Independent Silent Reading and presen
ting options regarding effective implementation of it, this chapter focuses on t
he research and practice of ISR and will explore the roles of the teacher-librar
ianDecline
AWhat
There
and
doisschool
other
ainwealth
Reading
staff
leaders
ofininformation
Habits
creating
need
to know
life-long
currently
about Independent
readers.
available that
Silent
raises
Reading?
some concern re
garding literacy in Canada. An international survey conducted in 2003 found tha
t four out of ten people in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan fall in t
he low-literacy range (ABC Life Literacy Canada, 2015). Unemployment is twice a
s likely for those with low-literacy skills (ABC Life Literacy Canada, 2015). F
rom 2003 to 2012, the number of Canadians with low literacy levels increased whi
le the number of those with higher literacy levels decreased (Employment and Soc
ial Development Canada, 2015). Literacy is integral to our capacity as citizens
: as much as gender, race, religion, class, or national identity, ones literacy de
fines ones place in society (Jenkins & Kelly, 2013, p. 47). Clearly, low literacy
rates are something that should concern all citizens and it should particularly
alarm educators who seek to provide students with the skills they need to becom
e successful
One
factor contributing
citizens. to the increase of low literacy rates is the lack of rea
ding that adolescents engage in today. According to Biancarosa & Snow (as cite
d in Lee, 2011), over the last twenty years the number of teens who do not read
for pleasure has doubled. In 2012, 24% of teens aged 15-17 claimed that they re
ad books for pleasure 5 to 7 days a week; in 2014 that number dropped to 14% (S
cholastic, 2015, p.13). When we know that recreational reading leads to improve
ments in reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary and literacy development, this tr
end towards declining reading habits is troubling (Krashen, 2001, 2005). When w
e take into consideration that engaged teens (12 - 17 years of age) read an aver
age of 39.6 books a year compared to disengaged readers at 4.7 books a year, we
begin to see how the literacy gap will continue to widen as children grow older
(Scholastic, 2015, p. 27). This deficiency will negatively affect our communiti
es and society in general. How can our students navigate a world of text with m
inimal literacy
Throughout
theirskills?
education and their lives, children are expected to read indepe
ndently and to process complex texts; as a society, we depend on text to deliver
vast amounts of information (Cuervas, Irving & Russell, 2014). Indeed, the bulk
of human knowledge that has been passed down through the millennia has relied o
n someones ability to record it in writing and anothers ability to read, understan
d, and pass along that information, (Cuervas,et al., 2014, p. 127). Not only d
oes reading enable us to become effective members of society, it also motivates

us to learn, discover and increases the development of empathy and understanding


(LaMarca, n.d.). There is little doubt that reading is elemental to our succes
s in a world driven by text. How can we encourage our students to read more and
Literacy
Many
develop
teachers
lifelong
skills
resist
areliteracy
Needed
Independent
habits?
in
AllSilent
Content
Independent
Reading
Areas over
Silentworries
Readingabout
is one
successful
answer. de
livery of course content. Research on student perceptions about ISR shows that
they value independent reading time and see it as a way to gain a better underst
anding of texts; students see independent reading as a means to concentrate, comp
rehend, and reflect without being disturbed or distracted by some other task, (Iv
ey & Broaddus, 2001, p. 367). According to Ivey and Broaddus, this indicates th
at we should dedicate more time for independent reading and teacher read-alouds
in content area classes that are rife with new concepts and vocabulary. This wi
ll help
One
particularly
students apt
to grasp
example
these
of how
new ISR
concepts
positively
independently.
correlates to student achieve
ment is shared by Ivey and Fisher (2005): a principal in a secondary school dec
ided to end school wide silent reading in order to focus on more direct instruct
ion; over the next two years the schools overall achievement on content standards
test declined (p. 1). Teachers understood why taking away students time to just re
ad might have resulted in a decline in reading scores, but they were shocked that
scores sagged in history and science as well, (Ivey & Fisher, 2005, p. 1). The
re can be no denying that Independent Silent Reading benefits students across th
e curriculum.
If
students are to comprehend, synthesize and analyze new concepts via the cours
e textbook or other texts, it is imperative that students spend time developing
critical reading skills. This is a cross-curricular issue: the reading encounte
red in a grade 12 Biology class is very different from the reading that students
will encounter in a grade 12 English class. Teachers rarely allow students tim
e to discuss what they are reading, nor do they allow students time to explore th
eir own interests in reading, to read at their own pace, or to make their own de
cisions about whether or not to read a book, (Ivey & Broaddus, 2001, p. 350). Wi
thout dedicating class time to improving reading skills, how can we expect stude
nts to develop as readers? It is the responsibility of each teacher to incorpor
ate independent reading into their courses, in some capacity, so that students c
an build
The
Research
Magical
applicable
shows
Connection:
us that
skills.
silent
Readingreading
and Student
programs
Achievement
positively affect reading ability
(Chow & Chou, 2000; Lee, S., 2007; Krashen, 2009; Moore, Jones & Miller, 1980)
. We also know that these kinds of programs positively affect attitudes towards
reading and vocabulary acquisition (Chow & Chou, 2000, Lee, S., 2007; Moore, Jo
nes & Miller, 1980). Some benefits of spending time reading include increased v
ocabulary knowledge (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998; Nagy, Herman, & Anderson, 198
5 as cited in Trudel, 2007), increased fluency and word recognition (Yopp & Yop
p, 2003 as cited in Trudel, 2007), and overall reading and listening comprehensi
on (Elley & Mangubhai, 1983; Taylor, Frye, & Maruyama, 1990 as cited in Trudel,
2007). A number of studies have shown that reading has a positive effect on stu
dents, and, in particular, that silent reading programs positively impact readin
g comprehension and other language skills (Cuevas, Irving & Russell, 2014; Goldm
an & Manis, 2013; Smith, 2011). Anecdotal evidence from teachers supports this
research; we know that students who are strong, engaged readers are capable of
experiencing
There
are manymore
correlations
academic success.
between consistent, frequent reading and attainment
of language skills. In addition, reading positively impacts student achievement
in other areas. Miller & Kelley (2014) argue that children who love reading and
see themselves as readers are the most successful in school and have the greate
st opportunities in life (p. xix). Research shows that the more a child reads t
he more they benefit from reading: their cognitive abilities, and not just their
ability to make meaning from text, are positively impacted in an exponential ma
nner (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998, p. 137). Furthermore, research shows that a
print-rich environment leads not only to increased competence in literacy skills
such as syntax, vocabulary, and spelling, but also to increases in general know
ledge of history, culture, literature and practical information (Cipielewski &
Stanovich, 1992, 1990; Chomsky 1972; Goodman & Goodman, 1982; Nagy, Herman & And
erson 1987, 1985; Shu, Anderson & Zhang, 1995; Stanovich & Cunningham, 1992; Wes
t, Stanovich & Mitchell, 1993, as cited in Lee, S., 2007). Cullinan (2000) asse
rts that reading performance is positively correlated to academic performance; i
f students are engaging in free reading in and out of school, their academic ach

ievement can be expected to be higher than those students who do little reading.
Cunningham & Stanovich (1998) contend that reading volume is positively correl
ated to vocabulary and knowledge differences and they go so far as to say that th
ose who read a lot will enhance their verbal intelligence; that is, reading will
make them smarter (p. 147). Another positive aspect of independent reading is t
hat it provides significant academic improvements for all students, including th
ose who struggle with reading (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998, p. 147). The connec
tion between reading and cognitive advances provides adequate support for practi
cing ISR(2001)
Creating
Krashen
in school.
Life-Long
has shown
Readersthat strategies used during Independent Silent Reading
including modeling good reading practices, providing access to high interest mat
erial, providing book recommendations and reading aloud, result in more reading
(p. 2). Miller & Kelley (2014) argue that with increased reading, students will
develop increased confidence and enjoyment in reading, which means they are mor
e likely to read outside of school hours. Students are often distracted from re
ading outside of school time by social media, jobs, homework, chores and social
activities. School is, for many students, the only time and place where student
s have access to books that they want to read. If we engage and immerse student
s in a supportive reading culture we will enable them to become lifelong readers
Current
and productive
statistics
members
show that
of their
33% of
communities
school aged
(Miller
children
& Kelley,
have a2014,
designated
p. 9).time
at school to read independently, however, only 17% of these students do this con
sistently (every or almost every day) (Scholastic, 2015, p. 47). If we are to
impact literacy development in students in any measurable way, we must provide s
tudents with time to read every day. If we expect our students to become capabl
e, independent readers of complex text, we must provide them with frequent oppor
tunities to engage with text on their own terms. Independent Silent Reading is
supported by research as an effective means to improve student literacy. What i
s the best way to implement it? The next section will summarize what the resear
ch says
What
Strategies
There
can
hasabout
school
been
to Successfully
teaching
aleaders
tremendous
practice
do Implement
about...?
amount
andofISR.
ISR
research about aspects that influence the
successful implementation of silent reading. A number of factors appear to be u
niversal to success: access, choice, time, social interaction, environment, acco
untability, staff and community. These aspects are discussed in detail below.
School leaders are essential in a literacy rich school learning environment and
are encouraged to purposefully consider these factors in planning and decision m
aking for
Access
Providing
andstudents
student
Choice success.
with consistent access to a wide range of books that are inte
resting to them is the first step towards building successful ISR. Teacher-libr
arians should ensure that a diverse range of compelling books is available to st
udents and that these books offer a range of reading levels, genres, and topics
(Krashen, 2009; Nichols, 2009). One way to ensure that you are meeting student n
eeds in terms of book access is to conduct surveys of what students would like t
o see in the school library. Additionally, informal polls conducted when conver
sing with students about what they are reading and what they would like to be re
ading are also helpful. Check circulation data to see which books are hot and whi
ch are not. Review recommended book lists from the American Library Association
and reviews from School Library Journal, Booklist or Kirkus and consult other t
eacher-librarians in your district as well as the public library. It cannot be
stressed enough that access to books is fundamental to students reading more, bu
t these
Many
teachers
books struggle
must be geared
with giving
towardsstudents
their tastes.
free rein when it comes to choosing
books for independent reading. However, research shows student selection of boo
ks is integral to success (Block, Whitely, Parris, Reed, & Cleveland, 2009; Chow
& Chou, 2000; Trudel, 2007). Teachers and teacher-librarians should withhold ju
dgement of the level or type of book that a student is reading, and with continu
ed assistance and modelling, students will gravitate towards books that both eng
age and challenge them. We must encourage and engage them with books that make
sense to them (Ivey & Fisher, 2005, p. 4). Students will need assistance and mo
delling when choosing books. We can coach them to examine front and back covers,
novel summaries, font size, amount of text, genre, topic and author to assist i
n making the best choice. Independent Silent Reading should be about dismantlin
g barriers that keep students from texts; one barrier is often the teachers defin
ition of what should count as reading for SSR. However, if our goal is truly to m
entor students in their reading and to encourage them to read more, then we have

to trust and honor the readers interests (Lee, 2011, p. 212). Do adult readers a
lways read books at a challenging or difficult level? No, because we diversify
our reading selection to keep things interesting. While we may be uncomfortable
with some student book choices, we must recognize that one of the reasons wild r
eaders enjoy reading is that books can answer our questions and help us explore
our experiences (Miller & Kelley, 2014, p. 108). Resist the urge to pass judgeme
nt on what students are reading and, instead, ask them why they are drawn to tha
t book and who they would recommend it to. Use that opportunity to start a conv
ersation
In
Time
order to
anddevelop
build alife-long
relationship
reading
around
habits,
books.students should be reading on a da
ily basis for at least 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Many students, particularly
adolescents, do not make time for reading outside of school. Teachers and teach
er-librarians need to keep this in mind when planning their ISR. One 15 minute
period a week is not enough to help students develop reading skills or increase
their level of engagement with books. Research has shown that time is most defi
nitely a factor affecting success and that more time for ISR means more definiti
ve improvements in achievement (Allington, 1977; Block, Whitely, Parris, Reed, &
Cleveland, 2009; Chow & Chou, 2000; Trudel, 2007). Ideally, teachers will deve
lop a regular time for reading within their class schedule that students can ant
icipate and be prepared for. Additionally, ISR needs to be part of a long range
plan. It can take up to four or five months for students to be fully engaged a
nd, in order to achieve maximum effect, implementation should run for at least s
ix months (Nichols, 2009, p. 47). For most profound improvement, ISR will becom
e a daily
Social
Creating
Interaction
anpart
environment
of class,
and Environment
that
or school
is conducive
life, for
to reading
the foreseeable
is relatively
future.simple: surro
und students with books they like and provide them with time to read. If you ar
e willing and able to put comfy chairs, rugs and lamps in your library or classr
oom, this can create a book nook that students will be drawn to. If this is not
possible, dont stress! Students will bask in their quiet reading time when seat
ed at desks as well; I know this to be true because my students do it all the ti
me. It is paramount that ISR time provides students with the space to read inde
pendently. For some readers, this means that the room needs to be quiet; for ot
hers, silence is not necessary. It is important to differentiate to meet all ne
eds. I have found that silence comes naturally when students are engaged with t
heir books. However, that silence is sometimes interrupted when students want t
o share an interesting part of their book with their neighbor, or when I confere
nce with students about their reading. These interruptions are purposeful and a
re always about reading and have little negative effect on the rest of the class
. In a world that constantly demands their attention and where they are expecte
d to be connected all of the time in case they miss an important SnapChat or tex
t, quiet ISR time allows students the space to be mindful in their reading. Mo
st important here is that the teacher or teacher-librarian creates an environmen
t that
It
is equally
is conducive
important
to that
to create
particular
a school
collection
environment
of readers.
that fosters a reading cu
lture. Engaging staff and students in What are you reading? polls is one way to m
arket reading within your school. Posting the results on bulletin boards with p
ictures of the readers and their books is a sure fire way to get people talking
about reading. Encouraging staff and students to write reviews of books from th
e collection for the school Goodreads account is another effective way to draw a
ttention to what is popular, new or just plain interesting in the Learning Commo
ns world. A project that is planned for the near future in the GSS community i
s the creation of short video book talks that will be posted on the Learning Com
mons blog. It is hoped that these strategies will spur more reading and more co
nversations
Students
should
aboutbereading
encouraged
in our
to talk
schoolabout
environment.
their books. Research shows that wh
en students interact and discuss their reading, overall achievement improves (Ni
chols, 2009). Students can provide support for each other in their reading live
s and develop further clarity of understanding for their texts; they can make it
socially acceptable to read and discuss books inside and outside of class time
(Miller & Kelley, 2014). Students like to talk about their books and find talki
ng about their books to be motivating (Hilden & Jones, 2012). One easy way to f
oster these kinds of discussions is to stage book talks at the end of ISR time.
Students are asked to identify one thing that they like about their book, share
this with at least three other people, and report out about one thing that one

peer liked about their book. Topics can vary for book talks and often students
will launch into summaries of their story or descriptions of crazy parts of thei
r books. This is a great way to start conversations about books and to also pro
vide students with other titles that they might be interested in reading. I hav
e seen these conversations extend beyond the walls of the classroom. Right now
at my school, students are obsessed with The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patric
k Ness. Thankfully, we have multiple copies because everyone wants to read it a
nd everyone is talking about it. This craze started because students talked abo
ut have
We
Accountability
the book
to beincareful
class. with the accountability that we require of students. Too
much and they will begin to see reading as a chore; too little and we wont have a
clear picture of them as readers. Steer clear of book reports and writing assi
gnments that ask students to analyze and synthesize their books. Research shows
that there are much better results with ISR when there is no formal accountabil
ity measure in place for what students read (Trudel, 2007). Focus on implementi
ng small tasks that provide you with the information you need in an informal man
ner and that students view as easy, quickly doable and relevant to their reading
Miller
habits.and Kelly (2014) have a number of great suggestions about how to track st
udents and hold them accountable for their reading. Some examples that I have e
mployed include: group book talks (as mentioned above), individual book talks an
d reading logs. Group book talks are a great way to determine if and how studen
ts are reading. During class book talks, teachers and teacher-librarians can ci
rculate to discuss books with different students and can easily discover which s
tudents are engaged with their books and those that are not. Individual book ta
lks are another way to measure where students are at. Students are asked to pre
sent one book recommendation to the class. They have to state author, title, wh
y they like it and who they would recommend it to. These are very quick and eve
n the most shy student is capable of delivering the five sentence presentation wit
h support and encouragement. Reading logs that track author, title, and pages
read provide students with a record of what they have been reading and allow you
to see how much reading they are doing outside of class. Another step I have a
dded to the reading log is to have students make a connection, ask a question or
tell what they pictured in their head. Embedding reading strategies into the r
eading log provides me with valuable information about how students are reading.
I can tell if they are reading below the surface based on their responses here
and if they are engaged with their books, or are merely going through the motion
s. The reading log is a great way to start conversations about books with stude
nts and is also a place that you can recommend suitable books. It is important
to be transparent with students about these accountability measures and to let t
hem know why they are being used: ie. to keep track of where they are as readers
Staff
Perhaps
and toandone
help
Community
ofyouthetomore
knowchallenging
when supportaspects
is needed.
to the successful implementation of
Independent Silent Reading is the level of staff commitment and training needed.
Teacher engagement is integral to success; teacher conversion to belief in ISR
is a complicated and long range process (Moore, Jones & Miller, 1980). It is t
empting to encourage teachers to adopt ISR with little to no training as it woul
d appear that little training is necessary: how hard can it be to get a bunch of
The
students
research
to conducted
read quietly?
in ourTheLiteracy
realityMotivation
is somewhatProject
more complicated:
and the work of other
researchers (Oldfather, 1993; Ruddell, 1995; Turner, 1995; Turner & Paris, 1995)
suggest that classroom cultures that foster reading motivation are characterize
d by a teacher who is a reading model, a book-rich classroom environment, opport
unities for choice, familiarity with books, social interactions about books, and
literacy-related incentives that reflect the value of reading. (Gambrell, 1996,
Teacher
p. 20) modelling and teacher-student interaction are keys to success. This nee
ds to be an intentional process where teachers track student conferences and ana
lyze what those interviews say about how a child is reading. Teachers can use t
hese chats and other informal assessments such as those outlined in the Accounta
bility section to help students become more successful readers. Additionally, a
nd particularly for younger students, parental involvement in some manner is att
ributed to better results. Teachers and teacher-librarians need to provide opp
ortunities for parents to become more involved in their childs reading life. Thi
s could involve take-home surveys, opening the school library during after schoo

l hours, partnering with the public library, sending home book recommendations a
nd, in general, encouraging students to talk to their family about what they are
reading. All too often, students who are non-readers come from homes of non-re
aders; therefore, these connections with home need to be handled with diplomacy
andstaff
If
sensitivity.
can develop a concrete understanding of what successful ISR looks like,
then our results will be much more dramatic. When teachers are enthusiastic an
d engaged readers, students react more positively to reading (Gambrell, 1996; Ni
chols, 2009, p. 47). Staff talking with students about the books they are readi
ng and have read allows students to see a wild reader at work and provides them wi
th a model of who they could become as adult readers. As Miller and Kelley (201
4) declare: when we promote books to children and share our reading lives with th
em, we offer more than another great book recommendation or reading cheerleader:
we invite them into a society that reveres reading and readers (p. 91). Teacher
s and teacher-librarians are critical in the transition of students as readers w
ho read because they have to, to readers who gain pleasure and understanding from
text (Block, Whitely, Parris, Reed, & Cleveland, 2009; Gambrell, 1996). When ch
ildren are surrounded by adults who view reading as a life-long beneficial habit
and who share their opinions about what they are reading, children can more eas
ily grow
What
Students
Doesarrive
into
my Vision
life-long
to their
of ISR
readers.
class
Lookwith
Likeaonbook
a Day
theytoare
Dayexcited
Basis? about tucked into th
eir binders. Before the class starting bell sounds, many students are already e
nsconced in their novels, avidly reading. Rarely does the teacher have to remin
d students to read or to stay on task. The teacher reads at her desk or at the
back of the room but stops reading every now and again to scan the room, confere
nce with students about what they are reading, help students to figure out what
they are going to read next, or to counsel students about whether or not to keep
reading their current book. Often these short conversations spark longer chats
about reading and books and other students also become interested and chime in.
Once ISR is done for the day, students fill out reading logs which are collect
ed every two weeks; the teacher uses them to assess if students are reading at
home, if they are understanding what they are reading, if they are enjoying what
they are reading or if they are somewhat stuck. If Jake has been reading the s
ame book for three months, chances are that a) hes not really reading and/or b) h
es not very engaged with his book or, c) its too demanding for him! Students usua
lly transition easily from ISR to their next task, however, sometimes its challen
ging to get students to stop reading; especially if they are almost finished the
ir books or are at a particularly exciting point. You will know that students a
re doesnt
It
engaged stop
when there!
this starts
A list
happening
of recommended
on a regular
booksbasis.
is compiled within the class a
nd students are encouraged to add to it. Three times a week individual students
present brief book talks to the class about their current favourite and let eve
ryone know who they recommend it to. Students begin recommending books to each
other and to their teachers; students start asking the teacher-librarian to orde
r books for them. This is especially exciting when self-described non-readers a
re the ones requesting books. When their requested book arrives in the library,
the teacher-librarian works hard to get it into the students hands as soon as po
ssible. That non-reader is suddenly reading. In the hallways during lunch or c
lass breaks, the teacher has conversations with students about what they are rea
ding; even with students who are not currently their student. Conversations about
books become a natural part of every day for both students, teachers and suppor
t staff. Furthermore, people in the school community are unabashedly excited ab
out books and reading. It is clear to see that when implemented in a thoughtful
and thorough manner, ISR leads to a culture of reading that permeates the schoo
l culture
AWhat
andis
does
surrounding
Happening
allreading
of
thisat
community.
mean
GSS?for
has
beenschool
steadily
leaders
developing
in Canada
at GSS
(andover
the the
world)?
last few years
. Our new vice-principal (who is also our new teacher-librarian) is passionate a
bout literacy and works hard to push reading onto centre stage as much as possib
le. As for me, I am consistently trying to introduce elements of Donalynn Mille
rs work into my ISR time in my Language Arts classes. Additionally, Im sending bo
ok suggestions to the VP/TL to help her find and purchase books that appeal to a
wide range of students. In her part-time capacity (only 2 blocks out of 8 are
designated as TL time), she is working hard to build a more diverse collection t
hat intrigues students and serves their needs. As we know, access to books tha

t interest students is an intrinsic part of successful Independent Silent Readin


g. An increasing number of Language Arts teachers (both in French and English)
are becoming interested in ISR and are starting to implement the elements discus
sed above. A next step for me as Literacy Support Teacher is to collaborate wit
h these teachers to bolster the efficacy and longevity of ISR in their classroom
s. So far, we have garnered support for ISR from teachers and the principal; we
have also involved a number of staff in school wide reading initiatives. With
further initiatives and education, this support will broaden and, eventually, me
aningful reading will become an inherent, everyday activity for members of the G
SS community.
There
is hope and some indication that more teacher-librarian time will become a
vailable next year in the school. This is good news for ISR as the TL is integr
al to implementation: they provide support for teachers and match books to stude
nts for ultimate success. The strongest predictor of student reading enjoyment i
s the presence of a trained teacher-librarian (Ontario Library Association, 2006
). Additionally, schools with higher levels of library funding and staffing hav
e higher average reading literacy scores (Peterson, 2013). A trained teacher-li
brarian is an undeniable asset to any school program, particularly for those sch
ools interested in improving their students reading skills and enjoyment, academi
c achievement
We
know that aand
longoverall
range plan
literacy.
for Independent Silent Reading is necessary and t
hat creating life-long readers takes a substantial investment of time (Miller &
Kelley, 2014). We are ready and willing to dedicate this time and energy to adv
ocate for ISR and to help students read, read more, read better, and read for a l
ifetime, (Achterman, 2010, p. 67). The research shows that this investment is a
solid bet; with a supportive school community, we can create and support life-lo
ng readers.
Adittional
Booklist
This
resource
Online
Resources
provides
(ALA): more
http://booklistonline.com/Default.aspx
than 160,000 book reviews from the American Library
Association. There is a quick search function, review of the day, and a collect
ion of best of lists. Look here to find great suggestions to update and diversify
International
This
http://www.reading.org/General/AboutIRA/PositionStatements/leisure-reading
yourshort
collection.
document
Literacy
(5 pages
Association
only) provides
Leisure Reading
a solidPosition
outline of
Statement
the research supp
orting independent reading and endorses specific practices that will produce bes
t resultsS.inD.terms
Krashen,
(2011).
of positively
Free Voluntary
affecting
Reading.
students
Santa Barbara,
reading habits.
Calif.: Libraries
This book is a collection of Krashens research into free voluntary reading (FVR)
Unlimited.
from the last 10 years. Including chapters on English as a Foreign Language, re
wards for recreational reading, decline in reading habits, intensive decoding in
struction, web-surfing and hypotheses about FVR, it is a thorough examination of
Miller,
researchD.,on&the
Kelley,
topicS. (2013). Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer's Keys
to Cultivating
Reading
in the Wild
Lifelong
is aReading
continuation
Habits.ofSan
Millers
Francisco:
investigations
Jossey-Bass.
into getting stud
ents to love reading. This book focusses on creating life-long readers and prov
idesthis
Donalyn
On
manyblog,
Millers
strategies
Miller
blog:posts
andhttp://bookwhisperer.com/blog/
resources
her thoughts,
in pursuit
linksoftothis
research
cause.and revelations about
Young
independent
Adult Library
reading.Services
The blog
Associations
also connects
BooktoAwards
her Twitter
and Booklists:
account. http://www.
This resource from the American Library Association provides a diverse range of
ala.org/yalsa/booklistsawards/booklistsbook
recommended titles for students aged 12 to 18 years of age. Each list provides
a brief overview of books and those that are highly recommended are starred*. T
his is an excellent resource for finding books that will appeal to your students
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63(2), 8-14. Retrieved from http://ww
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Alternative
By
Why
opheimd@live.ca
I did
Dawn
should
notOpheim
always
school
ways aspire
toleaders
approach
tocare
bereading:
aabout.?
teacher-librarian.
The unexpectedWhen
benefits
I was younger, I wanted
to be both a ballet dancer (which was absurd as I didnt even take any ballet clas
ses!) and a veterinarian. My veterinarian dream died as soon as I discovered tha
t I would have to take care of sick animals NOT just get to play with them all d
ay. Im not sure what I initially thought a veterinarian did! After that, I didnt t
hink much about my future until I grew up a little bit more, entered high school
, and encountered the most influential and inspiring teacher of my school career
. She was my high school English teacher, and she challenged and encouraged me a
s a writer and introduced me to literature that I never would have considered on
my own. She opened my eyes to different interpretations of the books I loved, a
nd deepened my understanding of others that I had read. She listened to and talk
ed to me about my reading interests and shared hers with me. She, during my time
as a student with her, became a published author. As I think back I wonder: may
be she wasnt the most inspiring and influential teacher from my whole school care
er; maybe I was finally just open to being inspired. I had always loved, and don
e well in school, but she was the one who motivated me to become a high school E
nglish
This career
teacher.
choice didnt actually come as a surprise to me at all. Id always loved
reading and writing, and I still have aspirations to be an author someday. Howe
ver, as a fresh, shiny-new teacher straight out of university, my dreams came cr
ashing to the ground - it was impossible for me to find a teaching job. I could
not get on as a substitute in the city I grew up in and I wanted to work. I wasnt
sure why, as I had a great internship and was frequently requested as a sub in
other divisions - I thought I was doing very well! I began to despair and wonder
ed if all of my hard work was for nothing and if I had gotten into the wrong pro
fession. I didnt want to change professions, as there was nothing else that appea
led to me, but it seemed I was at a dead end. I began to look into ways to make
myself more desirable to hire, and nothing seemed to fit Resource, Speech-Language
, ESL until I stumbled across teacher-librarian. It was like my world suddenly li
t up; I couldnt believe I had never considered this before and had never realized t
hat
I wasthis
truly
wassurprised
a job I could
that being
do! Itawas
teacher-librarian
a perfect fit. had never crossed my mind b
efore. I was that kid who absolutely loved to read. I still remember the first b

ook I read all on my own in Kindergarten, which was The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle. I was the kid who got in trouble for staying up too late at night r
eading and then would attempt to read under the covers with a flashlight and the
n get in trouble for that! I was the kid who challenged the teacher-librarian to
find me new things to read because I had already read everything she had sugges
ted. I was the kid who would take out the maximum number of books from the publi
c library (21), would read them all in three weeks, and then get more. I was the
kid who immediately pulled out a book after getting all my classwork done. I su
ppose I assumed all kids were like me (my brother also read a lot). After being
a high school English teacher (and a substitute teacher) for a short time, I rea
lized this was not the case. So, I decided I wanted to be the adult who helped i
nspire kids to be readers like me. Readers who loved to learn new things and esc
ape into alternate realities. Readers who could curl up and relax with a good bo
ok. Readers who got into trouble for reading too much. Readers who loved books as
much
When Iasbecame
I did.a teacher-librarian in my first school, it was not a surprise that
some children preferred video games, computers, and their mobile devices over r
eading. What was a surprise was to find that the majority of students didnt know
how to read. What do you mean students dont read at home? What do you mean I cant
send books home from our school library? What do you mean parents dont take their
children to the public library?!! What do you mean they hate reading?!?! (I alway
s thought students only hated math, which was also something I didnt really underst
and because I loved math too!) No wonder students struggled with reading when th
ey never had actual opportunities to read. No wonder students hated reading if the
y struggled with it so much. I didnt realize that there was a completely differen
t world out there from the one that I grew up in. It made me wonder what I could
Being
do toemployed
get students
in a community
excited school
about reading.
has made me aware of the various issues tha
t our students deal with, but also how many programs are available to the childr
en who need them or want them. In our community school, we have numerous student
s who come from broken or unstable homes or have not had the easiest introductio
n into life, and therefore many issues are related to that. Some of these issues
include ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syn
drome), ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), and mild forms of Autism. Many of t
hese disorders (for lack of a better word) cause problems for the students like at
tention difficulties, struggles with learning from authority figures (teachers), i
ssues dealing with change in routine, and the inability to deal positively with
situations that challenge or frustrate them (such as curricular concepts that ar
e hard, when they dont get their allotted free time, or things like reading that ar
e a constant struggle). However, we do have numerous, wonderful, division suppor
ted pull-out reading programs to help students reach grade level, such as Roadwa
ys to Reading (Roadways) and Levelled Literacy Intervention (LLI), and the major
ity of the teachers in the school utilize the Caf /Daily 5 program, PWIM, or do un
interrupted or silent reading right in their classrooms. Indeed, our division go
al is to bring all of our students to at or above grade level in literacy. Howev
er, at least in my school, there are never enough spaces in the pull-out program
s (Roadways and LLI) to accommodate all the students who need help, and Daily 5
and Caf in the classrooms do not allow for the lower teacher-to-student ratio tha
t the pull-out programs do. Additionally, these programs are all still teaching re
ading, and while that is important, its something that the students are being forc
ed to do, and it is a daily reminder for them that they are behind in reading. Fr
om my observations, kids seem genuinely excited to come to their pull-out progra
ms, but I often see them still resisting the teachings in the program which make
s me think that they are excited to be getting out of regular class, and not as ex
cited to be learning how to read (as Id initially hoped). The classroom reading,
while providing many opportunities for students to read, does not provide readin
g instruction
So
the questioninstill
the same
remains:
way. How can I get students excited about reading, and
want to continue to grow in reading? I feel that the first step is to not teach t
hem reading; they get enough of that from their classroom teachers and the pullo
ut programs. While I think teaching reading is important, I believe it is more v
itally important in the primary grades when the foundations for reading are stil
l being built. It seems that, from my limited observations, once students get pa

st about grade 3, there are not as many classroom opportunities for teaching let
ters, sounds, etc. and students are no longer interested (or too embarrassed) to
spend time learning these things. My suggestion is to find fresh, innovative wa
ys to interest students in reading again, and perhaps show them that there are a
dditional benefits to be gained from reading besides increased reading proficien
*cyReading
and comprehension.
with other
animals,
the
elderly,
adults,
Newspecifically
ways
specifically
specifically
to interest
dogsElders
through
students
orvolunteer
those
include:
of reading
the sameprograms
ethnicityor
*through
Readinglocal
authentically
community or
organizations
with purpose (reading activities that are meaningful
or relevant to students lives) specifically outside the school in your community/
*This
town/city
Reading
chapter
with,
willin,explore
and around
the research
nature on building a love of reading in schools
and school libraries and the role of the teacher-librarian in building a love of
reading. Then based on the research and on practical advice, I will present ide
as for building a love of reading in schools and school libraries. The chapter w
ill also explore how the teacher-librarian can become an important part in devel
oping and sharing these reading opportunities with struggling and reluctant read
ers.
What do school
Literacy
achievement
leadersisneed
regarded
to knowasabout...?
the result of many complex and dynamic factor
s which cannot be reduced to simple/discreet [sic] measures of reading comprehen
sion, vocabulary development, phonic skills, and other traditional skill-based t
ests
At the(Dorion
risk ofand
using
Lees,
a clich
2009, p.
term,
148).
school leaders need to think outside the box and
be innovative when trying to engage reluctant readers. Therefore, school leader
s need to be aware, or reminded, of some of the options that are available for a
lternative forms of reading: reading with Elders/the elderly, reading with anima
ls, reading with other adults and getting involved with the community, reading w
ith purpose, and reading in/around nature. Some of these suggestions may not be
new; however, they are sometimes forgotten about in the hustle and bustle of a s
chool day. School leaders also need to be aware, or reminded, that not all cultu
res value text literacy in the same way and lets face it not all students value r
eading in the same way. Some cultures may value oral, non-verbal, or technologic
al literacy more highly than print literacy. The fact that different cultures, a
nd individual students, value reading differently can be a source of anxiety for
teachers. As teachers, we naturally want our students to excel. We also want to
prepare them for life outside of school by giving them as many tools as we can to
When
succeed,
approaching
and we reading,
naturallyschool
see reading
leadersasneed
one to
of educate
these vital
themselves
skills.on different
viewpoints regarding reading and keep those at the front of their minds. Being
a teacher-librarian in two community schools, I have a higher than average FNIM
(First Nations, Inuit, and Metis) student population in both of my schools, and
some of our division goals centre specifically around increasing FNIM success an
d graduation rates. While we do have many other cultures within my schools, and
within the school division, who undoubtedly have differing viewpoints on literac
y, I have chosen to focus on FNIM views because of my immersion in educating a v
ast majority of FNIM students. I was also interested in aligning my research wit
h my school divisions goals. However, in all aspects of literacy (and education i
n general), it is important to keep in mind that others cultural values may diffe
rResearch
Cultural
from ourViewpoints
suggests
own or our
thatschool
childrens
divisions
literacy
values.
is shaped by the social and cultural con
texts
As school
in which
leaders,
theywelive
do our
(Hare,
fair2011,
sharep.of393).
reading. We probably read curriculum
guides, textbooks, and websites for information for our students and professiona
l literature for conferences, seminars, and our own personal growth. Many of us
probably read for enjoyment in our spare time (if we have spare time!), and if w
e have our own small children, we probably read to them after school, before bed
time, and on the weekends. We also, probably, use different reading strategies w
hile reading to our children such as text features, predicting, engaging them in
conversation, taking turns, sounding out words and so forth (even if we dont alw
ays realize were doing this). Because this is what we do, this is what we know, a
nd
Ballthis
(2009)
is what
explains
we assume
that children
to be the whose
norm for
homeother
culture
households.
values listening, observing
, and doing as a primary learning mode are more likely to be marginalized in a t
ypical mainstream school (p. 31). In many First Nations households, print literac
y is relatively new and not valued as highly as things like oral, environmental,
or visual literacy: A primary example of how Native American cultural values dif
fer from mainstream society is the way that knowledge and mastery of skills are
defined and attained. For American Indian people, reading has not been a way to
attain knowledge (White-Kaulaity, 2007, p. 567). There are often negative connota

tions associated with print literacy, which was introduced with residential scho
ols. White-Kaulaity goes on to discuss that taking meaning from books is a learn
ed behaviour, and that FNIM students are often taught to take meaning from oral
or environmental stimuli, or by doing or observing playing games, building, gather
ing, singing, and dancing. Additionally, mainstream society often has different
expectations for mastering skills; in school we are expected to meet certain sta
ndards before starting a new skill or passing on to the next grade. By attaching
expectations to grade level, we are also attaching mastery expectations to age,
and White-Kaulaity explains that FNIM cultures have different viewpoints on dead
lines to master skills and which skills indeed need to be mastered. Children are
encouraged to discover their own skills and abilities and become masters in thos
e.
This is not to say that FNIM students or families do not value print literacy or
do not enjoy reading or are not good at reading, and White-Kaulaity (2007) is o
ne of the first to concede this point by stating that reading is a must for worl
d betterment, for both native and non-native people and that we must actively fin
d more effective ways of enticing young people into reading (p. 562). There may b
e different ways to engage FNIM students to interest them in reading, including
something as simple as making sure there are available reading materials that in
clude FNIM topics or characters. However, other (previously mentioned) approache
s can also be things that are more complex to implement such as reading with Eld
ers (Elders are typically highly respected and revered in many Aboriginal commun
ities), reading authentically or with purpose, and reading in and around nature.
All of these variations can be beneficial for every student, while also have sp
ecific
Reading
Once weties
as More
discover,
to FNIM
than
acknowledge,
ideals.
Literacy and mindfully consider cultural differences when
approaching literacy, school leaders also need to recognize some of the addition
al benefits that can come from reading (besides fluency, comprehension, and accu
racy). While fluency, comprehension, and accuracy are undoubtedly important, and
perhaps seem to be the most important because of the heavy emphasis put on data
and test scores, there are many other benefits and skills that can come out of
reading besides these Big 3. Offering students different avenues to approach liter
acy can result in a multitude of benefits depending on the students and the type
of reading they are engaging in. For example, reading in and with the community
can give students a view of how things are outside of their school and home, an
d give them satisfaction in giving back. Reading with dogs can give students a new
found confidence by reading with a companion that is completely non-judgmental a
nd does not criticize. And reading with elders can help students view seniors in
a different light by showing students that elders hold a wealth of knowledge an
dFor
Reading
canthestill
withbethevaluable
purposes
Elderly
of
thismembers
discussion,
of society.
senior citizens will be referred to as elde
rs in order to encompass all seniors but without meaning any disrespect to FNIM
Elders (which is often capitalized, and not necessarily a senior citizen). Elder
s are often highly respected in many cultures (not just FNIM cultures), and Kerk
a (2003) maintains that the young child cannot feel secure if there is no elder w
hose silent presence gives him or her hope in life (p. 1). However, elders can so
metimes be seen as a burden on society and Spudich (2010) discusses how working
with elders dispels stereotypes about both the elderly (for the students) and yo
uth (for the elderly), and that children often used more positively descriptive
words to describe elders after working closely with them for an extended period
of time. Dorion and Lees (2009) also share the many benefits of reading with eld
ers such as filling relationship gaps in the lives of both the elders and the st
udents, exchanging knowledge and wisdom, strengthening school-community relation
ships, filling educational spaces with elderly volunteers that cash-strapped sch
ools may not otherwise be able to fund, and instilling a belief that the welfare
and upbringing of todays youth is not only the responsibility of their parents (
or their teachers), but societys responsibility as a whole. Mead (1972) supports
this idea by stating that a society that cuts off older people from meaningful co
ntact with children. is greatly endangered (p. 282). Reading with students can als
o have meaningful benefits for elders; they develop a feeling of self-worth by b
eing able to pass along knowledge and give back to their community, as well as b
eing
Thoughrespected
reading with
for their
eldersexperience
may not necessarily
and knowledge.
teach students how to read, it ca
n encompass teaching children about the value and importance of reading: Vocabula

ry and decoding skills were developed incidentally to the whole reading [with el
ders] event, rather than in preparation for, or in lieu of, an enjoyable reading
experience with a caring adult (Dorion and Lees, 2009, p. 144). Reading with eld
ers can also have benefits in unexpected areas, and one of these unexpected side
-effects (much to the delight of teachers) can be an increased respect for teach
ers and their jobs. Volunteers in Dorion and Lees study discovered many of the di
fficulties that teachers had to face every day; they also realized the daily soc
ial and academic challenges that students cope with, and the varying needs of st
udents
Readingthat
withare
elders
contained
can bewithin
beneficial
a single
regardless
classroom
of the
setting.
cultural or gender-based
partnerships between elders and students; however, there may be additional bene
fits associated with pairing students up with elders from the same culture or el
ders of the same gender. Students may be better able to relate to someone from t
heir culture, or someone of their gender (which can also, many times, be cultura
lly related; in some cultures, young males are taught to respect adult males mor
e highly than adult females). In light of this, alternative pairings might be eq
ually beneficial: teaching respect for the elderly of a different gender, learni
ng about the culture and history of someone from a different culture, or simply
learning to interact with others outside of ones comfort zone. Reading with elder
s can spark authentic conversations about a multitude of topics, either between
the elders and students or in the classrooms after the reading partnerships are
done.
Readingare
Elders
in often
and with
parttheofCommunity
the surrounding community, but reading with other commu
nity members often have many of the same benefits: Knowledge and language are tau
ght through social relationships, thus emphasizing the role of family and commun
ity as important sources of knowledge (Hare, 2011, p. 393). Schnack (2001) discus
ses some of the individual benefits that her students gained from their reading
partnerships with community members: feeling positive and motivated, being excit
ed about reading, responding more meaningfully about their literature, and respo
nding to their partners questions with enthusiasm and sincerity. Schnack (2001) a
lso notes that the responses towards their partners were often more in depth tha
n what she would receive in the classroom, and she attributes that to her studen
ts genuinely caring about their partners: They are responding with intrinsic moti
vation to interested people who have sincere questions, not answering questions
because they want a good grade (p. 96). Community reading partnerships might also
have an added benefit for struggling readers in that their partners might also
struggle with reading, and that can act as a comfort to students (that they are
not alone in their reading struggles), a support to students (an adult who is on
the same level' as them, helping them), and a motivator to students (to better t
hemselves in reading and to successfully help their adult reading partner throug
h the difficult parts). This partnership can create authentic, connected relatio
nships between youth and adults in the community. Schnack (2001) notes that a ch
ilds confidence increased because his partner treated him not as an at risk kid or a
Students
problem,who
butare
as involved
a friend in
andcommunity
contributing
partnerships
communityare
member
often(p.
humbled
99). by learnin
g that there are many adults in their community who care about their well-being,
education, and upbringing (besides their families and teachers - who may or may
not actually be part of the community). Schnack (2001) particularly notes the r
esponse from a community bank employee who states, usually Im just asked to give m
oney. but now I can really contribute to a students education (p. 99). Similarly, c
ommunity members are often surprised by how authentically and genuinely students
can give back to their communities as well. Wright and Mahiri (2012) showcase s
tudents in their article that facilitated focus groups, analyzed data, and creat
ed, wrote, and presented an action plan to over 60 community stakeholders in ord
er to build a youth centre in their community. One particular student was focuse
d on in this article. At the beginning of the project he could not fill out a si
mple personal information form - he was almost completely illiterate. By the end,
everyone had noticed a dramatic improvement in his reading abilities. Though not
completely accurate or fluent, he was reading aloud to his classmates and had l
ost his embarrassment about his reading abilities. Researchers associated the st
udents significant growth in literacy with the meaningful tasks that were pursued
, the responsibilities that were given, and the caring and supportive atmosphere
Inoforder
the participants.
to prepare children for the broad, flexible and transcultural language a

nd literacy skills that will be demanded in the future (Hare, 2011, p. 405), we n
eed to consider many types of organizations to partner with for reading opportun
ities. Organizations to consider partnering with might include daycares, churche
s or other religious organizations, soup kitchens or shelters, cultural establis
hments, colleges or universities, or sports teams. Each of these different kinds
of organizations can offer their own unique, authentic opportunities for studen
ts to practice and improve their literacy skills in an environment either in or
outside of school. For example, churches or other religious organizations can pr
ovide cultural support to those of the same background as well as broadening oth
er students world knowledge and tolerance. Daycares can offer the chance for stud
ents to be experts in reading with children who dont yet have any reading abilities
. Colleges and universities can show students what is available to them beyond e
lementary and high school, and give them an idea of what reading skills they wil
l need to possess if they want to pursue post-secondary education. Connecting wi
th the community brings the same aspects of authenticity to reading, just as lit
erature
Perhaps
Authentic
withReading
authentic
familiar
reading
characters
occurs,orasbeing
previously
in nature
mentioned,
does. by providing students
with reading materials that echo the past or current situations in their lives,
by showing characters in stories that students want to emulate, or by discoveri
ng similarities between themselves (or people they know) and the characters. Per
haps reading with others, such as elders, other community members, generates aut
hentic conversation about topics that otherwise would not be touched on in a regu
lar school day, or would never come up because they are unrelated to the school c
urriculum. Perhaps authentic reading occurs by ensuring a connection between the
novel study being done in a Language Arts class and the topics being covered in
Science or Social Studies or Health. Or perhaps, as Curtis (2013) states, it ta
kes the form of reading the stories of other people (biographies or autobiograph
ies) that creates authentic learning by having students live through the experie
nces of others, because literacy learning occurs best when experienced in a way t
hat
Curtis
emulates
(2013)real-life
also showsexperiences
that authentic
(p. reading
372). can take place when students tra
vel with their families. The number of students absent from school for trips, va
cations, or family reasons seems to be on the rise, and this is one way to capit
alize on authentic literacy. This can be done by encouraging students to collect
artifacts from their trips, and can include items like brochures, maps, menus, po
stcards, transportation schedules (i.e. busses, planes, trains), and newspapers.
Students may also have additional ideas for reading that they encounter on thei
r adventure. Many of the artifacts collected while travelling are also elements
that students encounter in their everyday lives that they may not pay much atten
tion to. Additionally, these artifacts are often things that we, as teachers, for
get to pay attention to as well because they are such a regular part of our lives
Athat
thirdthey
grade
blend
teacher
into in
everyday
Eicksliving.
(2012) research takes a slightly different approac
h to authentic reading by immersing it with another, sometimes forgotten, entity
that surrounds us every day: nature. Eick shares that having little to no outdoo
r play restricts childrens mobility in nature and this limits their capacity to ex
pand their environmental literacy... modern life, overprotectiveness of parents,
and heightened fears of danger have all led to this situation (p. 789-90). The te
acher in Eicks study, Susan, utilizes an outdoor classroom for the topics that sh
e covers in science, and she finds that the experiences that the students have i
n nature naturally spill over into the rest of her teaching to provide that auth
enticity for students. Susan conducts many of her science lessons in the outdoor
classroom that her school developed. While she doesnt (necessarily) have her stu
dents do their reading outside, she does use reading passages that relate to her
nature studies in order to teach reading fluency and comprehension (which is he
avily tested in Susans school division). Students come back from their outdoor ex
periences and transition into wanting to find additional literature on whatever
they encountered that day, from insects to plants to weather. She also finds tha
t they immediately want to write about their experiences and there is a very str
ong
Susancorrelation
particularly
between
foundreading/literacy
that the authentic
andoutdoor
writing.experiences most positively
impacted and motivated her struggling students (Eick, 2012). When students have
something that sparks their interest, or that directly relates to something they
have experienced, they are naturally more interested or invested in learning ab

out it. Susan shares that, in her 19 years of experience, the authentic experien
ces (and therefore authentic reading) can boost lower-achieving students self-est
eem and allow them to shine where they might otherwise not be able to. This is par
ticularly evident when looking at the standardized test scores for Susans student
s; 12 of her 16 students exceeded the academic content standards in reading and
grammar, 3 students met the academic content standards, and 1 met partial standa
rds (Eick, 2012, p. 798). None of her students fell into the Level I (not passin
g) criteria, and her results were higher than the entire school systems testing a
verage. To reiterate a previous point: test results are not necessarily the most
important element of literacy, but they are certainly the more tracked evidence;
however, the self-esteem and enthusiasm that Susans students gained from reading
authentically
Reading
The
natural
with world
Nature
with and
nature
wonderment
should not
it brings
be overlooked.
for young children can provide the con
text for learning about science and the natural world while also expanding child
rens environmental literacy (Eick, 2012, p. 790), but there is also further resear
ch that supports the positive effects that nature has on the human body, the eye
s, and the brain. For example, MacEachren (2012) shares the way in which our vis
ion is limited by using focus vision, or focusing on things from a close range. Wh
en we are in a classroom, all of the items within our proximity are close enough
to us that we do not need to use our peripheral vision to perceive them and the
refore our peripheral vision becomes underdeveloped. When in an outdoor setting,
with multiple stimuli (and many more things in the distance as opposed to close
ly surrounding us), we learn to observe and deal with distractions in our world.
Medina (2008), reports that people who are interrupted by various stimuli take
50% longer to complete a task, and make 50% more mistakes, than those that are a
ble to block out distractions (p. 87). By helping our students to perceive perip
heral stimuli and ignore interruptions, as well as giving them opportunities to
refocus their eyes from the strain of prolonged reading in a classroom, we equip
Related
them with
to focus
betterand
coping
peripheral
mechanisms
vision,
in antheever
movement
increasing
of theworld
eye can
of distractions.
aid with cog
nitive development, and there is a potential hazard to childrens eye development w
hen asked too early in their development and for too long a period to focus thei
r eyes in rooms where focusing on a distance is not possible (MacEachren, 2012, p.
34). MacEachren also discusses the benefits of increased oxygen levels on the p
rosperity of neuron synapses in the brain. While she relates her discussion to i
ncreased activity levels in nature, similar benefits could be achieved by simply
spending time reading outdoors with natural oxygen as opposed to the potentiall
yWhile
staletheandFNIM
recycled
cultures
airmay
inside
not have
a school.
had scientific evidence of the benefits tha
t nature has on the brain, eyes, and human body, they instinctively understood t
he beneficial relationship that children could have with nature: [Indigenous] peo
ples understood that all entities of nature embodied relationships that must be h
onoured. Through the seeking, making, sharing, and celebrating of these natural
relationships, they came to perceive themselves as living in a sea of relationsh
ips (Cajete, 2000, p. 178). As Hare explains, FNIM children gain knowledge throug
h the relationships they have with nature; through reading the environment, childr
en learn about such things as the importance of territory and place, history of
the natural world, and begin to discover their own identity. Children learn abou
t life cycles, animal behaviour, and seasonal shifts and make connections between
how the natural world works and their own lives (Hare, 2011, p. 407). When combi
ned with related reading material, or simply as an addition to any reading selec
tions, the environment can have an amazing beneficial impact on students (and st
aff).
Reading withleaving
Sometimes,
Dogs the comfort of the school to pursue learning opportunities in
nature or in the community can seem intimidating. An additional way to venture o
utside the box with literacy activities can be to bring them into the school (the
way one might with elderly volunteers). An extremely worthwhile literacy ventur
e to present to students is the chance to read with a trained therapy animal. La
ne and Zavada (2013) stress that the goals of reading with dogs often include inc
reasing reading fluency, increasing motivation to read, providing encouragement
for reluctant readers, and making reading fun (p. 88). While there are many optio
ns for therapy animals, this chapter will focus on dogs because they are small e
nough to be school-accessible and are easily handled by trainers. Friesen (2010)
states that dogs in particular are thought to provide a non-threatening yet soci

ally supportive and interactive audience for children when practicing their oral
reading skills (p. 22). Lane and Zavada (2013) also claim other benefits to read
ing with dogs, such as reducing discomfort and anxiety, facilitating coping mech
anisms, and reducing blood pressure and heart rates. Jalongo (2005) further supp
orts Lane and Zavadas claims by providing medical evidence: when children were ask
ed to read aloud under three conditions [peer, adult, and therapy dog] the presen
ce of a therapy dog reduced the childrens blood pressure and heart rate to normal
While
levelsthere
and can
diminished
be manyobservable
health benefits
signs associated
of anxietywith
(p. reading
154). with dogs, stude
nts are not likely to be aware of these. However, students are often engaged wit
hout realizing it, and Cambourne (1995) shares that engagement occurs when learne
rs are convinced that... they can engage and try to emulate without fear or phys
ical or psychological hurt if their attempts are not fully correct (p. 187). Stud
ents may not be aware that they are engaged, but they are aware of how the dogs
make them feel: I can read with more confidence every time I read to the dog. I f
eel that I am becoming better at reading and The dog comforts me when I read her a
story. If a hard word comes to me I sound it out. I love reading with the dog a
nd her amazing owner (Shaw, 2013, p. 368). Francis (2009) notices that the studen
ts in her library develop more pride when reading, have increased self-esteem, g
reater confidence when reading aloud, and decreased absenteeism. One students mot
her claimed that this was because the dog is a non-judgmental, less intimidating
audience which gives her son feelings of pleasure and motivates him to read (Fran
cis, 2009, p. 52). Francis (2009) also notices that when her students interact w
ith the volunteer dog in her library, she sees increased levels of kindness, awa
reness, and empathy towards the dog, which then translates into other interactio
ns
Doctors
that may
the see
students
healthhave.
benefits and teachers and students may see personal benef
its, but test results see reading benefits. Lane and Zavada (2013) show many res
earch examples of students improvement in reading, including a 12% increase in re
ading fluency for grade three students and 30% reading fluency improvement in ho
meschooled children. Jalongos (2005) findings also support literacy growth in stu
dents: all 20 of her 5-9 year-olds improved their reading scores, attended more
regularly, had improved grades on their report cards, and used the library more
often. Of significant note is that all of Jalongos students were identified as bei
ng at-risk for academic difficulties by the principal and social worker (2005, p.
One
156),
of the
whichkeys
makes
to improving
her resultsreading
all theproficiency
more significant.
is in providing plentiful oppor
tunities for reading practice When children struggle in reading, they often avoid
reading, and therefore, they get insufficient practice to improve. This results
in an ever-widening gap between good readers, who keep getting better through p
ractice, and poor readers, who stagnate because of lack of practice. (Lane & Zav
ada,
Sometimes
2013,when
p. 89)
you take a misstep on a slippery slope, you find yourself sliding
downwards faster than you can claw your way back up. Many times those at-risk s
tudents, or the ones who struggle so much with reading, have started sliding dow
n that slope and they dont know how to help themselves back up. Often times they
do not have the same strategies, strongholds, or supports that the rest of us do
, which makes their climb even harder. As school leaders, we can help these stud
ents by providing them hands to hold onto while they make their journey back up
to the top. Those hands can come straight from us and take the form of caring, c
ompassionate confidants, or passionate motivators who push them to do their best
. Sometimes those hands do not come from people at all, but strategies and situa
tions to help struggling readers succeed. If school leaders cannot personally of
fer the hands to help them back up, we can at least offer different ways for rea
ders to want to help themselves by providing authentic reading opportunities, pr
oviding connections with their culture and others around them by reading with el
ders or other community members, providing rejuvenation by reading in nature, or
by providing enjoyable and non-judgemental reading opportunities with dogs. Som
etimes all that is needed is a little change of scenery to bring excitement back
What
Sometimes
to ancanundesirable
school
schoolleaders
leaders
task.dogetabout...?
stuck on the same slippery slope that students do.
We feel that weve tried countless tactics with our students with reading, given t
hem multiple opportunities, and supported them in every way that we know how. We
bring our worries home at night, wondering how else we can possibly help our st
udents. Unfortunately, being a fairly new teacher-librarian, I dont have all the

answers for you. I often catch myself wondering the same things, while despair t
hreatens to overwhelm me. Maybe youre a new school leader, like me, or one thats b
een around for a while who is still looking for some answers. Maybe you think th
eres a new way, or a different way, or a better method to approach literacy and r
eading. Maybe you just need a fresh way to look at things to bring life back to
an areaareinthe
These
yourreasons
schoolthat
thatIyou
decided
werent
to look
quiteinto
surethese
what alternative
to do with. approaches t
o engage students in reading. I deliberately looked for things that were unortho
dox or that I hadnt seen put into action before. I dont claim that theyre better th
an what is out there. Nor do I claim that they work, as I have not seen enough o
f them put into action to form my own opinion. However, there is literature (as
previously shown) to support the benefits of alternative forms of reading such a
s reading with the community, elders, and animals, reading authentically, and re
ading in and around nature. Additionally, there are things that I CAN do to be a
good role model to my students and promote reading, even if they dont yet fall i
nto those categories. I make the choice every day to persevere, show bravery, op
en my mind, stay realistic, and keep the passion alive. Sometimes the pressures
of teaching reading can bring negativity to something that should be enjoyable;
Isosee
Persevere
I attempt
my mantra
to in
approach
this area
reading
as, if
withatthefirst
joy you
and dont
positivity
succeed,
it brings
try, try
to again.
me.
My f
irst year at my new community school was both eye-opening and sobering. The read
ing statistics were disheartening, the attitude towards reading was dismal, and
the library usage was non-existent. My initial attempts to engage students in th
e library were unsuccessful and I took that very personally. Then I realized tha
t my attempts to engage the students were from my point of view, not theirs. I b
egan eavesdropping on the students without them realizing. I discovered that the m
ajority of students were engrossed with their technology; Thurton (2012) reports
that according to the Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012 report card, 10- to 16-yea
r-olds get an average of 6 hours and 37 minutes of daily non-classwork screen ti
me (para. 9). This includes things like handheld devices, video games, computer g
ames, movies, and TV. I discovered they loved Minecraft, Lego, Monster High, and
Adventure Time. I began to purchase those books for the library. I was attempti
ng to reach them in the most authentic way I knew how at the time through their
outward interests. Slowly the students discovered that I was purchasing books fo
r them and they began making suggestions, coming to the library more, and devour
ing the books I bought. Now I can barely keep my new books on the shelf; the stu
dents are always asking for their favourites and very excited to be in the libra
ry. As a result of this experience, I feel that I would now be better able to ap
proach the students and ask them what their interests and needs are and have the
m answer honestly, without reservations or hesitations. This will better enable
me to choose books that they enjoy and organize authentic reading activities tha
t feel
IShow
theyBravery
willsame
the
findexcitement
meaningful.as my students do in the library most times. There ar
e some days, though, when I look at the same space and same programs and realize
Ive run out of ideas on how to keep things fresh and alive. I also realize that
I have a strong desire to keep improving my library (my being whatever library Im in
at the time) and I also have a need to prove myself as a valuable and competent
teacher-librarian because Im still so fresh in my career. As a result, I often fi
nd I have a hard time asking for help. I feel that if Im asking people for input or
suggestions, it makes me look like I dont know what Im doing or Im struggling. Thi
s section brings to mind a book that I just recently read to a Kindergarten clas
s called Being Bella by Cheryl Zuzo (2008). The Kindergarteners are learning wha
t Mastery is (how we become Masters at certain skills), and how we need to pract
ice and practice to become good at something. The message of the book is that no
one is perfect, and we should always keep trying to get better. I find it stran
ge that we try so hard to instill this message into our students but seem to for
get this basic principle as we turn into adults. It is unreasonable that we shou
ld consider ourselves to be perfect just because we are adults, and we should no
t encourage or expect our students to think we are perfect. It instills unrealis
ticnewest
My
expectations
libraryon(the
bothoneparties,
I started
andatgives
in September)
adults an is
excuse
also mytosmaller
quit trying.
library
and because of that I am having a hard time turning it into a space to promote
reading. There is not a lot of room for movement, adding, or subtracting things.
As a result, Ive talked to my principal to open myself up to some new ideas for

different ways to manage the library space. He wants to do some renovations in t


here soon, but in the meantime he suggested visiting a library just out of town
from ours to get some new ideas. The library we visited is set up in a completel
y different fashion than anything I have seen before. The teacher-librarian has
gradually transitioned to a bucket system, and she is wanting to do away with the
Dewey Decimal System in her library and use either METIS or BISAC. Both of these
classification systems are similar to what one would see in a bookstore and org
anizes books based on genres or categories as opposed to a numerical system. The
buckets, complete with visual and textual labels on both the buckets and books,
are organized into E categories such as Robert Munsch, Franklin, and Olivia and Fic c
ategories like Funny Novels, Science Fiction, and Mystery. The Non-Fiction area has bu
ckets for Pioneers, Transportation (which is further broken down into air, land, and
This
sea is
transportation),
a radical new way
and to
Dinosaurs,
organize libraries,
as well asand
manytakes
more.bravery, dedication,
and commitment to justify the reasons for the change, but the teacher-librarian
maintains that the students and staff are completely enthusiastic about the new
system. Both staff and students are more capable of finding books that they are
interested in reading or that they need for school, and students are easily able
to help in the library and reshelve books based on the labelling system. Making
a major change like this in the library can have a positive effect on students r
eading habits but require the staff and students to maintain an open mind about
trying something new and having patience during the transition (which will not t
ake place
Open
Trying
YournewMind
overnight!)
things was my primary reason for looking into the alternative reading m
ethods that I explored for this chapter. I stumbled across reading with dogs bas
ed on my own love of dogs and wishing I could bring my dogs to work with me eve
ry day. Researching the benefits of reading with elders came from observing a gr
ade one teacher taking students across the park to a seniors complex once a month
and reading with them. I wondered if more regular reading times, and/or reading
with culturally similar elders would have more impact on the students. Reading
in and around nature came from my love of the outdoors and being in nature, and
how relaxed and happy it made me feel, so I was sure there must be additional be
nefits to being in nature. Unfortunately, being at one with nature is often hard
to do in Saskatchewan (where I live and teach) due to a lot of extreme prolonge
d winter weather and indoor recesses, so I am trying something new and attemptin
g to bring nature inside my larger library for a reading corner. I acquired a ve
ry shaggy green carpet for my grass. I have purchased numerous bean bag chairs (wi
th flowers on them) as well as other floor seating for students to sit on. I am
in the process of creating a large tree with bare branches to form a canopy over
this reading corner. I plan to put leaves and apples on the tree with student w
riting about their favourite books or what they love about reading. And, when it
gets nice enough out, I plan to bring in large live plants to put in that corne
r as well (only because it is very hard to transport plants of that size in the
Stay Realistic
winter).
Sometimes
it is hard to remember that not all things will work out the way you e
nvision them in your mind. My opinion is that my outdoor reading corner with the m
akeshift tree will be AMAZING and my students will fall in love with it and I wi
ll have a hard time getting them out of the library! I have to remember, though,
that it might not turn out that way and thats a hard pill to swallow, especially
when I have so much time and emotion invested into the project. Sometimes ideas
just dont work out. For example, I bought a full set of Twisted Journeys books f
or my current library because the students in my last library loved them. They h
avent been as big of a hit here. The grade 1 teacher from my previous school, who
takes her students to read with seniors, does not have the same level of succes
s every year. That successful visualizing lesson I did with the grade 2s last we
ek ended up being a flop when I tried the exact same lesson with the class acros
s the hall. Little failures like this should not be viewed as failures, but rather
There
opportunities
is a teacher
for in
learning
my school
and division
improving.who is going through a very big process
of learning and improving; she is attempting to start a program with her grade 7
and 8 students called My Gift. This is her first year with it, so she is still uns
ure how successful it will be, and though it seems like an interesting and worth
while project, I am also unsure of its success rate in other schools. The basic
premise behind the program is that she has students from her class - the ones th

at want to participate - get involved in something in the community for 4-8 week
s that develops their interests or talents. This could range from cooking to pho
tography to car repair to reading. The students spend a full half day, once a we
ek, participating in this pursuit. The biggest challenge to her program right no
w is the legalities and safety issues surrounding grade 7 and 8 students being o
n their own in the community for 2-3 hours every week. My Gift creates some amaz
ing opportunities for authentic learning, and while this program may not be 100%
for you or your students, the basic idea could be the foundation for your own p
rogram. Why not ask students how they would like to get authentically involved i
n reading? Maybe they would like to read with elders, but perhaps theyd like to r
ead at libraries or daycares with young children. Maybe theyd like to be involved
with a religious organization. Maybe theyd like to read newspapers to those that
are visually impaired. Part of staying realistic is realizing that students are
not going to enjoy something that is forced on them; allowing students choice to
engage
Keep
No
matter
theinPassion
something
how
manyAlive
curveballs
authentically
my job
fosters
throwsmore
at me,
success.
one thing will never change:
my love for reading and my passion for wanting to bring that joy to others. Stud
ents react to energy whether it is positive, negative, or passive. As school lea
ders, we influence them more than we know. Maybe my ideas flop sometimes, or may
be they think Im weird when I dress up like characters from my favourite books. M
aybe they think Im silly when I laugh at the books Im reading to them for storytim
e. Maybe theyre annoyed with me when I try (yet again) to get them to take out so
mething besides graphic novels for book exchange. In spite of these things, thou
gh, Im sure my antics make them smile (even if its on the inside) and they see tha
t Im trying for them. I am trying to make the library something that suits their
needs. I am trying to get in books that they like. I am trying my hardest to com
e up with different ways to engage them as readers. I am trying to help them cul
tivate a love and appreciation for reading while developing the skills they need
to be successful in life. School leaders always need to be embracing and sharin
g their excitement, passion, and love for the things that we are interested in,
and encouraging our students to do the same with their interests. I think the ha
rdest part about being a teacher is that you might not see the results of your e
fforts (if you ever do). Sometimes those results happen long after theyve moved o
n from your schools and lives. But they will remember that they caught you readi
ng when you were supposed to be doing your job. They will remember that you made t
he effort to facilitate things that they would be interested in, and you had fun
doing it. They will remember the silly things you dressed up as. And they will
remember that you tried to make the library and the books something that was thei
What
rs.
Its very
does hard
all this
to bemean
generic
for school
when itleaders
comes to
in Canada.
Canada (and
Canada
theisworld)?
anything but gener
ic - we are hugely spread out over a sprawling landmass and we have incredible d
iversity in culture, race, and living situations. We have a rich, and sometimes
painful, history that still spills over into the present. Our schools are equall
y diverse, with students from different countries, different cultures, different
socioeconomic backgrounds, and different living situations. Any suggestions I m
ake regarding alternative ways to approach reading may work for some, but not fo
r others. They may work for you this year with your current students, but not ne
xt year. They may work today with your current students, but not tomorrow! Thats
why I feel it is especially important for school leaders to embody the character
istics that we hope our students will develop someday like perseverance, realism
,While
passion,
specific
open-mindedness,
suggestions may
andnot
bravery.
be entirely successful, there are definitely
different methods to try to engage students in reading, and in this chapter I ha
ve highlighted some that are personally worthwhile, some that seem like they wou
ld be good fits for the schools that I am in, and some that seem to have support
ing evidence to show the positive reading effects for students. I chose reading
with dogs and reading in and around nature because both of these endeavours brin
g me peace, happiness, and help keep me in touch with who I am. I would also hav
e chosen reading on water, but I thought that would be a little bit too difficul
t to implement in schools! I felt that reading in and around nature, as well as
community involvement and reading with Elders, also naturally fit in with First
Nations, Inuit, and Metis values and beliefs. Through reading, we can help creat
e a caring family when students may not have one, and can help them discover who

they are when they may be lost. Both nature and community can be a first, impor
tant step in that direction. Students who are lost may also benefit from authent
ic reading, which may help them figuratively to become who they are meant to be,
or literally when they are lost in a foreign city! Authentic reading opportunit
ies are almost always more impactful than artificially created classroom scenari
os.
I challenge you to make reading meaningful. I challenge you to use some of my su
ggestions on your own and see if you can find some new ways to engage yourself i
n reading. I challenge you to experiment with these suggestions to diversify you
r approaches to reading with your students, and see if any of them benefit from
something new. And, since passion can go a long way in carrying an idea into fru
ition, I also challenge you to find some of your own fresh, new ideas to approac
h reading that you are passionate about. Be bold. Be heartfelt. Be brave. Be an
inspiration.
Reading
1.
Additional
Spudich,
withResources
D.the
Be&aC.
Elderly
school
(2010).
leader.
Welcoming intergenerational communication and senior
citizen volunteers in schools. Improving Schools, 13(2), 133-142. Retrieved fro
m: http://imp.sagepub.com/
This
article shares many benefits of intergenerational reading within schools, a
nd also provides an outline for implementation of an intergenerational reading p
rogram. Their list of steps includes recruitment, volunteer duties, screening vo
lunteers, volunteer recognition, and evaluation. Their suggestions can be used t
o implement various types of reading programs into schools. Also included are su
ggestions
Reading
1.
Chelton,
with
forM.the
other
K.Community
(2000).
intergenerational
(Ed.). Excellence
activities
in library
for your
services
school.to young adults.
IChicago:
found this
American
resource
Library
to beAssociation.
beneficial, even though the layout was less than app
ealing. The book highlights different library based programs throughout the US,
how they are implemented, cost, target reading group, and provides contact infor
mation for further questions. This edition targets areas such as intergeneration
al reading, reading promotion, education support, and information services. Unfo
rtunately, this was the only edition I was able to access through my public libr
ary. There is a more recent version (2008), edited by Amy Alessio, that highligh
ts more recent topics like enhancing physical and virtual spaces, community conn
ections, and services under $100. The 2008 version is available for purchase at
theDuke,
Reading
1.
ALA Authentically
Store:
N. K.,http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=2428
Purcell-Gates, V., Hall, L. A., Tower, C. (2006). Authentic lite
racy activities for developing comprehension and writing. Reading Teacher, 60(4)
. 344-355. Retrieved from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)
This article provides unfamiliar readers with a definition for authentic literac
1936-2714
y and the some research behind it. Duke, Purcell-Gates, Hall, and Tower also sha
res with readers an authenticity rating sheet (Figure 1, p. 347) that was used to
rate the literature in their study, which can also be used to help evaluate the
types of text that is being used with your students. Table 1 (p. 348-50) shows e
xamples of teacher activities that have been rated for their authenticity, and t
able 2 (p. 354) provides reasons purposes for reading and writing about specific
genres. The authors also share general suggestions for ways to include more aut
hentic
2.
Curtis,
literacy
L. J.in(2013).
the school/classroom.
Literacy on the move: A journal for the journey. Readin
g Teacher, 66(5), 372-376. Retrieved from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journa
Though this article is fairly short, I found Figure 1 (Parent Letter With Projec
l/10.1002/(ISSN)1936-2714
t Details, p. 373) to be particularly worthwhile. Most of my experience with par
ents taking their children away for extended vacations involves parents coming t
o the teacher and asking for two weeks worth of homework so they dont fall behind,
or teachers frantically trying to figure out what theyre going to be doing for th
e next two weeks so they can send something along with students (even though tea
chers are sure the homework will not be completed. This assignment, clearly laid o
ut in letter format to the parent, is a welcome alternative to trying to plan ac
tivities for a child who will be away for vacation, while still incorporating li
teracy
Reading
1.
Creative
and
in and
keeping
Stararound
Learning
theNature
tasks
Company
authentic.
- Literacy Outdoors. (2015). http://creativest
This company focuses on supporting and developing outdoor learning and providing
arlearning.co.uk/c/literacy-outdoors/
training and professional development for educators of early years and primary
children. The website is a real find - it is simply bursting at the seams with s
uggestions for reading, writing, talking, and listening outside, as well as link
s to past workshops and blog posts on outdoor literacy. Blog posts include every
thing from turning old books into seed packets to creating poems outside to natu
re Intermountain
Reading
1.
apps with
to learning
DogsTherapy
your Animals:
letters! Pets Helping People. (n.d.) http://www.therapy
This is the first website I stumbled upon with regards to reading with dogs. Whi
animals.org/R.E.A.D.html

le this program is based out of the US, the website provides a wealth of informa
tion, including testimonials of parents, students, and educators, newspaper arti
cles, photos, literacy resources, additional research and results surrounding ca
nine-assisted reading programs, and affiliated programs in Canada. Of important
note is the link to training videos on how to successfully implement a R.E.A.D p
rogram. Mary Jalongo (2005) also has a wonderful, 12-step list, for implementing
a reading education assistance dog program. Jalongo, M. (2005). What are all the
se dogs doing at school?: Using therapy dogs to promote childrens reading practice
. Early Childhood Education Journal, 81(3), 152-158. doi: 10.1080/00094056.2005.
2. Pacific
10522259
Because
Intermountain
Assistance Therapy
Dogs Society.
Animals(2015).
did nothttp://www.pads.ca/
have an affiliate program in Saska
tchewan, I began to wonder about starting my own program. The first step for thi
s is a trained therapy dog. PADS is an organization, located in British Columbia
, that I have personally contacted to start the process of acquiring a therapy d
og for use in a school setting. I was unsure whether or not therapy or assistance
dogs could be used by someone like me, who is not in physical or medical need of
a specially trained dog. Their program does offer trained therapy animals for u
se in a school setting, and is one avenue to go through to being your search. Ho
wever,J.based
Ball,
References
(2009).
on your
Supporting
location,
young
there
indigenous
may be training
childrens
facilities
languagecloser
development
to you.in Ca
nada: A mising
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needs andModern
pro Language Review, 66(1), 19-47. Ret
rieved from:
Cajete,
om/content/120329/
G.
(2000).
http://utpjournals.metapress.c
Native science: Natural laws of interdependence. Santa Fe, NM
: Clear Light
Cambourne,
B. (1995).
Publishers.
Toward an educationally relevant theory of literacy learni
ng: Twenty
her,years
49(3),
of 182-190.
inquiry. Retrieved
The Readingfrom:
Teachttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/jour
Curtis, L. J. (2013). Literacy on the move: A journal for the journey. Reading T
nal/10.1002/(ISSN)1936-2714
eacher, R.,
Dorion,
66(5),
inelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1936-2714
& Lees,
372-376.
J. (2009).
Retrieved
It takes
from: ahttp://onl
village to raise a reader: Reflections
on an intergenerational
mmunity Journal, 19(1),
literacy137-154.
program.Retrieved
School Cofrom: http://www.schoolcommun
Eick, C. J. (2012). Use of the outdoor classroom and nature-study to support sci
itynetwork.org/scj.aspx
ence anddyliteracy
of a third-grade
learning: classroom.
A narrative
Journal
caseofstu
Science Teacher Education, 23(
7), 789-803.
Francis,
A. Thursdays
doi: 10.1007/s10972-011-9236-1
with MacGyver: The benefits of a library therapy dog. Chil
dren andm:L.
Friesen,
Libraries,
http://www.ala.org/alsc/compubs/childrenlib
(2010). Exploring
7(2) p. 50-52.
animal-assisted
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nd therapeutic
Hare,
J.ion
(2011).
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learning.
indigenous
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childrens
of Early Childhood Literacy, 12(4), 389-414.
RetrievedM.from:
Jalongo,
(2005).
http://ecl.sagepub.com/
What are all these dogs doing at school?: Using therapy dogs t
o promoterlychildrens
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Kerka, S. (2003). Intergenerational learning and social capital. ERIC Digest. Re
005.10522259
trievedH.,from:
Lane,
& Zavada,
http://www.ericdigests.org/
S. (2013). When reading gets ruff: Canine-assisted reading p
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MacEachren, Z. (2012). Your brain outdoors. Pathways: The Ontario Journal of Out
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2).
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CBC News Canada. Retrieved fro
White-Kaulaity, M. (2007). Reflections on Native American reading: A seed, a too
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change. 56(2),
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Of Adolescent
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iley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1936-2706
Teacher-Librarians
As
technology leaders
Becoming
in their
andschools,
Being Technology
teacher-librarians
Leaders have a critical role
to play in modeling and supporting the effective integration of technology into
schools. From providing professional development opportunities for their colleagu
es to developing and teaching inquiry units infused with technology to curating
content to support student research, teacher-librarians are technology leaders w
ho aresection
This
at theofforefront
BecomingofandtheBeing
use highlights
of technology
someinofschools.
the ways in which teacherlibrarians are technology leaders in schools and school librarians. As a constr
uction technology teacher Darren Manweiler understands the power of building and
making. In this chapter he presents school library makerspaces and highlights
the research, trends, issues, and practical advice for building a makerspace in
a school library. Dominique Sullivan describes her own experiences with dyslexi

a and explores tools that helped her in her own learning journey. In this chapte
r, she examines tools and technological processes that can support learning for
all studentsisinanschools.
Technology
integral part of any school and school library. As these chapter
s point out, as a technology leader, a qualified teacher-librarian plays a criti
cal role in supporting and promoting the effective use of technology in schools.
The
By
Why
A decline
Darren
SchoolManweiler
should
Library
school
in
toolleaders
Makerspace
use
would
care?
seem
Within
to betoken
a Learning
a shift
Commons
in our relationship to our ow
n stuff: more passive and more dependent. And indeed, there are fewer occasions
for the kind of spiritedness that is called forth when we take things in hand fo
rI recently
ourselves,waswhether
workingtothrough
fix themmyorgarage,
to makefeeling
them.like
(Crawford
I was finally
2006, p.7)
able to org
anize it properly after having moved into the house two years earlier, when I ca
me across a small wooden toy plane that I had built many years ago with my grand
father. I was possibly 5 years old at the time. That plane is special to me fo
r many reasons, but mostly because it was the first time I remember feeling like
I had used adult tools, in an adult way, to create something I was proud of. W
ith the guidance of my grandfather, the pieces were carefully measured and cut,
drilled, nailed, painted and left to dry painfully slowly. Now that I am older,
I am able to see that project as more than just a toy. In the end I was able t
o hold something in my hand that said something about me, about my being able to
follow directions, my attention to detail, and caring enough to take care of th
at
Implane
sure this
from experience
so long ago.established a great sense of confidence for me to draw up
on when I later used tools and worked on projects. So much so, that I now work
as a high school technology teacher specializing in metalworking. My long-ago m
emories of building the toy plane highlights for me the kernels of confidence th
at are likely germinating in my students today. However, I am sadly struck when
I see so many of my students experiencing these feelings at a much older age th
an I remember for myself. Many of my students are building something with a rul
er, saw, hammer, and drill for the first time in their lives at the age of 14.
There are a multitude of reasons for this, including rural / urban densification
of living situations, and the progression of an information based economy (and
promotion of this type of education), but I suggest that there is an opportunity
for schools to create positive confidence-building experiences outside of the s
hop
Experiences
classes,ofandbuilding
still within
and creation
school do
walls.
not need to be with hammer and nail, but
could be of new ideas, or through the synthesis of others ideas in new and uniqu
e ways. Then, by sharing with an authentic audience, foundations of memories of
building and creating would be laid. The opening quote from Crawford (2006) de
scribes the human trend of passivity towards the stuff in our lives, and the inv
igorating spirit within us that can be felt if only we were to create, or fix wi
th our own two hands. He is saying that when people have some influence in crea
tion, change, or improvement, then they have left their mark on the world, and t
here is no denying what has been done a very self-actualizing experience. School
leaders need to care about experiences like these available for students, and i
nvest in means to promote them. The most effective investments are in establish
ing an appropriate library space for staff and student use, central to school cu
lture,
To thoseandwithin
to invest
the circles
in the of
human
teacher-librarian
resources that theory
manage and
thatpedagogy,
space. the terms l
earning commons (or library commons), and makerspace are familiar, but to those on
the outside these terms can be too unfamiliar and misunderstood. A transition h
as been occurring in libraries over the past couple decades because they have ha
d to reinvent themselves. With the emergence of the internet, and associated di
gital / electronic storage and distribution of information, the librarys primary
role as a repository has become redundant. Libraries and teacher-librarians hav
e had to find ways to redefine their roles and offer users a meaningful place to
be, learn, and work. The results of these changes are that libraries have now
also become places to play, collaborate, and build, hence the emergence of the t
erms
I feellearning
like my experience
commons, and
working
makerspace.
with students in a dynamic, creative atmospher
e like the metal shop, where they are free to move, experiment, explore, collabo
rate, and fail, gives me special insight into the importance of reaching every s
tudent with these types of opportunities. I have seen immense growth in confide
nce, self-esteem, and self awareness within students who get the chance to creat
e with their own ideas and hands. Therefore, I think it is important for school
leaders to care about creating learning environments that will promote this typ

e of growth in students, and their learning. By transforming a school library i


nto a creative commons, one that includes a makerspace with the means to explore
, create, fix, and (in some cases) destroy, then wouldnt school leaders be demons
trating that they care? Wouldnt more students transition from passive to active?
This chapter will explore and report on the research and experiences of others
who have implemented makerspaces within school library learning commons, and in
form school leaders of what their role might be in doing the same at their schoo
l.
Canadian
What Do School
schoolLeaders
libraries
Needhave
to been
Know?under pressure for years due to budget cuts
affecting staffing and collections, and administrators considering school librar
ies to be an artifact in the digital information age (Haycock, 2003). Haycock (
2003) continues, and points out the irony of the situation by saying that forty y
ears of research conducted in different locations, at different levels of school
ing, in different socioeconomic areas, sponsored by different agencies and condu
cted by different, credible researchers provides an abundance of evidence about
the positive impact of qualified teacher-librarians and school libraries on chil
dren and adolescents (p.11). There is no shortage of anecdotal, empirical, and r
esearched evidence making the case for supporting healthy school libraries. How
ever, if there is a turn in attitude regarding support, then what should school
leaders consider when developing a modern school library? Schools that still ha
ve
School
the libraries
support andfortunate
means toenough
implement
to still
changemaintain
are answering
collections,
that question.
technology, and
staffing that reflect student needs may be the only hope for those that are not
getting adequate support. It is these healthy libraries that could demonstrate
the potential complement a modern school library can have on student learning.
School libraries that have been able to renovate and re-invent, and demonstrate
improved student learning, will be supporting the argument for resurrecting tho
se programs that have been dismissed and neglected. In 2014, The Canadian Libra
ry Association (CLA) published their recommendations for developing and implemen
ting school library learning commons. This document, Leading Learning: Standard
s of Practice for Library Learning Commons in Canada, provides educators with a
common set of standards for going forward, considers how new technologies impact
education, and calls for a combination of resources, technologies, collaborative
strategies, and physical and virtual learning spaces that support all learners
as they evolve (CLA [Press Release], 2014. The recommendations focus on school l
earning commons and how to best respond to the needs of modern learners with the
When
following
these points
foci: are considered in the same context as Blooms Taxonomy (Bloom, E
ngelhart, Furst, Hill, & Krathwohl, 1956) the promotion of higher order cognitiv
e thinking can be seen. In 2000, Blooms Taxonomy was adjusted (Anderson, Krathwo
hl, Airasian, Cruikshank, Mayer, Pintrich, Raths, & Wittrock, 2001). The follow
ing graphic (Fig. 1) is the original hierarchy (Bloom et al., 1956) along with t
he adjusted
Figure
1: [Blooms
one (Anderson
Taxonomyet1956,
al., and
2001).
2001]. Retrieved February, 2015 from http://
The adjusted taxonomy changed the categories into more active descriptors, and r
www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html#reference
eordered Synthesis to the top level after renaming Synthesis to become Creating. The
reinforcement by Blooms taxonomy of the CLA foci in developing a learning commons
shows the importance of striving to support creativity, creation, and collabora
tion with the resources students need to climb the hierarchy. The old model of
school libraries as places to go for simply consuming information (Remembering /
Understanding) is now transitioning into a place where students can, and should
, more easily become creators and owners of their own content (Applying / Analyz
ing
Explaining
/ Evaluating
and defining
/ Creating).
the concept and scope of a learning commons can become v
ery broad and detailed, but the smaller, specialized makerspace and its associat
ed philosophy is easier to discuss here. A complementary makerspace within a sc
hool library learning commons nicely addresses the seven CLA areas of focus. Ma
kerspaces encourage constructionist learning, that is, learning through our hand
s and mind by creating things (Andrews, 2010; Barrett, 2014; Graves, 2014; Kurti
, Kurti, & Fleming, 2014; Range, & Schmidt, 2014). This is highly personalized,
and allows for the student to initiate the majority of learning. Those familia
r with inquiry learning will see that a makerspace is a perfect platform for thi
s type of learning (Andrews, 2010; Diggs, 2009; Kurti, et al., 2014). The role
of the teacher is simply to support, guide, and facilitate a students discovery o
f concepts. The teacher must be the one who implements a great deal of planning

though, and the majority of this is through the design and layout of the tools,
equipment, and other resources. Kurti et al. (2014) describe this as, teachers
are master strategists considering the army of tools at their disposal - notice
that the students are not the army; rather the tools are the army (p. 8). They
go
In this
on toapproach
say,
the learners are being gently guided by the army of tools - the
educational makerspace - to create their own learning for their own reasons. A
t any random moment, the makerspace may appear to be simply a chaotic melee of s
tudents, tools, and strange creations. However, in reality, it is a well-planne
d design to allow students discover the concepts the teacher intended them to le
arn
It isallalso
along.
through
(Kurti
the makerspace
et al., p.8)philosophy of creation and ownership that stud
ents can correct their suggested lack of connectedness to stuff proposed by Crawfo
rd in Shop Class as Soulcraft (2009). As part of Crawfords discussion on the sep
aration of thinking and doing, he sums up Bravermans (1998) book Labor and Monopo
ly Capital the Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century with the following, [
Braverman] offers nothing less than an explanation of why we are getting more st
upid with every passing year which is to say, the degradation of work is ultimat
ely
Makerspace
Common
a cognitive
themes
Defined
andmatter,
descriptions
rooted from
in thetheseparation
research and
of thinking
literature
fromofdoing
library(p.maker
38).
spaces describe them to be special, focused locations of content creation (Bowle
r, 2014; Graves, 2014; Kurti et al., 2014; Loertscher, Preddy, & Derry, 2013).
Libraries historically have been places where learners went to consume the alrea
dy recorded knowledge of others, but today knowledge is accessible by nearly any
one, anywhere, anytime. The inclusion of a library makerspace within a learning
commons begins to transform the image of a library from a place of knowledge co
nsumption
Makerspace
The
overarching
into
Described
one
philosophy
of knowledge
of a makerspace
creation. is to adapt, respond to, and offer re
sources for creations that the users wish to pursue (Canino-Fluit, 2014; Kurti e
t al., 2014; Slatter, & Howard, 2013). This leaves the door wide open for what
can be included within a makerspace for students, but there are consistent theme
s for reference. The family of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM
) have become educational buzzwords in the past decade after the United States C
ongress initiated an educational focus on these disciplines (Braun, 2011; Kurti
et al., 2014; Slatter et al., 2013; Thompson, 2014), and the movement has since
spread to Canada among educators and private institutions (Lewington, 2014; Barr
ett, 2014). Even more recently, there has been the additional discussion point
that STEM ignores a very valuable required component of discovery, exploration,
and innovation art. The latest incarnation of the movement is STEAM by includin
g art into the equation (Kurti et al., 2014; Barrett, 2014). Kurti et al. (2014
) refer to recent research that suggests that many of the world's best scientist
s use inseparable creative components in their methods of problem solving, and t
hey go on who
Einstein,
to share
is probably
examplesthesaying
most iconic
that, physicist of the twentieth century, wa
s sought after in his circle of influence as a violinist and had a multisensory
grasp of physics rather than a methodical mathematical approach. Another physici
st, Richard Feynman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contributions to th
e field of quantum electrodynamics, has extensive anecdotes in his autobiography
Adescribing
recurring theme
his love
fromofthose
drawing.
who have
(p. 1)already established makerspaces in their s
chool is that the predominant areas of student interest fall within the umbrella
of STEAM. Even within this mostly technical umbrella, the seemingly non-techni
cal skill of literacy is a big winner (Fleming, 2014; Moorefield-Lang, 2015).
This applies to digital literacy of technologies that may make up part of a make
rspace, but it is important to not forget that making is also an aspect of tradi
tional literacy in terms of reading and writing. The art component of STEAM could
have students be part of creative writing workshops, poetry slam presentations,
or similar literacy activities in a makerspace. A great thing about makerspace
s is that they can be tailored to suit multiple literacies (Loertscher, 2013; Hi
nchcliffe
Fortunately& for
Wong,those
2010).
looking to implement a school library makerspace, many hav
e already been created around the world for observing and learning from. The li
terature describing other experiences establishing a makerspace reports that the
re is no cookie cutter formula for creating one, but whether in an elementary, s
econdary, or postsecondary situation, the same basic principles for implementing
a makerspace apply (Canino-Fluit, 2014; Foote, 2013; Kurti et al., 2014; Slatte
r* Observation
et al., 2013).
/ Planning Survey and interview the users to learn what they would

*want
Location
to explore
It should
in a makerspace.
be inviting to enter, comfortable to stay, and have inspiri
*ngFunctional
decor.
Too much planning, or too little can be bad; simply get the space o
*penSimplicity
Engaging
to begin The
itsAtstocked
evolution.
least upon
resources
openingshould
of a makerspace,
appeal to thetheuser
tools
demographic.
should require min
*imal
Flexibility
explanation
The
andresources
supervision.
should evolve and consider beginner, intermediate, a
*ndOwnership
advanced users.
Student ownership of the space and resources encourages student exp
erts to emerge, care for the space, and forces independent solutions to problems
.It is these seven general principles that can be looked at as a framework while
establishing a makerspace. More specific details that may suit individual scho
ol circumstances can be found in the recommended readings section at the end of
this article.
Observers
of makerspaces have noted that the collaborative environment promotes
the intermingling of different user demographics. Makerspaces in public librari
es have seen intergenerational collaboration, and connections establish among th
e user community, that were not previously occurring within the libraries housin
g them (Slatter et al., 2013; Klipper, 2014; Weiner & Weiner, 2010). Experts of
different disciplines meet and discuss ways of collaborating in order to ultima
tely create in ways that neither would have envisioned independently. These same
Through
things implementation
could happen within
of a makerspace,
a school makerspace
school leaders
across have
gradesanand
opportunity
subject areas.
to en
ergize their libraries and entire schools. In doing so, they would be offering
learning opportunities to the students that would be difficult to replicate in m
ost other education models. Makerspaces are well-positioned to support the seve
n foci of the CLAs (2014) Leading Learning, and the higher cognitive domains of t
he revised Blooms educational taxonomy (Anderson et al., 2001). Having spaces fo
r students to pursue inquiry learning of their own choice and design also offers
them an opportunity to develop more than a passive relationship with the stuff in
their world; they would integrate their learning with authentic thinking and do
What paper
ing.
This
can school
beganleaders
by suggesting
do?
why school leaders should care, then went on to p
resent what school leaders should know, and is concluding with suggestions of wh
at school leaders can do, but before going further we should determine who the l
eaders are. Who is reading this paper and recognizes themselves as one of these
leaders being spoken to? It is important to be clear here that there is a diff
erence between leadership, and management; school administrators are not de fact
o leaders. In Leadership from the Middle: Building Influence for Change, Haycoc
k (2010) refers to a description of the contrast between management and leadersh
ip from Michael Gorman as the former is concerned with what is and the latter is
concerned with what will be (p. 1). It is a managers philosophy to maintain the s
tatus quo, but a leaders philosophy to imagine and instigate change. Readers of
this paper, whether they be administrators, teachers, teacher-librarians, or par
ents, could each assume the role as leader in schools. Identifying those who ma
y already be acting as leaders is as simple as finding those who are pursuing po
sitive
The
leadership
change. responsibility of establishing learning commons, makerspaces, and
the associated school culture predominantly falls upon the teacher-librarian. I
n this case, they are who must assume the leadership role if school library cult
ure is to change. Since there is often a hierarchical recognition of the princi
pal as the ultimate leader of a school, teacher-librarians must learn to lead from
the middle. Haycock (2010) describes this as being an intermediary between adm
inistration and the rest of the school community, primarily the teaching staff.
Leading from the middle implies that all those who make up the school community
surrounding the teacher-librarian and library must be connected and brought tog
ether for change to happen. Haycock (2010) presents a definition of leadership
from Chemers (1997) that nicely describes middle leadership bringing others toge
ther: leadership is a process of social influence in which one person is able to
enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task (p.1)
. Teacher-librarians who possess appropriate social dispositions and the requir
ed social currency are well prepared to act as leaders for school change. Schoo
l administrators, teachers, or parents interested to implement library learning
commons or makerspaces should seek out collaborations with the teacher-librarian
.Figure 2: Moving Forward illustrates the intermediary (middle) leadership role t
eacher librarians can play in a school community. It is important when attempti
ng to lead from the middle that support is available, and without meshing with o
ther members
Figure
2: Moving
in aForward
school (CLA
community
- Leading
couldLearning,
mean just2014.
spinning
Retrieved
wheels.March 2015 fro

mThehttp://clatoolbox.ca/casl/slic/llsop.pdf)
school principals are crucial for supporting teacher-librarian initiatives w
ith budgets, personnel, and expectations of curriculum implementation. Often sc
hool administrators are oblivious of teacher-librarian job descriptions, have un
clear understandings of school libraries, and are unable to direct teacher-libra
rians. Leading from the middle is an excellent descriptor in this context becau
se principals very often need teacher-librarians to explain the operations of a
present day learning commons, especially one that incorporates a makerspace (Lev
itov, 2010). The school community is another group who teacher-librarians must
incorporate into their circle of influence, and is made up of school staff, stud
ents, and parents. This group is most influential for advising the teacher-libr
arianaabout
Personal
When
school
Makerspace
howdoes
a learning
not
Experience
havecommons
an established
best reflects
learning
thecommons,
needs ofortheifschool.
it does but n
o specific makerspace, then this is where leadership in the process of implement
ation is required. I have found myself in situations similar to a teacher-libra
rian working to establish a makerspace. My experiences are in establishing make
rspace-like metal technologies workshops at the high school level. I have worke
d to change school culture in terms of attitude and interest regarding applied s
kills, and have also learned what is needed to support students in makerspace ty
pes of learning. I believe there are many parallels between an applied skills m
etalworking classroom and a makerspace within a learning commons. I have found t
hat there are two important elements required to properly implement a learning s
pace like a makerspace: vision and support. After a leadership group has develo
ped a vision, then the details of an underlying foundation of support for a make
rspace and this
Makerspaces
are intended
type of learning
to be user
is needed
owned,instudent
order tocentered,
succeed.and reflect the inter
ests of those who populate it, but students using the space still need to be sup
ported. Without proper supports, any invested energy in establishing the space
can be lost, and the momentum of interest, new users, and general buzz may stagn
ate and fade. This foundation of support is made up of people, place, and the g
eneral
People:
The
human-resource
resources.
Audience andsupport
Technical
network
Experts
for students working in a makerspace is likel
y the most important, and can be subdivided into audience, and technical experts
.Audience - It is my experience as an applied skills teacher that when students
can share their work with others, and it is received positively, their personal
connection with the work is strengthened. I have had very interesting serendipi
tous conversations with students who shared their out-of-school creations and pa
ssions with me. I have learned that students easily become overjoyed when they
have someone listening to them, and have come away from these sharing experience
s wondering if I am possibly the only person they have ever spoken to about thei
r interest. I wonder this because of how exuberantly passionate and appreciativ
e they became. Having an authentic audience that cares for what a student does
reinforces that what they are doing matters (Couros, n.d). In schools, the clos
est most immediate authentic audience is going to be students peers. Fellow stud
ents who share similar interests will lend credence to the imagining, designing,
creating, and learning a student experiences in a makerspace. Some of these st
udent-peers may not be a friend, but rather a new, never before spoken to studen
t in the school. Encounters like these will be facilitated by a makerspace in a
school library that services multiple grades. Teachers at school are the next
group who are accessible to students, and this audience is important for student
s to feel like their work is recognized and valued by adults. Outside of school
there are two groups who are able to assess and offer feedback to students, the
first being their parents. Parents are the earliest audience children get to s
hare their creations and thoughts with as young children, and there is no reason
why this should not continue through secondary school. The other outside of sc
hool audience that students can encounter is found through their technological c
onnections with the rest of the world. Anyone with interests - no matter how es
oteric - can find a similarly minded audience as far as a few Web searches away.
A trained teacher-librarian is perfectly suited for assisting with Web searche
s and the associated information literacy skills needed to find these online aff
inity groups. I have found that an authentic audience is a very important motiv
ator, and for this reason students will be encouraged to visit, and revisit, a m
akerspace
Technical
This
groupExperts
toispursue
crucialtheir
for maintaining
interests. momentum when difficult hurdles, or full-s
top roadblocks are encountered by students. The makerspace philosophy expects s

tudents to question and explore independently (inquiry learning), but this type
of learning nearly always requires some degree of mentoring and guidance. Teach
er-librarians and teachers at school are the closest technical experts available
to students, but they do not need to possess the exact skill-set a student requ
ires. A teacher-librarian can act as the match-maker connecting students to an
outside expert for help, or help with finding Web based support - possibly other
students around the world doing the same work. A support network of technical
experts is important to maintain a healthy makerspace, one that students are awa
re of, know how to access, and feel comfortable doing so. Otherwise, students m
ay begin to regard a makerspace as too difficult to use, and not a fun place to
The second piece that lays the foundation supporting makerspace learning is the
Place
be.
physical space itself. The literature describing makerspaces often places them
within a library learning commons, but this is not a necessity. A makerspace co
uld be successfully set up anywhere within a school if it possesses some basic c
haracteristics, those being that the space is inviting, stimulating, and comfort
able. These may be difficult to establish for all students to feel this way, bu
t it should be easy to establish an atmosphere that suits most students. Someth
ing to consider when setting up a makerspace is, what might suit the boys may no
t suit girls. I have had feedback from girls during my metal shop teaching that
smells, dirt, noise, and a lack of other girls can all be turn-offs for them, s
o thinking about how these details might impact the boys and girls within a make
rspace is important. General tidiness of the space, and a sense of safety is al
so important for appealing to a broad demographic - this can be partially associ
ated with the technical expert that is closest connected to the makerspace (not
necessarily the teacher-librarian). This expert should pay constant attention t
owards establishing the space as being student owned, and enforcing an expectation
of them to care for the tools, equipment, and general cleanup instead of this w
ork falling
General
This
is the
Resources
upon the
final
piece
resident
to theadult
foundation
expert.that will support a healthy makerspace
. The most important resource will be funding, or donations. The acquisition o
f technology, tools, and projects, and maintenance of those tools and projects,
will require ongoing attention in order for students to work and continue their
work without frustration. Frustration from broken or damaged equipment, and del
ay in fixing it, will easily turn students off from using a makerspace, and they
will quickly turn their attention to other endeavours. It is important for tea
cher-librarians to use their connections within the school community to secure t
he resources for supporting a healthy makerspace. If a strong case can be made
to the school principal regarding the potential benefit to all students a makers
pace canmakerspace
Another
make, thenresource
hopefullythat
money
maywill
be easily
be available
overlooked
as itisistime
needed.
that is, the am
ount of time and frequency that students are able to work within the makerspace.
If the space can comfortably accommodate 20 students within an 800 student sch
ool (2.5%), then how does a healthy makerspace serve as many students as possibl
e? Is supervision required at all times? Is there personnel available for the s
pace to operate? A healthy makerspace should be open as much as students demand
, and exceed this if the intention is to grow the culture of a makerspace in the
school. A properly set-up makerspace shouldnt require a lot of marketing, but s
ome broadcasting of the space is often needed to encourage shy, hesitant student
s tothetrybeginning,
In
it out. simplicity of tools and projects is key for attracting the fir
st users. Once the skills and confidence grows among the students then tools an
d project work can grow along with them. This is where a teacher-librarian need
s to be observant of the makerspace and whether it is meeting the needs of the s
tudent users. Even if the teacher-librarian is not technically aligned with the
activities within a makerspace, they should try to anticipate the needs of the
students before even they are aware of future needs. It would be smart for a te
acher-librarian to establish a network of experts to consult with throughout the
So,
evolving
schoollifespan
leaders can
of their
make learning
makerspace.
commons makerspaces a reality by realizing
the teacher-librarian will need to lead, and from the middle of the school commu
nity. Each group within a school community will play some role in concert with
the teacher-librarian in order to realize a makerspace, and the first step is to
agree on a vision. After the vision, then it will be the support network of pe
ople, place, and resources that will take a makerspace from an idea to a center

Canadian
for
What
specialized
doesand
thisworld
all
learning
mean for
school
activity.
leaders
schoolneed
leaders
to educate
in Canada
themselves
and the about
world?learning comm
ons and how a makerspace provides students with unique learning opportunities no
t easily offered other ways. Then, school leaders must decide whether a learnin
g commons and makerspace is a direction of learning that their students should h
ave. If the answer is yes, then they must surround themselves with experts who ha
ve makerspace training and experience to bring together the pieces that make it
A makerspace is simply one component, a piece of a puzzle, that makes up the par
happen.
ts of a larger philosophy of school learning commons, and the learning within.
The philosophy recognizes that libraries that are transformed into learning comm
ons will force engaged student visitors to climb to higher levels of cognitive t
hinking by default; for deep learning to occur, knowing something is a start, se
eing something is better, but the experience of doing is where real value lies.
Students in learning commons who are given the additional makerspace experience
s to learn, explore, build, break, and collaborate for an authentic audience wil
l be at an advantage compared to students who are not. Those who already are do
ers know this, and know that the feelings of this type of learning can not be ex
plained, rather, they must be experienced. Then, an infectious wave begins to r
ise and carry these new doers towards ever more fulfilling making and doing expe
riences. I learned and felt these feelings for the first time as a 5 year old,
working in my grandfathers garage makerspace building my small, cherished wooden ai
rplane; I connected imagination, with tangible product, with emotional sentiment
. The more school spaces are made available for experiential learning, then the
more connected students will be with their thinking, their things, and their plac
e inoftheir
Additional
All
the resources
world. Canadian
listed within
schoolsthe
mustreferences
encouragesection
this. would be valuable for
school leaders to complement what has already been written here. However, the f
ollowing short list shares resources that focus on specific details for starting
Barrett,
Canino-Fluit,
a learning
K. (2014).
commons
A. (2014).
makerspace.
Playtime
School
hacked.
library
Alternatives
makerspaces.
Journal,
Teacher40(3),
Librarian,
42-46.41(5), 2
Kurti, R. S., Kurti, D., & Fleming, L. (2014). The philosophy of educational mak
1-27.
erspaces:
Kurti,
R.ofS.,
part
making
Kurti,
1 an D.,
educational
& Fleming,
makerspace.
L. (2014).Teacher
The environment
Librarian,and
41(5),
tools8-11.
of grea
t educational
kerspaces:
ma part 2 of making an educational makerspace. Teacher Librarian
, 42(1),R.8-12.
Kurti,
S., Kurti, D., & Fleming, L. (2014). Practical implementation of an ed
ucational
pace:
makers
part3 of making an educational makerspace. Teacher Librarian, 42(2)
, 20-24.
It
may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a
comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe
discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity. Calvi
n CoolidgeL.W.,
Anderson,
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Why should school leaders care about technology implementation plans for the ben
efitDominique
By
Technology
dominique.sullivan@sd68.bc.ca
of allisstudent
Sullivan
essential
including
for allthose
learners
with in
special
a digital
needs?era and it can be life-cha
nging for students who live with learning disabilities. While familiarity with a
nd access to technology have been proven to support all learners, from the strug
gling to the gifted, the most dramatic examples of how such technology assists s
tudents can be found among students with learning disabilities. Access to techno
logical advances such as text-to-speech, audiobooks, and adaptive reading softwa
re, can support and radically enhance how such students learn, and enjoy learnin
g. If used effectively, technology is a powerful, life-changing tool for those l
iving with disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, visual perceptual/
visual motor deficits, autism spectrum disorder, and many other learning disabil
ities (Burdette, Greer, & Woods, 2013). However, technology is just a tool and
merely purchasing computers will never solve fundamental issues inherent in our
educational system, just as one cannot buy more pencils and expect a student's w
riting to improve. There are numerous barriers and considerations in the integra
tion of technology into the educational system. Teacher-librarians can and shoul
d be agents of change, encouraging the use of technology by all students in dail
y practice
This
chapterthrough
will draw
a leadership
on personal
roleexperiences
within their
as well
schools
as on
(Johnston,
many studies
2012).writte
n on this subject. As a person living with dyslexia, I am keenly aware how acces
s to technology has transformed and made possible my own educational experiences
. A qualified and practising teacher-librarian, I have become well-acquainted w
ith the research regarding the leadership role a teacher-librarian can play in t
he successful integration of technology. Beyond question, technology needs to b
e in every classroom for the benefit of all, and particularly so that students w
ith disabilities can access the tools they need to succeed, without being single
d out or ridiculed by their peers. Teacher-librarians and educators must advocat

e tirelessly for technology in classrooms and find solutions to overcome barrier


s to technology integration. Every day I see how essential this is in my own wor
k as a teacher-librarian, and also through how technology has shaped my own abil
itymortifying
AExperiencing
to learn.incident
Dyslexia:inMyGrade
Story6 led to my own dyslexia being diagnosed. We were
reading The Hobbit as a class and students were each reading pages out loud. I
was enjoying hearing the book in English because I have always loved stories and
being read to. The teacher called upon me for my turn in a round-robin reading
aloud. I remember getting up and watching the letters jump around the page as I
tried to read. No one intervened on my behalf, no one helped me; I struggled al
one. After the ordeal was finished, I put my head on my desk and I cried. I late
r learned
Since
then,that
technology
stress and
hasanxiety
opened doors
make the
forsymptoms
me and allowed
of dyslexia
me toworse.
make learning a
ccommodations for my unique brain. I have grown to accept my disability and tech
nology has helped me change the way I feel about my intelligence. I no longer co
nsider myself stupid, a conviction that dominated my younger years. Being fluent
in French and English, I see evidence of my dyslexia in both languages, and I n
ow have access to strategies to cope successfully with this. Thanks to adapted
technology, many creative and ingenious learning tools now readily available; th
rough these, my entire process of learning has been transformed. My own experien
ce can, I believe, be helpful to teachers and teacher-librarians supporting stud
ents with disabilities. Consider, for example, the processes I have used in rese
archingIand
First,
researched
writing the
thisarticles
chapter.and considered if there was an adaptive reading
program associated with the article I was consulting, or if I could obtain an
audio version of this source. If I had to read the article, I allowed a lot of t
ime, knowing there would be many hurdles I must overcome. I practiced my reading
during my nine years of university and have committed many words to memory as s
ight words. I have weak phonological awareness due my learning disability and I
struggle to decode new words. To compensate for this, I will look up a word on t
he internet to see if there is a text-to-voice feature so that the computer can
read the new word to me. I will often use the Google translate-listen function i
n both French and in English to read words or sentences back to me. There are ti
mesnext
My
whenstep
I cannot
in writing
understand
this paper
how thewasletters
to dictate
make my
therough
soundsdraft
foundasinI paced
a word.arou
nd my house, or while walking. I used my iPhone and the speech-to-text feature i
In then
Googlesatdocs.
down at my computer, and this was when the most difficult part of the
writing process began. Every day, for this paper and for everything I write, I
thank the inventors of the redline for catching misspelled words because I can n
ow see my mistakes. Sometimes I will sit at my computer and do speech-to-text an
d watch the words go up the screen. I use Google as my dictionary and I have no
idea how Google wrote such good code because the Did you mean correction feature h
as saved me countless hours. I always keep a blank Google tab open to check my
spelling
Yes
For
Googlepaper,
this
during
I didand
the
meanin
writing
that!
any substantial
process. piece of writing, my practice is to downl
oad my roughly dictated and Google-corrected draft into Microsoft Word because t
his helps me catch a few more mistakes with the help of the squiggly red spellch
eck line. I then send my paper to an editor I have hired to help me clear the fi
nal editing
Such
experience
hurdle.
clearly illustrates how technology allows individuals with disab
ilities to take charge of their own learning, once given access to the great pot
ential of a technology-rich environment. All of us involved in the field of educ
ation must recognize how effectively technology can enable learners to adapt to
their preferred learning style and how it allows students to be successful at sc
hool. We all should realize that every student has the right to have accommodati
ons for their learning disability; this is a right guaranteed by the Charter of
Human Rights in Canada. I believe that teacher-librarians and school libraries h
ave a vital role to play in technology integration to create technology rich env
ironments so that every child can flourish. All students need to be given the op
portunity to use technology to navigate the complex process of learning in a kno
wledge-based
As
a teacher-librarian,
society. my disability allows me to understand the needs of every
learner needing access to technology to enhance or enable their learning. I am
effective at my job as a teacher-librarian not in spite of my disability but rat
her, I am good my job because of my dyslexia. Such personal experience cannot, o
f course, be shared by all teacher-librarians, but it does add deep conviction t
o the arguments I shall put forward in this chapter, and a heightened understand

Thisofchapter
ing
the relevant
offers some
literature.
concrete strategies, policy options and a review of the
literature that empowers teacher-librarians and school leaders to navigate the
many challenges they face. The chapter will be divided into the following headin
* What School Leaders Need to Know About Technology Implementation and Ubiquitou
gs.
*s What
Technology
can school
does
resources
this
Environments?
all
should
leaders
meanschool
do(Literature
for
about
school
leaders
technology
leaders
Review)
read
toinintegration?
learn
Canada?
more about technology integ
Why huge
ration?
The
Do School
growthLeaders
in theNeed
availability
to Know About
and accessibility
Technology Implementation?
of digital information ove
r the last few decades has fundamentally changed our society. While modern digit
al technology is in its infancy, it is changing rapidly, and teachers and school
administrators are grappling with how to use this technology effectively as par
t of their daily practice. While modern digital technology changes rapidly, almo
st day by day, teachers and school administrators grapple constantly with how to
harness this technology effectively as part of their regular practice. Many fin
d it very difficult to know what to do. But as recent literature clearly demonst
rates, teacher-librarians are poised to help teachers and administrators bridge
this knowledge gap , and, most importantly, to help all students achieve academi
c success and maximize their human potential. The opportunities open to teacherlibrarians in this regard clearly emerge in carrying out an overview of recent s
tudies into the ways in which students adopt technology, and the challenges pose
d inessential
An
creatingfirst
a technology-rich
step in understanding
environment
howintoschools.
adopt and employ technology in s
chools is to understand the overall pattern of how technology is more broadly ad
opted, particularly in the home. Everett Rogerss (2003) Diffusion of Innovation M
odel examines the rate of technology adoption and how long an innovation or prod
uct will (2003)
Rogerss
take before
modelitdescribes
is foundthe
in chasm
every home.
as the point where early adopters and the
early majority of technology users intercept, requiring leadership and momentum
to reach a critical mass that will carry the innovation to full adoption. This t
ipping point or chasm is where innovation will be adopted or become obsolete. Te
chnology leadership at a school and district level is essential as we enter the
early majority phase of technology adoption. Teacher-librarians are trained as i
nformation literacy specialists and technology integration experts and can becom
e secret agents of change in schools and districts for technology integration (J
ohnston, 2012). Because of this, keeping a keen eye on technology adoption patte
rns2007,
Teens
In
becomes
andthe
Technology
part
technology
of theircompany
function.
Cisco conducted a study (see figure 3) on teen m
edia consumption, exploring the type of media and information accessed by teens
and their daytime usage of technology. It is striking to note, yet perhaps unsur
prising, that the study reports technology use by teens to be lowest during scho
ol hours. While teens may live in a fertile technological oasis at home, they ar
e subsisting
Teens
are capable
in a and
sparse
enthusiastic
technological
earlydesert
adopters
at school.
of technology
(Vasques,
and2014)
as students
they are eager to incorporate their knowledge and enthusiasm into the classroom
(Buckingham,
Yet
while both2008).
students and teachers use technology in their personal lives, the
y all too often face an uphill struggle to harness the internet for learning pur
poses within the school environment (Boyd, 2014). Many students, their parents a
nd business leaders are advocating for schools to embark on the complicated work
of technology integration (BC Ministry of Education, 2013.) Because of the dem
and by stakeholders and the growing digital economy, the education system must p
repare students to fully participate in the digitally literate workforce (Premie
r's Technology Council, 2010). School leaders need to know, and are probably al
ready aware, that this pressure from stakeholders to improve technology integrat
ion in schools will only continue to grow as our use of technology increases at
home and in the workplace. Until the need for technology integration is met, it
is students with disabilities who most acutely lack the necessary tools to suppo
rt and maximize their learning potential, and they are the ones most limited in
school, as well as in their future choice of careers (Fichten, Asuncion, & Scapi
n, 2014).
The
There
Research
is a growing
on Technology
body of research
and Student
detailing
Achievement
the relationship between technolog
y and student achievement. Higgins, Xiao, & Katsipataki (2012) conducted a metaanalysis on the impact of digital technology on academic achievement and conclud
ed that
The
range of impact identified in these studies suggests that it is not whether
technology is used (or not) which makes the difference, but how well the technol
ogy is used to support teaching and learning. It is therefore the pedagogy of t
he application of technology in the classroom which is important: the how rather
than the what. This is the crucial lesson emerging from the research. (Higgins

Fullan,
et
al 2012,
Langworthy
p. 3) & Barbers research (2014) also indicates that the most importa
nt thing about technology integration is not the number of computers a school ha
s, rather how the technology is used to enhance learning. Innovative educator N
ikki Robertson posted a thought-provoking image to Twitter corresponding with th
e data leaders
School
from theand
aforementioned
teachers needmeta-analysis:
to know that technology is a tool that can be e
ffectively used to achieve a learning outcome, but should not become the learnin
g outcome.
With
the growing pressure for technology integration in schools, learning in the
21st century will entail the fundamental and inevitable transformation of the l
earning experience for students and the instructional experience for teachers (F
ullan, Langworthy & Barber, 2014). In an interview with Greg Butler of MG Times
(2014) Fullan described the new pedagogy as any learning solution that could ach
ieve deep learning [and] would have to do four things: it would need to be irres
istibly engaging for both students and teachers, it would have to be elegantly e
fficient and easy to access and use, technology would be ubiquitous 24/7 and it
would be steeped in real-life problem solving (p.13). Only when students, teacher
s, parents and school leaders collectively understand and share the same vision
of technologys role in classrooms in the 21st century can we come together as a c
ommunity
While
thetoinstructional
support technology
role ofintegration.
teachers will evolve in the 21st century due to
the demands for technology integration and differentiated instruction for those
with disabilities, it will never replace guided instruction from a teacher or a
teacher-librarian in either a virtual or physical learning environment. Teachers
and teacher-librarians must be at the forefront, driving this evolution in inst
ruction because technology helps all learners, opens doors for people who live w
ith learning disabilities and other disabilities, makes learning fun, and can he
lp technology
Creating
If
removeUbiquitous
the is
stigma
seenTechnology
ofinaccommodation
such aEnvironments
positive
(Green,
light,2009).
is desired by the stakeholders,
and has been adopted in most homes and workplaces, what is stopping teachers and
students from embracing it? What is preventing them from taking the technologic
al plunge? Two different types of barriers have been identified that the educati
*onInstitutional
Infrastructure
Infrastructure
system must barriers
address
barriers
barriers
for
include
the successful
high speedintegration
access, wireless
of technology:
access and the avail
ability of various devices and products. Educational leaders must be alert to a
ll the pros and cons of technology trends when purchasing hardware and software
for schools, and they must keep up to date with the ever-changing nature of what
is available, and its suitability to their needs. In an era of limited funding
and budget cuts, many schools are reluctant to make large capital investments i
n technology infrastructure (Laferri re, Hamel, Searson, 2013; Fullan et al., 2014
). Institutional barriers include teacher and student perceptions, fear of techn
ological innovation, lack of training in the effective use of technology in clas
srooms, and lack of time.(Johnston, 2012, 2013; Freshwater, 2009; Fullan et al.,
The
2014;
challenges
Loertscher,
faced2010,
by educators
2011; Valenza,
in encouraging
2014)
and acquiring technology adopti
on in order to create a ubiquitous technology environment brings to mind the chi
cken and the egg conundrum: which part of the overall process should come first?
Acquiring the necessary infrastructure or tacking institutional problems? Ideal
ly, both infrastructure and institutional barriers should be addressed simultane
ously to ensure the successful integration of technology in education (Everhart,
For
Mardis,
teachers
& Johnston,
and students
2010).to take the technological plunge, barriers to infrastr
ucture must be challenged and eliminated. Fullan, Langworthy & Barber (2014) des
cribed ubiquitous technology environments as schools that provide students and t
eachers access to a variety of digital devices and digital resources whenever an
d wherever they need them (p. 3). Schools can be considered ubiquitous technolog
y environments and foster early adoption if they have the following infrastructu
*restable
components:
wifi and sufficient bandwidth for classrooms and to accommodate the BYO
*D for
model
wireless
in
classrooms:
teachers:
students:
(bring
printing;
your
laptops
access
projector,
owntoand
device);
technology
sound system,
tablets
that
whenever
connect
digital
andtowherever
camera,
home and
oritschool
smart
is required
board;
wifi; (blend
ed BYOD et
(Fullan
model).
al., 2014; Laferri re, Hamel, & Searson, 2013; Ontario Public School Bo
ards' innovators
While
Association,and2009;
earlyTownsend,
adopters can,
2012;and
Turgut,
often2012;
do, embrace
Vasques,the2014)
frustrations
and setbacks of using technology during the phase of acquiring infrastructure su
ch as wifi and access to devices, a special type of teacher is needed to take th
e risks of trying new pedagogy. Many, if not most, teachers and students will re
quire support in coping with the phase of building infrastructure and the subseq
uent learning journey. Teacher-librarians are ideally positioned to support enth
usiastic early adopters and to encourage others, especially those who are reluct

ant adopters, in their quest to develop the skills needed to meet the demands of
digital literacy instruction. To entice the late adopter to take the technologi
cal plunge, the technology provided must be convenient, easy to use, and make th
e consumer's
In
many schools,
lifethe
easier
school
andlibrary
more enjoyable
(or Library
(Rogers,
Learning
2003).
Commons) is the most te
chnologically rich space in the school and should be the hub for innovation and
learning. A qualified teacher-librarian should be the driving force behind the
Library Learning Commons - acting as the help desk, the technology implementation
house, libratories, and the centre for literacy (Trilling, 2010). The Library Learn
ing Commons is defined as a collaborative physical and virtual environment that i
nvites and ignites participatory learning (Loertscher & Koechlin, 2014. p. 4). T
he library should serve as the resource access point to disseminate digital and
print materials, and to provide access to and instruction in the use of technolo
gical devices in order to meet the educational and personal learning needs of st
udents and teachers. However, even once school districts have resolved the infr
astructure barriers and have created ubiquitous technology environments, much wo
rk remains to be done to engage staff and students in technology adoption and to
*promote
(Johnston,
a lack
the
undefined
its2012,
of
time;
training
support
effective
funding
role
2013;
and
with
or
of
use
Branch
leadership
inconsistent
the
technology
among
teacher-librarian.
& Oberg,
educators.
atfunding;
for
the
2001;
education;
school
Canadian
and the
Library
district
Association
level; (CLA),
2014; Freshwater, 2009; Fullan, Langworthy, 2014; Loertscher, 2010, 2011; Roger
s, 2003; Valenza,
Institutional
barriers
2014)are often the more persistent and difficult barriers to e
radicate
While
institutional
because theybarriers
includemay
thebefollowing
more difficult
diversetofactors:
pinpoint and evidently var
y from school to school, teacher-librarians are uniquely positioned to play a vi
tal leadership role in identifying, addressing and overcoming institutional barr
iers in their school community. If teacher-librarians are given the opportunity
to work toward finding solutions to institutional barriers, they will achieve g
reater success in promoting a culture of technology integration and innovation w
ithin their schools. Teacher-librarians break institutional barriers every day f
or students and teachers by supporting a wide range of technology activities and
by resolving issues that range from the simple to the complex. For example, a t
eacher may genuinely not know how to turn on a new iPad; a student may have an a
dvanced coding question; new software might be completely overwhelming to a stud
ent with a learning disorder. Great flexibility and wide knowledge is required f
Aorlack
a modern
of ubiquitous
teacher-librarian
access tototechnology
resolve such
in schools
a rangecan
of leave
institutional
many innovative
barriers.t
eachers feeling like a carpenter with no tools. When school districts create an
environment and infrastructure to support technology integration, this gives stu
dents and teachers the opportunity to begin their own journey into technology ad
option. However, the education system clearly has a long way to go. The followin
g graph by Fullan and Langworthy (2014) demonstrates the sobering reality of tec
hnology usetoinFullan,
According
secondary
Langworthy
school &classrooms
Barber (2014),
in 2011.only 36% of classrooms in this
study are using technology even for the most basic purpose of "finding informa
tion on the Internet, and most classrooms do not progress beyond this first step
of technology adoption. Only 3% to 15% of the classrooms across the seven countr
ies included in this study engage in high levels of technology use such as devel
oping simulations or creating multimedia presentations (p. 31). This graph highl
ights the educational systems struggle to adopt technology and, consequently, to
prepare students for a digital future. Most, if not all, sources consulted in th
is literature review agree that much work lies ahead for advocates of ubiquitous
learning environments. Defining and tackling the problems and barriers are esse
ntialschools
Technology
Once
stepsIntegration
inachieve
overcoming
a ubiquitous
in the
these,
Classroom
intechnology
order to environment,
move toward new
thepedagogies.
true work of weavi
ng technology into the classroom begins. Teacher-librarians are there to support
this important work because they are trained as technology integration experts
and information literacy specialists who can respond to the learning needs of th
e school. Teacher-librarians are ideally positioned to take initiative in leadi
ng and supporting change in the school community because, as well as being techn
ology and literacy experts, they also have intimate knowledge of their students,
their staff and the curriculum. Smith (2006) asserts that "the research indica
tes the teacher-librarians provide instruction and help students acquire informa
tion and technology skills necessary to succeed in the information saturated wor
ld of the 21st-century and, in schools with best practices library media programs,
the teacher-librarian acts as an innovator, transformation agent, and technolo
gy integration
Despite
deep knowledge
leader" of
(astheir
citedschool
in Johnston,
community
2012,
and their
p. 5).expertise in technolo

gy, teacher-librarians still have a major stumbling block to overcome. Johnston


(2012) elaborated on this, explaining that despite the valuable contributions tea
cher-librarians can make in implementing technology integration initiative, they
remain an untapped resource, due to the undefined nature of this role" (p. 20).
Given this, in order to drive change at their schools, teacher-librarians must
clarify and redefine their role as an information literacy and educational tech
nology specialists, and they must model new pedagogies in a leadership role in a
knowledge-based society (Everhart, Mardis & Johnston, 2010, p.1). In 2009, the
American Association of School Librarians (AASL) released the guidelines for sch
ool library programs, stating that teacher-librarians are charged to play a lead
ing role in weaving such skills throughout the curriculum so that all members of
the school community are effective users of ideas and information (American Asso
ciation of School Librarians [AASL], 2009, p. 49) It is the role of a teacherlibrarian to educate the school community and equip students and teachers with t
he skills necessary in a technological society. With the growing demands of info
rmation technology and the emphasis on life-long learning, the teacher-librarian
can be the classroom teachers most valuable asset for instructional planning. No
longer viewed as keepers and organizers of library material, teacher-librarians
are full instructional partners with classroom teachers (Canadian Library Associa
tion teacher-librarians
Once
(CLA), n.d, p. 2). have clearly defined their role within their school and
their school district, they must go even further by becoming master collaborator
s and by participating in school and district committees to move the learning ag
enda forward, advocating on behalf of all students (Branch & Oberg, 2001). In t
his capacity, they can employ a variety of methods of professional development t
echnology, both formally and informally, to support and lead professional develo
pment in their school communities. The success of a teacher-librarian as a techn
ology integration specialist depends on the individuals ability to form positive
and collaborative
Importantly,
if schools
relationships
are goingwith
to capitalize
staff and students.
on technology as the great equal
izer for students with disabilities, school leaders and teacher-librarians play
a heightened role assisting in the integration of technology in classrooms. Stud
ents with individualized educational plans (IEP) may have accommodations for the
ir learning styles, but in some settings they may not have access to the resourc
es and services they require. Subramaniam, Oxley, & Kodama, (2013) argue that t
eacher-librarians are the ambassadors of inclusive information access for studen
ts with disabilities. And teacher-librarians have much to share. They can recomm
end text-to-speech apps and adaptive reading technology; show students how to st
ructure their thoughts and organize research papers; teach them how to manage an
d organize digital information and harness cloud-based technologies- to name onl
y a few adaptive strategies. These 21st century skills benefit all learners, but
can completely revolutionize the learning process for people who live with disa
When used effectively, technology works as a powerful tool for all students to d
bilities.
eepen their understanding of the world and to improve how they learn. As I know
from profound personal experience, and from witnessing children in the classroom
, it can also act as a transformative tool for those with learning disabilities.
If we fail to implement technological change in the classrooms, we are failing
our students. According to Warlick (2006), we need technology in every classroom
and in every student and teachers hand, because it is the pen and paper of our t
ime, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world (para. 5).
Teacher-librarians
What
School
canleaders
schooland
leaders
are trained
teacher-librarians
do aboutandtechnology
ready
benefit
to integration?
take
notupjust
thisfrom
challenge.
the insights reveale
d in the scholarly literature, but equally from the practical experiences of col
leagues. As a teacher-librarian I know that those of us working to effectively
integrate technology into classrooms learn a great deal from the innovative idea
s and new approaches of our peers, by sharing our various problems, and in discu
ssing solutions. With that in mind, and also with reference to my own learning
disability, I will share a few stories of my own work in the field, using these
as work
My
a basis
in this
for afield
seriesbegan
of practical
in 2010, when
suggestions
I was hired
from into
whichmyothers
firstcan
teacher-libr
benefit.
arian position in a K-7 dual track French Immersion inner city school with 375 s
tudents. I began my job with enthusiasm, a love of literacy, and strong personal
convictions about the importance of technology. I quickly realized that schools
generally do not have the infrastructure to support a technology rich environme

nt. As an educator, I had an uncomfortable feeling that I was not preparing stud
Aents
clear
forexample
the journey
of this
ahead.
arose during my first year as a teacher-librarian, when
I met a student in Grade 7 with a severe processing disorder. It was a tremendo
us struggle for her to get her ideas down on paper. Eventually, she was diagnose
d and given an individualized education program (IEP) and was provided a school
district computer. However, this solved nothing for her without further support.
She refused to use the computer, as she felt ashamed of using technology becaus
e it made her feel different. I knew I had to support a change in culture to mak
e the use of technology and resources more pervasive. For the girl with the proc
essing disorder, her needs were evident to me. She needed to feel that using tec
hnology was normal, an experience shared, even relished, by all students, albeit
in a variety of ways. Every individual learns in different ways at different ti
mes, and I believe that we need to encourage all students to see how technology
can empower them. My hope is that, with greater integration of technology for al
l students, little girls and boys will no longer feel shame for using the tools
they need
Apart
fromtothesucceed.
needs of students with disabilities, the rise of online classes,
mixed with traditional education, provides both opportunities and challenges for
my role in the school. After all, where should online students go to connect wi
th a qualified teacher in person, and where should those students go during thei
r spare blocks? Schools libraries are the essential help desk in a blended educati
on delivery model of physical and virtual classes. Library learning commons prov
ide a space for online and classroom work, allowing students and teachers to con
nect, access resources and develop the 21st century skills they need to succeed
in a digital era. In an ideal world, every school would have a well-equipped tec
hnological environment easily available to students, but few of us live in an id
eal world. I knew I faced serious challenges in trying to establish such an envi
ronment
Getting
In
2010,Started
inI researched
my own school.
the number of devices a school community of 375 would requ
ire to be technology rich. I was interested in creating a library learning comm
ons that would support a ubiquitous technology environment. As an education lead
er, I knew I must look at cost-effective solutions to invest in technology infra
structure. In phase one of my roll-out plan, I focused on creating ubiquitous te
chnology environments through acquiring technology infrastructure which included
the acquisition of WiFi, adequate bandwidth, student laptops, teacher laptops,
projectors, and digital cameras (Elmo) for every classroom. During my initial re
search in 2010, many districts were implementing bring your own device (BYOD) po
licies with positive results. For BYOD to work in my school district, a blended
model of BYOD and school district supplied devices would be required to be a sup
Iport
began
forbyallpurchasing
students fifteen
regardless
laptops
of economic
that were
status.
charged and secured in a mobile
laptop charging cart that was in the library learning commons. This presented s
omething of a conundrum because, as a teacher-librarian, I wanted to provide stu
dents access to resources, but I did not want to spend my time managing devices.
After all, I am a teacher-librarian not a technician. While purchasing school d
evices, I would also remind myself that I am in the business of education, not i
n the business of technology acquisition, though at times this distinction could
become blurred. I knew I was leading a process to enable my school to mindfully
purchase devices in accordance with our action plan about how to use technology
. I determined to contribute my best efforts to this cause even if it sometimes
tookfundraise
To
me out offormythe
comfort
technology
zone. integration plan, I wrote to local businesses an
d asked for corporate sponsorship for laptops. I also spoke to the Rotary Club r
egarding the importance of digital literacy, I presented to the PAC regarding th
e charging cart, and with the childrens help, I organized a penny drive to purcha
se an iPad. The community responded very well, quickly understanding the importa
nce of providing equity and access to technology for students. Generous donation
s poured in and I was overwhelmed by the response from the community. The librar
y learning
Four
years later,
commonsthe
reached
fifteen
ourlaptops
fundraising
continue
goaltoofbe$9,000
a smashing
in under
success
five and
weeks.
are
in constant use. Although we continue to wait for BYOD implementation, we have s
een that a relatively small investment in technology devices can have huge impac
t in creating a culture of educational technology in our schools. In the process
, I have learned first-hand about the barriers schools and districts must overco
me for the successful implementation of a technology roll-out plan. Figure 4, be

low, is a mind map of the barriers I have faced and the considerations I have bo
rnementioned
As
in mind from
above,
2010a blended
2014. model of BYOD policies and district-provided devic
es is recommended for schools to support ubiquitous technology. Equity will alw
ays be an issue for school districts with high levels of economic inequity among
their student populations, and in such context, the implementation of a BYOD pol
icy should be very carefully considered to ensure it does not exacerbate the cha
llengesacquired
Creating
Having
that
a Tipping
poorer
somePoint
students
basic infrastructure,
face (Fullan,myLangworthy
next challenge
& Barber,
was to
2014,
address
p.61).and
overcome institutional barriers. I learned the importance of addressing institut
ional barriers the hard way when I rolled out six iPads for K-3 primary students
in 2013. I collaborated with primary teachers and asked for their suggestions p
rior to purchasing apps. I also hosted professional development sessions on usi
ng iPads for Daily 5 and primary centers. I configured the iPads with phonics, r
eading, math games, creation tools, iMovie, etc. I was ready to go, but despite
my enthusiastic demonstrations, no teachers adopted the technology in their dail
y practice. The key point here is that the iPad project became a success only wh
en I began providing technology integration support to teachers in their classro
oms with students. Hands-on technology training in the classroom is a key dimens
ion to technology implementation, and at first I evidently underrated this. Desp
ite having presented at every professional development sessions for the last thr
ee years, as well as having organized professional learning community meetings f
ocussed on technology, I have come to realize I am most effective when I am work
ing collaboratively with the teacher in a classroom, in a mentoring role with te
chnology. I also know that to work effectively in the school, I must work in clo
se collaboration with the school principal. The unwavering support I have receiv
ed from my own school principal has been a determining factor in any successes o
ur school has experienced in technology implementation. Teacher-librarians consi
stently report that principals can be the biggest advocate for their role and fo
r school libraries, so a strong working relationship between teacher-librarian a
nd principal is essential (Branch & Oberg, 2001). A lack of cooperation between
the principal and the teacher-librarian poses the greatest barrier to a teacher
-librarian
To
create aassuming
tipping point
a technology
in technology
and literacy
implementation,
leadershiparole
point(Johnston,
at which all
2012).
sta
keholders, including teachers, students, parents and school principals are worki
ng toward the same goal takes time, and requires a great deal of patience and ef
fort from the teacher-librarian. As I know, many frustrations can be encountered
on this journey, including funding, time constraints, and attitudinal change. B
ut the resulting change is phenomenally rewarding. The program implemented by th
e teacher-librarian in the library learning commons will offer a blend of techno
logy and print books to support all learners and their preferred method learning
styles. The library learning commons becomes the ship that transports learning
in the 21st century. No one can sail such a ship alone, but it is the teacher-li
brarian stands at the helm, guiding the process of technology integration and de
Working Toward
velopment.
Assuming
a school
FullhasIntegration
achieved a ubiquitous technology environment, what are the
first steps a teacher-librarian can take to support technology integration? Usi
ng students interest and enthusiasm is essential. Just working with students alon
e can create a dramatic shift in a schools technology culture, and I have observe
d how students can drive the agenda for technology adoption. The energy and enth
usiasm of students can be harnessed through classroom activities and also throug
h the development of technology clubs. Having created a variety of such clubs in
my school, I know how students become empowered to enhance their own learning.
*InTech
Teacher-librarians
my experience
Squads: Coding,
Clubs:
theshould
Renew
twoMinecraft
themore
encourage
spirit
effective
EDU,
ofmotivated
audio
andmethods
Genius
visual
classrooms
have
hour
clubs.
beenteachers
the following:
to engage with
their tech-savvy students. When teachers know there is technology help availabl
e at any point of their lesson, from an able and interested student in the tech
squad, they are more willing to risk trying new technology. Student tech squad m
embers, in my school, are available to support technology lessons and to help te
achers in classroom situations by providing support to both teachers and student
*s Acting
during as
Troubleshooting
technology
mentorsprojectors,
integration.
and
providing
DVDs,
The
support
iPads,
dutiesfor
Laptops
ofstudents
tech squad
in other
membersclassrooms
include: durin
*g Leading
Ramsey`s
difficult
(2010)
bytechnology
example
in TheandSchool
lessons.
encouraging
Tech Squad:
peersA Learning Commons Technology Boost st
ates that we cannot recommend enough that every school and teacher-librarian enga
ge students in a technology squad. And, it is not necessary to be an expert in t
echnology to have such a group. Just adopt the idea, I teach youyou teach meand we

Techlearn
all
clubs,together.
in contrast
It to
is tech
all about
squad,collaborative
generally take
expertise
place at(p.
lunch
4).or after sc
hool and are driven by the students own interests. Each session of tech clubs I h
ave offered has been so well attended no seat in the computer lab is ever vacant
. Even given my own technology skills, I have been consistently floored by the s
tudents reaction to my tech clubs, making me even more acutely aware of the stude
nts need for belonging and connection through technology. The popularity of Minec
raft EDU, coding club and Genius Hour has been a key factor in our schools techno
logy integration. When the bell rings after tech club, these tech-savvy students
return to their classrooms and share their passion for technology with their pe
ers and teachers. Almost without conscious effort, these students naturally beco
me technology advocates. They bring their new knowledge back to the classroom an
d ask thequestion,
Without
teacher students
for technology
who participate
rich projects.
in tech club or tech squad feel an im
proved sense of belonging, purpose and connection to their school. As a teacherlibrarian, I know that fostering such tech clubs and squads has proven to be a l
ively and constructive way to get the school buzzing, and to spread the language
Technology
of 21st century
adoption
literacy
is a process
and technology.
and people will come on board at their own pace
, as predicted by Rogers (2003). Change takes time, and staff members and studen
ts will be watching early adopters to assess the feasibility of new pedagogy in
classrooms. It is important for the teacher-librarian to address the worries tha
t some teachers many experience regarding assessment, planning, learning outcome
s and
In
Many
summary
school
resources.
and
districts
lookingare
ahead
on the verge of making large capital investments in te
chnology infrastructure. This is a great time of opportunity and optimism in sch
ools, but is also a time when schools can blunder, sometimes making expensive mi
stakes or suffering from a lack of clear direction in moving toward technology i
Bill Gates famously said technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids
ntegration.
working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important (Gates, n
.d.). Once schools achieve a ubiquitous technology environment, this does not gu
arantee that technology will used effectively for learning purposes. As I look t
o the future in my own school district, I will continue to advocate for ubiquito
us technology in classrooms but I will also emphasize the crucial importance of
providing ongoing support, collaboration and professional development for teache
rs and students. Such support and development must be constantly re-assessed, re
vised, and renewed by teacher-librarians in the system, to meet the needs of the
Each
school
teacher,
community.
each student, arrives in any given school with a unique array of a
bilities, expectations and questions relating to their uses of technology. My j
ob, and that of my peers, is to maintain a vital interest in the subject of tech
nology in the classroom. We must work to keep the subject alive and always open
to scrutiny and improvement, as we continue to lobby to overcome institutional a
nd infrastructure barriers. Teacher-librarians are significant in determining th
e future of our education system and how it can be wisely enhanced through intel
ligentdoes
What
School
usethis
leaders
of technology
allCanada
in
mean for
in school
and
classrooms.
elsewhere
leaders
are discovering
in Canada? and will continue to disc
over that integrating technology in the classroom is an ongoing process. Instruc
tion and support must be made available continually, to all stakeholders, in thi
s ever-changing learning environment. Those leading the establishment of technol
ogy in schools must meet students and teachers at their current technology skill
s level without judgement, and without taking any skills for granted. On the su
rface, students today may look very comfortable with technology, but a closer lo
ok at their technological skills and literacy levels reveals that students frequ
ently require informed and structured guidance in a wired world. Hargittai (2010
) observes that the so-called digital natives of Generation Z are actually digitall
y naive and are not effective user of information and technology (p. 93). Similar
ly, teachers who appear tech-savvy may have deficits in their technology experti
se that
The
rolecan
of the
be addressed
teacher-librarian
with the as
support
a hands-on
of theeducator
teacher-librarian.
in technology integrati
on is forged through creating working relationships with teachers, students and
administrators. When teacher-librarians stand side by side with colleagues and s
tudents, modelling and guiding them through technology integration, only then wi
ll schools move forward in a digital age as a community of learners. Ubiquitous
technology is a worthy goal but it is really just the beginning of a technology
implementation plan. Educational leaders must address the institutional barriers
that continue to plague technology implementation. Well-planned technology inte

gration supports all learners and can create life-changing solutions for peoples
with disabilities. When technology is broadly available, all children can feel
comfortable using tools that will support their learning challenges and foster a
Ilove
believe
of learning.
strongly in the essential role of the teacher-librarian in fostering t
echnological integration into how students learn and into how teachers teach. T
hose of us who are leading campaigns to introduce such change into our schools m
ust meet this challenge head on. Given the revolutionary strides in technology
in recent years, and the ever-changing levels of technology adoption, our work h
as only just begun. We will need to keep our energy high and our eyes on the go
al of improving
Additional
Fullan,
M.,resources
Langworthy,
and enhancing
M., & Barber,
how all M.
students
(2014).learn.
A rich seam: How new pedagogies
The
findauthors
deep learning.
have written
Toronto,
the essential
Ontario: guide
MaRS Discovery
for technology
District.
integration for educ
ators. Topics range from effective teaching with technology, cost of BYOD, curre
nt technology use in schools, global perspective of technology and education to
name a few of the essential reading found in A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies fin
d Deep Learning.
Johnston,
M. P. (2012). Connecting teacher librarians for technology integration
Barriers
leadership.
and enablers
School Libraries
to technology
Worldwide,
integration
18(1), and
18-33.
the leadership role of the t
eacher-librarian are explored and researched by Melissa Johnston. A must read fo
r any teacher-librarian!
Subramaniam,
M., Oxley, R., & Kodama, C. (2013). School librarians as ambassador
s of inclusive information access for students with disabilities. School Library
AsResearch,
teacher-librarians
16. Retrieved
we are
fromresource
http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1012827.pdf
rich educators that help all learners incl
uding those students with special needs. This article describes the resources an
d services that a teacher-librarian can provide to students with learning or phy
sical disabilities.
Freshwater,
C. (2009). The challenges experienced during the implementation of t
echnology-enhanced project-based learning at a new tech high school: A case stud
y (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses data
base. has
There
(UMIbeen
No. a3370133)
great deal of research done on New Tech High School in Napa Cal
ifornia as a model of technology integration. The authors refer to New Tech High
model in their book A Rich Seam and technology leaders should have some backgro
und information
Canadian
LibraryonAssociation
this innovative
(CLA).school.
(2014). Leading learning: Standards of pract
ice for school library learning commons in Canada. Retrieved from http://clatool
Teacher-librarians can use the Standards of Practice for School Library Learning
box.ca/casl/slic/llsop.pdf
Commons in Canada to assess the current state of their school library and creat
e an action
Ramsey,
K. (2010).
plan toThe
meetSchool
the needs
Tech Squad:
of 21stAcentury
Learninglearners.
Commons Technology Boost. T
eacher Librarian, 38(1), 28-31. http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/55124
Students are often overlooked as powerful agents of technology integration. This
745/school-tech-squad-learning-commons-technology-boost
article presents a compelling argument for students to assist technology integr
ationMinistry
B.C.
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(2012).
libraries.
27(1),
Using
43-46.
School
ecological
Retrieved
Library
lens
from
Mon
tohttp://www.schoollibrarymonthly.com/
explore a one-to-one laptop program
integration
learners
in classrooms
in an urban
withmiddle
English
school
language
(Doctoral dissertation). Available fr
om ProQuest
Valenza,
(UMI(2014,
J.
Dissertations
No. 3516837)
Decemberand16).
Theses
SLJsdatabase.
top 10 tech trends 2014. School Library Jou
rnal. Retrieved
Vasques,
J. (2014,
fromMayhttp://www.slj.com/
10). LA is a technology oasis for some, a tech desert for
Warlick,
others.a-technology-oasis-some-tech-desert-others
Retrieved
D.
(2006, May
from22).
http://exploringtech.org/l
Curriculum is dead: 2 worth [Blog post]. Retrieved fr
om http://2cents.onlearning.us/?p=420
Image
Goole
Reference image https://bdanewtechnologies.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/01
micorphone
Nikki Robertson posted the following image to twitter:
2appsspeech.png
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BPVUECjCQAEHCGb.jpg:large
Teacher-Librarians
The
final section brings
Becoming
us back
and Being
full-circle
School to
Leaders
the leadership role of the teach
er-librarian. In this section, we see specific examples of teacher-librarians tak
ing on specific challenges in their school community. This final section of Beco
ming and Being highlights further ways in which qualified teacher-librarians can
InbeChapter
and are9,school
Jennifer
leaders.
Lunnyshares her own experiences with and the research ab
out Professional Learning Communities. She also highlights the role of the teac
her-librarian in school improvement as leader in professional development. Shee
na Hushagen explores instructional leadership with a new twist combining the rol
e of the Vice Principal and Teacher-Librarian into one position. She presents t
he research about instructional leadership and presents a compelling argument as
to why a teacher-librarian is the perfect person to take on this role in school
s.Qualified teacher-librarians, those with graduate level training in teacher-lib
rarianship, are uniquely situated to be leaders in their schools. With experience
and training in all aspects of teacher-librarianship, including technology, res
ources, inquiry, and literacy, teacher-librarians are school leaders and the cha
pters in this section, together with all the chapters in this book, provide a gl
impse into the ways in which teacher-librarians are becoming and being school le
aders.
When Teachers Become Learners: The Role of Teacher-Librarians in School Wide Pro
fessional
By
WHY
jenlunny@gmail.com
Only
Jennifer
SHOULD
the organizations
Learning
SCHOOL
Lunny LEADERS
Communities
that
CAREhave
ABOUT...?
a passion for learning will have an enduring inf
--Stephen
luence.
My
job wasCovey
gone. After seven years of teaching English and social studies at a
secondary school on Vancouver Island, declining enrollment and budget cuts meant
I was losing my beloved classroom. I spent the spring of 2011 with a pit of de
spair in my heart as I considered my job prospects. I reluctantly considered a
graduate degree in Special Education knowing that I would likely need to give up
my love for teaching the humanities. In the meantime, I accepted a job teachin
g at our districts distributed learning centre. Yes, it was a job, but it took m
e away from the daily face-to-face interactions with students on which I thrived
.When a close colleague approached me with information about the teacher-libraria
nship graduate degree she was finishing at the University of Alberta, my curiosi
ty overtook my concern about job postings. I began researching the changing lan
dscape of school libraries and learned that a twenty-first century library is no
longer simply a repository for books, but a centre for connection and collabora
tion. A teacher-librarian is a literacy expert, a learning specialist, an educa
tional technologist and a partner in instructional design. My discovery of the m
any roles of a contemporary teacher-librarian sparked a new interest. The endin

g of my classroom position turned into the beginning of my reinvention as a teac


In the fall of 2011, I rolled the dice. I knew there would be far more jobs com
her-librarian.
ing up in Special Education, yet I enrolled in the teacher-librarian program at
the University of Alberta. The initial course I took was a transformative learn
ing experience: we were asked to dive into newly emerging Web 2.0 tools and blog
about them. The point wasnt so much about mastering a specific tool as it was a
bout moving out of our comfort zones and jumping headfirst into the discovery pr
ocess. Most of the courses that followed emphasized the same themes of inquiry
and gamble
The
professional
in my choice
growth.of graduate programs paid off a year later when I rejoin
ed the school I had left a year earlier, this time as a teacher-librarian. The
last three years have been characterized by ongoing learning, whether it be on t
he job, through my coursework, and perhaps, most importantly, from the community
of learners that has developed around me. The revelation that learning has no
endpoint
It
is serendipitous
is one of the
thatmost
my personal
rewardingshift
take-aways
towardsofcontinuous
my graduateimprovement
degree. is bei
ng mirrored by the change taking place at my school. The arrival of a new princ
ipal last year heralded a new focus on best practices for student and teacher le
arning, including the development of a staff wide professional learning communit
y (PLC) that is being implemented this spring. When my principal called for vol
unteers to develop our professional learning model, I jumped at the chance, not
only because of my own interest in the topic but because it closely aligns with
the role of the teacher-librarian to be a key support for staff learning and col
laboration. Our group has spent the fall debating how to proceed, presenting ou
r proposal to staff, students and parents, and working their feedback into our p
With economies now driven by knowledge and innovation, our students must learn a
lan.
wide range of skills and be able to continuously adapt them (Organization for E
conomic Co-operation and Development, 1996). Educators must, therefore, accept t
hat the factory-model classroom where one size fits all is no longer feasible.
As I look around at the many students in my library using their smartphones, it
is obvious that schools are at a critical juncture of either revitalization or i
rrelevancy. The required shift in schools cannot be left to chance or small nic
hes of keen teachers who squeeze in a lunchtime meeting to discuss a new educati
onal theory. School- and district-wide PLCs offer the most sustainable hope for
Teacher-librarians
developing capacityareamongst
poisedteachers
to support
to schools
inquire,asreflect,
they transform
integratetoand
meetapply.
the 2
1st century needs of students and teachers. Yet, as we stand on the verge of la
unching a PLC at my school, I admit I am somewhat intimidated. Are we going to
get this right? What if we have misread the willingness of our staff? What if o
ur first collaborative session falls flat? What should my role be as a teacherlibrarian? What are other teacher-librarians doing to support their schools PLCs?
What does the research say about building successful PLCs and what is the role
of teacher-librarians within it? This chapter will explore the research and pra
ctice of building successful PLCs in schools and the role of the teacher-librari
an andDoes
WHAT
Without
--Andreas
What
Although
DOother
SCHOOL
evidence,
the
aSchleicher,
Professional
school
idea
LEADERS
youleaders
of
professional
are
OECD
NEED
Learning
just
in another
TO
thatlearning
KNOW
Community
process.
ABOUT...?
person
communities
Look
withLike?
an opinion.
(PLCs) seems to be the la
test bandwagon in education, the idea can be linked back 25 years to Senges (1990
) The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Writ
ten for a corporate audience, Senge (1990) outlined a model of five inter-relate
d disciplines for organizational growth such as shared vision, continuous learni
ng, team learning and developing new orientations. In order for an organization
to thrive, Senge (1990) called for a fifth discipline which is systems thinkingthe ab
ility
In
thetodecade
see the
following
interconnectedness
Senges influential
of the other
book,four
a wealth
disciplines.
of academic literature
was published about continuous learning for teachers within PLCs. Kruse and Lou
is (1993) identified fifteen dimensions of PLCs which they divided into three ca
tegories: characteristics, structural conditions and human/social resources. In
terms of the characteristics of a PLC itself, (1) reflective dialogue is the ab
ility of teachers to be self aware of their teaching practices and to participat
e in meaningful conversations about them. (2) Collective focus on student learn
ing means that the professional learning communities direct their energies towar
d actions that will increase students' intellectual development rather than acti
vities that simple engage students . (3) Deprivatization of practice is an esse
ntial ingredient of PLCs in that it calls for teachers to share what is going on
within their separate classrooms. (4) Collaboration is the sharing of expertis

e, but it is also teachers coming together to problem-solve and provide mutual s


upport . (5) finally, shared values and norms pertain to the idea that members
of a PLC have common beliefs and understandings about students, teaching and lea
Although these five characteristics must be developed amongst the teachers in a
rning.
PLC, there are another five school structures that need be in place (Kruse & Lou
is, 1993). (1)Teachers need time to meet within the school day. (2) Physical sp
ace must be allocated for collaboration. (3) PLCs require formal opportunities t
o team teach and plan instruction. (4) Teachers need to be empowered to make de
cisions about what benefits their students. (5) PLCs need communication methods,
which in 1993 consisted of email and meetings, but today could be augmented by
textingresource
Human
and social
management
media. is also essential: five final conditions should be in
place (Kruse & Louis,1993) . (1) The school organization needs to be comfortable
with and appreciative of teachers who are willing to take risks in terms of cha
nging their practice. (2) Trust and respect within the PLC and between the PLC a
nd its stakeholders are essential. (3) Principals need to maintain the vision fo
r the PLC and remain focused on school improvement. (4) A strong sense of commun
ity must be created in order to perpetuate norms and beliefs, particularly among
st new members. (5) Last, but not least, the teachers in the PLC need a strong i
ntellectual
Dimensions
Reflective
Characteristics
Collective
Deprivatization
Shared
Collaboration
Structural
Time
Physical
Interdependent
Teacher
Communication
Human/Social
Openness
Trust
Supportive
Cognitive/skill
Socialization
Figure
toand
values
1.
meet
empowerment/school
proximity
to
respect
Adapted
ofimprovement
Dialogue
focus
Conditions
leadership
grasp
and
Resources
the
and
structures
teaching
ofdiscuss
base
onfrom
ofpractice
Professional
norms
student
their
Kruse,
roles
profession.
autonomy
learning
S.Community
D., & Louis, K. S. (1993). An Emerging Framewor
k for Analyzing School-Based Professional Community. Paper presented at the Annu
al Meeting
DuFour
and Eakers
of the American
(1998) Professional
Educational Learning
Research Communities
Association,atAtlanta,
Work brought
GA. the to
pic of PLCs out of research circles and into schools. Much of their description
of the characteristics of PLCs overlapped with the work of Kruse and Louis (199
3), but this book concentrated on practical implementation. DuFour and Eaker (1
998) point out that each part of the phrase professional learning community has be
en carefully selected. A professional is an expert who is expected to remain curr
ent , while learning connotes a persistent state of curiosity and study and, final
ly, community suggests a group with shared interests (DuFour & Eaker, 1998). If a
PLC is to be successful, the attitudes and actions of the hierarchy within the
school
If
teachers
district,
encourage
from students
teacher totosuperintendent,
become lifelongare
learners
critical.
but provide no eviden
ce of their own intellectual curiosity, if principals extol the virtues of colla
boration but use autocratic leadership styles, if superintendents advocate innov
ation and risk-taking but punish those whose experiments fail to produce the des
ired results, then the incongruity between words and actions will inevitably res
ult inprovide
PLCs
cynicism.
a way(Dufour
forward& from
Eaker,the1998,
industrial
loc. 1057)
model of education to a new parad
igm for learning and teaching that integrates participation, inquiry and innovat
ion,Effective
How
PLCs
but aitmeans
are
isare
a to
demanding
Professional
an end:model
theyLearning
thatcreated
are
requires
Communities?
anda sustained
full team for
effort.
the sole purpose
of enhancing teacher effectiveness for the benefit of our students (Bolam, McMah
on, Stoll, Thomas & Wallace, 2005). The next natural question, therefore, is wh
at do is
Impact
There
weonsubstantial
know
Teachers
about the
evidence
impactthat
of PLCs
PLCsonhave
teachers
a positive
and students?
influence on teachers in
a variety of ways (Baron, 2005; Bolam et. al, 2005; Hord & Sommers, 2008; Talbe
rt & McLaughlin, 2002; Vescio, Ross & Adams, 2008). The establishment of a PLC
contributes to a fundamental shift in the habits of mind that teachers bring to t
heir daily work (Vescio et al., 2008, p. 84). PLCs increase teacher participatio
n in collaborative activities, increase their focus on student learning, increas
e their sense of being involved in school related decisions and promote ongoing
teacher learning (Vescio et al., 2008). Research also indicates that when schoo
ls form PLCs, teachers and administrators feel less isolated, demonstrate more c
ommitment to school goals, gain a deeper understanding of their teaching area, i
mprove their ability to differentiate instruction and have fewer absences (Hord
and Sommers, 2008). When collaborative activities focus on instruction, teacher
s tend to develop higher expectations of their students, innovate more readily a
nd increase their commitment to teaching (Talbert & McLaughlin, 2002). It is li
ttle surprise, then, that teachers report that collaboration with colleagues is
the best
Impact
There
isonconsiderable
professional
Students
development
evidence
thatavailable
when teachers
(Baron,focus
2005).
on learning and collabor
ation, there is a ripple effect for students. Bolam et. al (2005) found a posit
ive link between student growth and achievement and the extent of teacher involv
ement in PLCs. This became particularly evident in secondary schools where highe
r student achievement was correlated with schools that had more support for prof
essional learning (Bolam et. al, 2005). There are many other studies that confi

rm the connection between PLCs and student achievement. For example, Strahan (2
003) concluded in a three year study of three elementary schools in North Caroli
na that teachers and administrators attributed the significant improvement on st
ate test scores for low-income and minority students to the strengthening of PLC
s. Similarly, Hipp, Huffman, Pankake and Oliver (2008) examined two similarly s
ized schools with very different student populations in terms of ethnicity and s
ocioeconomic status. Both schools were fully engaged in the culture of PLCs and
the study determined that high student achievement on state tests was the resul
t of teachers being coordinated in their commitment to their own learning and st
udent learning. Finally, Williams (2011) determined in a pre- and post-impleme
ntation study of a PLC model in a large urban school district in Texas that stud
ent achievement in reading and math improved as the result of implementing PLCs.
Vescio et al. (2008) concluded that the collective results...offer an unequivoc
al answer to the question about whether the literature supports the assumption t
hat student learning increases when teachers participate in PLCs. The answer is
Concerns
While
a resounding
theabout
evidence
and
PLCsencouraging
about the impact
yes (p.
of PLCs
87). is very encouraging, we must also ac
knowledge that PLCs operate at different levels of development and effectiveness
. Joyce (2004) indicated that many attempts to form effective learning communit
ies within schools have failed because the culture of isolation has proven too d
ifficult to overcome. In fact, Joyce (2004) suggested that many teachers choose
their career because they are able to work alone. Fullan (2006) worried that e
ducators are grouping themselves in so-called PLCs without engaging in deep lear
ning. He also worried that PLCs will be treated as a fad that will soon be disc
arded in favour of a new trend: [c]ollaborative cultures are ones that focus on b
uilding the capacity for continuous improvement...they are meant to be enduring
capacities, not just another program innovation (Fullan, 2004, p. 1). Little (199
0) noted that without formal structures in place for the PLC, the collaborative
groups can, ironically, end up providing support for carrying on with the status
quo. The research on the pitfalls surrounding PLCs reveals that schools need
to plan carefully in terms of reculturing the school environment and creating an
How
The
Teacher-librarians
effective
Can Teacher-Librarians
Teacher-Librarians
framework.
are well-placed
RoleSupport
in School
Professional
within
Improvement
a school
Learning
to helpCommunities?
build capacity for co
ntinuous improvement (Hughes-Hassell & Harada, 2007; Gilmore-See, 2010). Teache
r-librarians are in a unique category of teachers in that they have a wide view
of the school rather than close up familiarity with a specific class as would a
classroom teacher (Gilmore-See, 2010). Hughes-Hassell and Harada (2007) state t
hat, in addition to a wide angle perspective, teacher-librarians are the connois
seurs of collaboration within a school which positions them to act as change age
nts. After all, collaboration with fellow teachers is the foundational piece of
any successful library program. Hughes-Hassell and Harada (2007) also point out
that it is the job of all teacher-librarians to participate in continuous learn
ing; thus, teacher-librarians see growth and change as a regular part of being a
n educator. Superintendent Chris Kennedy (2011) picked up on this idea in his b
log when he wrote teacher-librarians have transformed what they do to stay releva
nt and ahead of the curve (para. 9), and thus, the teacher-librarian is often key
in moving the learning agenda forward (para. 5). When teacher-librarians take a
central role in the development of a PLC, they have the opportunity to focus the
ir training and experience on a co-ordinated and sustainable plan to move the sc
hoolPlace
The
Teacher-librarians
forward.
for Teacher-Librarians
are assuming multiple
in Professional
roles within
Learning
PLCsCommunities
(Hughes-Hassell, Bras
field & Dupree, 2012; Dees, Mayer, Morin & Willis, 2010; Dupree, 2012). Hughes1Hassell
Description
Role
2Gathers
3Provides
4Aligns
5Partners
Facilitates
LCTSIeader
nformation
taff
eacher
ritical
Developer
both
etwith
&current
ongoing,
Friend
Collaborator
al.
Specialist
library
discussion
individual
(2012)
research
focused
instruction
identified
about
onsupport
teachers
teaching/learning
data,
&eight
for
instructional
to
student
examine
building
potential
growth,
what
for
capacity
partnerships
functions
the
is
assessment
and
group
what
aswith
described
is
and
not
learning
critical
working
below:
goals
instr
6uctional
7Engages
8Continually
Promotes
Figure
SLRtudent
esearcher
earner
2.Advocate
inwhat
issues
action
Adapted
Investigates
is best
research
fromforHughes-Hassell,
research
students
in partnership
about S.,
learning
with
Brasfield,
other
and librarianship
teachers
A., & Dupree, D. (2012).
Making the Most of Professional Learning Communities. Knowledge Quest, 41(2), 30
In Brasfields (2011) survey of American Society of School Librarians, respondents
-37.
indicated they most frequently performed tasks involving the role of informatio
n specialist and least frequently performed tasks related to staff developer. D
ees et al. (2010) took a closer look at the teacher-librarians opportunity to tak
e on the role of leader within a PLC. When teacher-librarians provide colleague
s with in-service training on the integration of technology, take the lead in te
rms of promoting resources, and share innovative teaching strategies, they simul
taneously meet the standards of a 21st century teacher-librarians as well as cre

ate opportunities to act as an instructional partner. Dupree (2012) discovered


that the softer skill of relationship building was essential in building her tea
cher-librarianship role within a new school that emphasized PLC participation. B
ecause the pressure of improving results created staff stress, she used gentle a
nd informal conversations to seek out collaborative opportunities (Dupree, 2012)
. She also realized that being a good listener strengthened [her] position and t
aking small steps became [her] mantra (Dupree, 2012, p. 16). The research and re
flections indicate that teacher-librarians find their place within a PLC through
Teacher-Librarian
Learning
their both
leaders
expertise
realize
as Learning
andthat
theirschools
Leader
interpersonal
encourageskills.
growth not only amongst students
, but amongst staff as well (Harada, 2010). Haycock (2010) reminded us that, al
though it is desirable for school administrators to be learning leaders, those i
n the centre of an organization are also situated to develop a culture of change
. As experts in inquiry-based learning, teacher-librarians are positioned to st
ep forward as learning leaders by engaging their peers in a thoughtful investiga
tion into the learning going on for students and what can be done to improve it
(Harada, 2010). Harada (2010) provided a snapshot of two teacher-librarians who ar
e together leading a PLC that addresses problem solving for students. They are
taking the lead within this group in terms of stimulating inquiry, creating goal
s, valuing team member contributions, analyzing results and deciding on next ste
ps. Sam, one of the teacher-librarians, concluded that she and her co-librarian
act as cheerleaders, coordinators, and catalysts (Harada, 2010, p. 24). These th
ree Cs encapsulate the leadership role teacher-librarians can take within learni
ng communities, and, as such, they capture the goals I hope to achieve in the PL
C about
WHAT
To
serve
CANtolearners
SCHOOL
take LEADERS
offtoday
in mywe
DOown
ABOUT...?
need
school.
adaptive experts working in schools with high ad
aptive
-Getting
The
Helen
implementation
capacity.
Underway
Timperley of our schools PLC took months of preparation. In October of
2014, planning began in earnest when our principal asked to meet with teachers i
nterested in forming an open Learning Team to make the much-discussed idea of coll
aborative time a part of our school's timetable. He came to the meeting with t
wo of Kruse and Louiss (1993) key structural conditions for successful PLCs in mi
nd: time and space. Our principal proposed that the block rotation start late e
very Wednesday, with the first 80 minutes of the school day reserved as a Flexib
le Learning Block for both students and teachers, thereby shortening the blocks
that follow to 60 minutes rather than the regular 80. 25% of our teachers would
rotate out of the PLC each week to supervise students. Because of the rotating
supervision, teachers, educational assistants and classrooms would be available
in every major subject area to support students during the flex block. Attenda
nce would be mandatory for grade 8s and students who were identified as falling
behind. All other students would be encouraged to attend, but it wouldnt be man
datory. They could choose to participate in an academic area or in gym, shop, c
lub time or even cooperative board games in the multi-purpose room. The library
would also be open for quiet work or reading. The remaining 75% of teachers no
t assigned
Our
principals
to supervision
idea of having
wouldboth
participate
studentsinandthestaff
PLC.engaged in a Flexible Learn
ing Block was a new concept for our Learning Team, as every other school distric
t with PLCs that we investigated were using an early release model where student
s go home early once a week or once a month to make time for teacher learning.
Questions arose about unknowns: how many students would choose to attend the Fl
exible Learning Block? How would we coordinate this? We also realized, however
, that a flexible learning space in our timetable fits perfectly with the BC Edu
cation Plan (BC Ministry of Education, 2015) which states that the key focus is p
ersonalized learning where students have more opportunity to pursue their passio
ns and interests (p. 1). Flex Learning gives students ownership over their learn
ing main
The
choices
taskwithin
of thea Learning
supportiveTeam
environment.
was to work with administration to design a p
roposal for the framework of the PLC. The trick was to come up with a plan that
would offer flexible and self-directed learning for staff, but would also maint
ain some structure and cohesiveness. After much debate, we decided on a three-f
old approach. First, our PLC would consist of Collaboration during which time t
eachers would group according to self-selected topics such as inquiry-based lear
ning, assessment strategies or integration of technology. Teams would be open an
d fluid. Second, we would include a Professional Book Study element in our PLC
by suggesting a number of influential educational titles and asking that each te

acher sign up according to his or her interest. Finally, we would round out the
PLC with Whole Staff Learning based on the idea that we would come together as
a large group to discuss and move forward on critical issues facing the entire s
Our next move was to put forward our proposal to the entire staff and to the Par
chool.
ent Advisory Council (PAC). The Learning Team presented the major components of
the Flexible Learning Block and PLC framework during the November staff meeting
which included an online survey to be completed in the coming days. The survey
queried teachers about their interest in each component of the proposal as well
as their overall enthusiasm for moving ahead with it. The responses to the sur
vey showed that the great majority of teachers were either interested or very inter
ested in all three components of the PLC framework, with collaborative time being
the aspect of the PLC that teachers favoured most. In terms of their willingne
ss to move ahead, 62% of respondents indicated Lets Go! with another 28% of staff i
ndicating This is probably a good idea. As a result of the survey input, the Lear
ning Team revised the PLC model to double up collaboration time. Around the sam
e time that the Learning Team presented to staff, our principal presented to PAC
. After some initial questions and clarifications, they were very supportive of
the revision of our timetable to add in a Flexible Learning Block. They liked
the idea that students were involved in this new learning model and they were es
pecially
In
terms of
intrigued
my personal
by therole
titles
during
suggested
the planning
for thephase
professional
of the PLC,
bookI found
study.mysel
f wearing multiple hats. Referring back to Hughes-Hassells et. als (2012) eight po
tential functions of teacher-librarians within a PLC, I took on the roles of bot
h staff developer and leader, along with the other members of the Learning Team, as
we hammered out the details of the Flex Learning Block and the elements of the P
LC. I functioned in the role of information technologist when I researched and su
ggested the
Stepping
outside
five the
titles
functions
that wedescribed
proposed by
forHughes-Hassell
the book study.et. al (2012), I also
took on the role of organizer by turning the teams ideas into presentations, creat
ing and distributing surveys, as well as compiling the resulting data. In the p
rocess of sharing staff feedback with administration and, vice versa, sharing ou
r principals ideas with staff, I found myself operating in that middle layer of s
chool support in terms of forwarding the schools learning agenda that Kennedy (20
11) calls
Figure
3. the
FromJust
Kennedy,
in Time
C. (2011,
solution.
May 23). My take on librarians. Retrieved fro
m http://cultureofyes.ca/
Spirals
Several
of Inquiry
members
of the
Framework
Learning
2011/05/23/my-take-on-librarians/
Team, especially the ones who have done postgrad
uate work, including our principal, have been strongly influenced by Halbert and
Kasers (2013) Spirals of Inquiry: For Equity and Quality. This handbook offers
a framework for using inquiry and evidence to create and sustain effective teach
ing practices.
Figure
4. From Halbert,
The spiral
J.,has
& Kaser,
six stages
L. (2013).
to guide
Spirals
schoolofimprovement.
inquiry: For equity a
nd quality.
Overlapping
Scanning
Collect
Where
Focusing
Gain
Developing
Whats
Invite
New
How
Draw
Taking
What
Support
Have
Checking
Agree
Figure
Professional
and
isahead
clarity
on
will
we
are
leading
students
Action
5.
agoing
where
theory
those
made
variety
we
aof
Adapted
Vancouver,
Stages
going
about
Hunch
ado
ontime
will
who
todifferently?
and
big
and
for
Learning
rich
this
are
ofon
to
the
we
research
enough
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our
the
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learn
trying
BC:
data
problem
situation?
evidence
Halbert,
learners?
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difference?
BCto
our
more
out
Principals'
to
tell
to
mobilize
attention?
sources.
ofHow
offer
about
new
J.,
bethe
Inquiry
addressed.
&practices.
are
their
what
Kaser,
astory.
& to
we
plan.
Vice-Principals'
contributing
insight.
L.do?(2013). Spirals
to it?
Association.
of inquiry: For
equity and quality. Vancouver, BC: BC Principals' & Vice-Principals' Associatio
n.
Halbert and Kaser (2013) state that professional learning implies an internal pro
cess in which individuals create professional knowledge through interaction with
new information in a way that challenges previous assumptions and creates new m
eanings (p. 64). The values that underscore Halbert and Kasers (2013) framework c
losely aligns with what motivated us to create a PLC at our school to begin with
. Because their model creates structure and forward momentum, we are planning t
o use Spirals
January
Implementation
was busy
of in
Inquiry
terms(Halbert
of coordinating
& Kaser,the
2013)
details
to guide
of the
ourFlex
PLC.Learning Block
which was planned for implementation in the first week of Semester 2. The four
component rotation of the PLC needed to be juggled against the four week superv
ision schedule to ensure teachers didnt miss the same session every month. The b
ook study books needed to be ordered and distributed. Students attended grade-w
ide assemblies to learn about the purpose of the Flex Learning and what the expe
ctations would be. At the January staff meeting, teachers brainstormed norms an
d topics for collaboration and gathered into loose groups. In the final week of
January, grade 8 teachers starting using a shared Google spreadsheet I designed
to assign their students each Wednesday to math/science support, literacy suppo
rt, gym, shop, a girls group run by peer counsellors, library or cooperative boar
d games. Finally, the Learning Team had to prepare for the first PLC session fo
r teachers,
With
much nervous
which anticipation,
was designatedthe
as Flexible
a Whole Staff
Learning
Learning
Blocksession.
on Wednesday morning
s kicked off at the beginning of February. As the vice-principals and supervisi
ng teachers guided students to various learning areas, the principal met with th

e rest of the teachers to explore the first stage of Halbert and Kasers (2013) sp
iral: what is going on for our learners? We broke into groups to study and disc
uss various pieces of data such as our provincial exam results, grade to grade t
ransitions, six year completion rates and more. Perhaps most surprising were th
e results of an adolescent health survey that revealed a larger number than expe
cted of our students are battling anxiety and depression. We left this session
with a big picture idea of our students. What to do with this knowledge about o
ur students was also a topic of discussion. After this first flex block, our vi
ce-principals reported that although optional for most students, attendance and
engagement were excellent. The library was at capacity with 80 students working
or reading silently. The gym, shops and board games areas were full of student
s actively participating. The academic support areas were also busy and product
ive. The Learning Team and administration were thrilled with the success of the
The
first
following
session.two Wednesdays were slated as collaboration sessions within the PL
C rotation. To help expedite organization, I again shared a Google document wit
h staff that identified the various collaborative groups (including description,
facilitator and meeting location). The topics included visible thinking strat
egies, curricular inquiry, independent reading strategies, Google Apps for Educa
tion and more. Teachers were required to identify their choice on the shared do
cument. Many teachers struggled to make a choice with so many interesting themes
being offered; however, some less engaged teachers were noncommittal and a few
didnt even sign up, which posed an awkward road bump for the Learning Team. I ch
ose to join the independent reading group which developed into a rich conversati
on about how to build reading culture and how to connect independent reading to
the rest of the English curriculum. From a teacher-librarians standpoint, the op
portunity to work with classroom teachers on the role of choice reading was idea
l. However, I also felt compelled to support other groups, so I planned to shif
t groups
Book
Studyasgroups
often met
as feasible.
during the fourth week of the PLC. The principal and I pu
t aside some time during the February staff meeting for the book groups to meet
in order to determine the reading schedule, choose a facilitator and a note take
r, and assign a meeting location. I followed up after the staff meeting with an
email to facilitators that included some suggestions for discussion activities
and links to multimedia resources such as TED talks and interviews with the sele
cted authors. Although I was on student supervision duty for the first book stu
dy meeting, I was informed by participants that the meetings went smoothly. Some
groups used a save the last word activity in which each teacher shares a take-awa
y passage, then group members respond to it, with the last comment coming from t
he person who selected that passage. Other groups had more organic discussion o
r utilized online resources pertaining to the book. Upon reflection, it seems t
hatthe
As
thePLC
bookgotstudy
up and
hasrunning,
been theImost
foundsuccessful
my teacher-librarian
element of the
rolePLCexpanded.
thus far.In a
ddition to functioning as an organizer, staff developer and leader behind the scenes,
I now jumped fully into participating in the PLC, thereby becoming both a teacher
and collaborator as well as learner (Hughes-Hassell et. al, 2012). Because I was
so invested in the PLC being a success, I found myself dropping by the principals
office to discuss the latest Wednesday rotation and to update the to-do list fo
r the next session. What I noticed here is that the principal and I were very l
ike-minded in our approach to what needed to be done. In fact, a lot of what I
was learning about the benefits of collaboration were the result of reflecting a
nd planning both directly with the principal and with the rest of the Learning T
Although I would characterize the first weeks of the PLC as a success, it was no
Challenges
eam.
t without its opponents and challenges. There were occasions where we fielded n
egative comments from students and parents although, with some clarification abo
ut the purpose and organization of the Flex Learning Block, most of that opposit
ion subsided. There also were a few teachers on staff whose concern about loss
of curricular time, especially during a year in which instructional days were lo
st due to a strike, surpassed their interest in collaboration. I also noticed t
hat Joyces (2004) observation that some teachers prefer the culture of isolation
was true for our staff: a minority seemed to participate in the PLC out of a sen
se of obligation rather than in the spirit of true collaboration. Finally, alth
ough pure collaboration time was the component of the PLC that teachers indicate

d they wanted most in the survey; ironically, it was this element that was the m
ost problematic. A noticeable number of teachers had difficulty finding a good
fit within teams, and some groups lacked purpose and direction. Nonetheless, th
e large majority of teachers and students seemed to look forward to and make eff
ective use
Despite
theofoccasional
the Flex objection
Learning Block.
to our PLC model, I think the larger challenge
facing us is to make the PLC count in terms of improving the learning experience
of our students. I agree with Fullans (2006) concern that teachers may group th
emselves in PLCs without ever getting to the deep learning required to make fund
amental change. We have taken the first steps in terms of making time to work to
gether within the teaching day and we are settling into a new routine that encou
rages innovation. Now we need to revisit Kasers and Halberts (2013) Spirals of In
quiry framework to choose a focus, do some research as well as learning, and tak
e theDOES
WHAT
People
next
areTHIS
steps.
motivated
ALL MEAN
by good
FOR SCHOOL
ideas tied
LEADERS?
to action; they are energized even more
by pursuing action with others; they are spurred on still further by learning fr
om their mistakes; and they are ultimately propelled by actions that make an imp
Andy
act.
The
workHargreaves
of a teacher-librarian
& Michael Fullan
within a PLC is distinct from the experience of
other teachers. Because my job is to support the learning initiatives of the wh
ole staff, it is incumbent upon me to move between collaboration groups to provi
de support. With the independent reading group well underway, I shifted over to
a new group that was focussing on curricular inquiry. This group was comprised
of five teachers from a broad spectrum of teaching areas with members who were
at different stages in their journey with inquiry-based teaching. Despite the d
iversity of our backgrounds, we had one goal in common: how can we use inquiry
to spark our students engagement in learning? What was unique about this group w
as that we looked specifically at what each teacher was doing in her classroom a
nd brainstormed ways to nudge towards inquiry within each context. Each teacher
came away with a plethora of ideas and I was able to offer instructional partne
rships for teaching research tools and working with students on the various stag
es of inquiry. I followed up the meeting by sending out links to key resources.
I finished the day feeling triumphant. This is what collaboration is all abou
t for teachers: finding support from our colleagues for venturing into new teach
ing first
The
territory.
six weeks of our schools PLC has been a process of discovery and adjust
ment. The Learning Team has much to reflect upon in our quest for continuous im
provement. Yet, some questions remain. How can we motivate all staff members t
o opt in? Will using the Spirals of Inquiry (Halbert & Kaser, 2013) encourage o
ur learning community to go deep enough to make a difference for students? Is o
ur model of rotating PLC components and supervision duties sustainable or should
our PLC time and Flex Learning be separated to allow 100% of our staff to parti
cipate in each session? What is clear is that getting the PLC up and running wa
s just the start of the Learning Teams work. Each week we have gauged what has an
d hasnt been successful. We know that refinements are needed to improve the take
-aways from Collaboration and Book Study, plus considerable planning is required
to have productive Whole Staff Learning sessions. As the semester draws to a c
lose, we will be surveying staff and students on their experiences and suggestio
ns for improvements. How we shift the learning agenda for the next calendar yea
r is verytomuch
Helping
spearhead
a workour
in school-wide
progress. PLC has challenged my self-concept as a tea
cher-librarian in terms of the leadership role I play within my school. Whereas
before I concentrated on topics such as reading culture, technology integration
and inquiry, I now find myself immersed in more nebulous issues such as change
theory, school reform and even school district politics. I have a greater appre
ciation for the difficulty of shifting a school away from the 19th century facto
ry system of education, yet Im also more committed than ever to the idea that sch
ools need to change and teacher-librarians need to model the mindset of innovati
on and learning by doing. When I started this chapter, I wondered if we would g
et the PLC right. I know now that there is no such thing as right, there is only pr
ogress
Additional
1.
Australian
and resources
this,
Institute
I feel,for
we Teaching
have achieved.
and School Leadership. [AITSL]. (2012, Janu
ary 2). Short version - Professional Learning Animation [video file]. Retrieved
This
fromshort
https://youtu.be/e6ZifjWftc8
video is an informative and inspiring introduction to learning commun
2. Bolam, R., McMahon, A., Stoll, L., Thomas, S., & Wallace, M.. (2005). Creatin
ities.
g and sustaining professional learning communities. Research Report Number 637.

London, England:General Teaching Council for England, Department for Education a


nd Skills. Retrieved from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/200703051233
This extensive report summarizes the characteristics and results of effective PL
http:/www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR637.pdf
13/
3. Halbert, J., & Kaser, L. (2013). Spirals of inquiry: For equity and quality.
Cs.
Vancouver,
If
4.
you
Hughes-Hassell,
are searching
BC: BC Principals'
S.,
forBrasfield,
a framework
& Vice-Principals'
A.,to&guide
Dupree,
yourD.
Association.
PLC,
(2012).
lookMaking
no further!
the most of p
rofessional learning communities. Knowledge Quest, 41(2-), 30-37. Retrieved from
All
http://knowledgequest.aasl.org/
teacher-librarians working with PLCs should read this article which summariz
es Kruse,
5.
the mainS.D.
roles
& Louis,
we playK.within
S. (1993).
learning
An emerging
communities.
framework for analyzing school
-based professional community. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Ame
rican Educational Research Association, Atlanta, GA. Retrieved from http://www.
schoolreforminitiative.org/ wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Kruse-Luis-Emergin-Framew
This conference paper helped me gain a deeper understanding of the structural lo
ork-for-Anlyzing-PLCS-1993.pdf
gistics
6.
Roberts,
of successful
S. M., & Pruitt,
PLCs. E. Z. (2003). Schools as professional learning comm
unities: Collaborative activities and strategies for professional development. T
housand as
Written
Oaks,
guide
Calif:
for school
Corwin leaders
Press. who are coordinating PLCs, this book is full
Baron,
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Educational
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17-28.
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McMahon, A., Stoll, L., Thomas, S., & Wallace, M. (2005). Creating a
nd Research
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sustainingReport
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Instructional Leadership: Capitalizing on and Combining the Skills of the Teache
rByLibrarian
Sheena Hushagen
and Vice Principal
There once was a little girl who loved books. Her mother would read to her every
Introduction
shushagen@gmail.com
day and she could often be seen dragging a book behind her as she crawled acros
s the carpet. When she was four, she began to independently visit the local pub
lic library. She would visit so often, the librarians knew her by name and would
have to send her home for supper as they locked the door on their way out. Once

she could read, she read everywhere: in the car, in the bath, in bed under the
covers with a flashlight, in school, during recess, and looked for every excuse
to enter the dusty textbook room that was stacked with novels and books. Her dre
am waslittle
That
to become
girl was
a librarian!
me and instead of becoming a librarian, I became a middle y
ears teacher, sharing my love of books, short stories, authors, poetry, writing,
and creating with 10-13 year olds. I encouraged and participated in student led
book clubs, book talks, debates, read alouds, visual book reports and posters, a
uthor visits, book trailers, activities, fundraisers, and school spirit days bas
ed around favorite books and book characters. I bought books as fast as my stude
nts could read them and rivalled not only the school library but the local publi
c library for the newest hot titles. I was doing what I loved: reading books and s
haring them with students. My passion for books and reading did not go unnoticed
; my school administrator and superintendent recognized I would be perfect for t
he position
However,
it would
of a teacher-librarian.
be another two years before I had the opportunity to apply and
accept the specific position of a teacher-librarian. It was only then that I re
alized that the teacher-librarians role is an integral part of the work of the sch
ool because the significance of the learning that is conducted in the library is
at the heart of the schools purpose (Zmuda & Harada, 2008b, p. 15). Coincidentally
, it was the same superintendent who, a year later, provided me with the opportu
nity to become a vice principal and combine my skills as a school administrator
withShould
Why
School
theadministrators
skills
SchoolI Leaders
had are
developed
Care? as a as
recognized
teacher-librarian.
the instructional leaders of their school
(Church, 2008, p.1). By the very nature of our postgraduate work, we [teacher-lib
rarians] are trained to be leaders in our schools and districts (Helvering, Grigg
s, Formanack, Welch, & Hinman, 2010, p. 25). Both positions influence student su
ccess and achievement, moving students forward into the 21st century while refle
cting upon what is being done and what needs to change to improve the existing pr
actice (Coatney, 2010, p. 96). Combining these two school leadership positions, c
reates a new role that merges specific skill sets and dispositions, models best
practice, reflects learning priorities, and utilizes human resources to the fulle
st (Church,
School
administrators
2011, p. and
12).teacher-librarians have their own set of dispositions,
skills, and responsibilities. The following chapter will define and describe th
ese two particular instructional leadership roles and explore the possibilities
and benefits of combining these two positions to create a new, unprecedented rol
e of an educational learning leader. The position of an educational learning lea
der would be that of an instructional learning specialist whose prime responsibi
lity is to collaborate, support, and model instructional leadership and showcase
What
Church
the School
benefits
(2008)Leaders
of thisNeed
states
that
school
totheKnow
leadership
principal is
combination.
the instructional leader of the schoo
l, however due to managerial duties, student discipline issues, and other respon
sibilities in the day to day operation of a school, this is a difficult role to
fulfill. A school principal has many duties and may find it difficult to establi
sh authentic credibility as an efficient and effective instructional leader. The
opposite seems to be true for teacher-librarians who establish credibility as i
nstructional leaders since the position itself requires that teacher-librarians
be Jenkins
In
involved(2009),
with students,
Flath states
teachers,
that instructional
and instruction.leadership reflects those acti
ons a principal takes to promote growth in student learning (p. 34). As an instr
uctional leader, a school principal has the responsibility of fostering a missio
n statement that is aligned with provincial mandates and divisional priorities.
A school mission statement and vision drives all instruction. Through a clear an
d coherent mission statement and vision, the school principal creates a positive
affective and cognitive school culture - a culture where staff, students, commu
nity members, and stakeholders clearly understand what the purpose of school is
and the objective for student learning. The instructional leader makes instructi
onal quality the top priority of the school and attempts to bring the vision to
realizationinstructional
Effective
(Jenkins, 2009).
leadership provides an opportunity for mutual collaborat
ion and allows people to focus on shared visions, values and missions (Bolman & De
al, 1994, p. 3). Establishing, implementing, and continually analyzing a clear m
ission statement and vision allows the school principal to establish a school cu
lture that encourages communication, collaboration, and collegiality. To be an e
ffective instructional leader, a school principal must be approachable, possess
strong interpersonal skills, and be a good communicator to ensure that the schoo

lCredible
vision,instructional
beliefs, and leadership
objectives needs
are clearly
to be authentic
expressed and based
achieved.
on the unique
needs, demands, and context identified within the building and yet be responsive
to the values and beliefs of professional educators and other stakeholders (McAnd
rew, 2005, p. 29). A school principal, as an instructional leader, observes and
analyzes the effectiveness of the mission statement. To ensure the attainment of
this goal, the school principal is responsible for providing professional devel
opment for school staff, offering an opportunity for growth, increased professio
nal practice, and a forum for collaboration and cooperation. As an instructional
leader, the school principal is accountable for leading the instructional progr
am, assessment practices, and creating opportunities for instruction modelling,
assessment, and future planning to ensure continuous student learning. An instru
ctional leader is able to identify and allocate resources necessary for professi
onal development that improves teaching practices and student learning. As effec
tive instructional leaders, teachers expect their principals to not only be resou
rce providers (Jenkins, 2009, p. 36) who recognize and acknowledge effective teac
hing practices but provide resources of information on current trends and effecti
ve instructional practices (Jenkins, 2009, p. 36). To provide resources, a school
principal, as an instructional leader, must be well organized and forward think
ing. The principal must be well informed of educational resources, current resea
rch, curricular content, and assessment practices. This requires research, infor
mation, and program evaluation and demands that the school principal be well ver
sed in curricular content, current research, pedagogy, teaching strategies, and
assessment
As
part of their
techniques.
assignment and responsibilities, vice principals are often acti
vely teaching (teaching administrators) and are accountable to students, colleag
ues, and the learning community. A school administrator that is a homeroom, reso
urce, or itinerant teacher is familiar with curricular content, teaching strateg
ies, and assessment techniques and consciously drives the instruction to meet th
e school mission statement. Through their daily responsibilities to students, te
aching administrators model effective management skills, teaching strategies, an
d assessment techniques for their fellow colleagues. They earn the status of a m
aster teacher and increase their credibility as an instructional leader. Through
teaching, a vice principal gains daily insight into teaching issues and curricu
lar concerns which enhances his/her integrity and efficacy with school colleague
s (Newton & Wallin, 2013). As an active member of the instructional team, a teac
hing administrator is able to develop relationships with students and colleagues
that allow him/her to maintain a clear vision [with] a connection to realities fa
ced by the teaching staff (Newton & Wallin, 2013, p. 65). Areas that require supp
ort are identified and rectified. Professional development and resources are aut
hentically endorsed and much more likely to be utilized. Being an active member
of the instructional team, teaching administrators easily recognize the good wor
k of teachers and acknowledge them in a timely and effective manner. In doing so
, vice principals are able to develop relationships that allow for affable commu
nication, collaboration, and collegiality, necessary skills when it comes to bei
ng an instructional
Additionally,
a teacher-librarian
leader.
is [also] a powerful teacher, not someone who s
imply checks out books or manages resources (McGhee, 2005, p. 63). As powerful te
achers, teacher-librarians easily lend themselves to being instructional leaders
within a school and the learning community. As part of the mandate, a teacher-l
ibrarian is a master teacher, curriculum leader, literacy advocate, information
specialist, as well as an instructional partner and leader. The National Board
for Professional Teaching Standards (2006) states that accomplished library media
specialists [teacher-librarians] are instructional leaders who forge greater op
portunities for learners (as cited in Everhart, 2007, p. 55). In doing so, teach
er-librarians become an integral component to increasing and improving student l
The school library should mirror and support the schools work. Encompassed as an
earning.
essential component of the school, a library mission statement needs to reflect
the objectives of the school mission statement. Once a library mission statement
is established, the teacher-librarian combines his/her teacher training and ski
lls with the expertise and skills of a teacher-librarian to improve the learning
and success of every student. As an effective teacher-librarian and instruction
al leader, one must forge relationships with students, colleagues and community

members. Danielson (2007) even states that the interactions among the library/med
ia specialist [teacher-librarians], individual students, and the classroom teach
ers [must be] highly respectful, reflecting genuine warmth and caring and sensit
ivity to students cultures and levels of development (p. 124). To create these typ
es of interactions, a teacher-librarian must be personable, approachable, a good
communicator, and a willing collaborator - necessary skills for an instructiona
l leader.
When
a teacher-librarian is involved as a collaborative instructional partner an
d leader, student achievement and success increases (Church, 2008). Teacher-libr
arians are instructional partners and through collaborative teaching opportunitie
s model good instructional design, effective teaching strategies, classroom mana
gement and meaningful assessments (Coatney, 2010, p. 78). Such opportunities also
allow for constructive, timely feedback, recognition, and empowerment. A teache
r-librarian is well versed in curricular content and outcomes, the learning proc
ess, powerful instructional strategies, technological tools, and teaching practi
ces, as well as professional resources and programs. As an instructional partner
, the teacher-librarian and teachers collaborate, cooperate, and communicate eff
ectively to meaningfully infuse information and technology skills into and across
Athe
teacher-librarian
curriculum (McGhee,
is an information
2005, p. 63).specialist and as such, is able to recomme
nd scaffolding techniques based on student needs and skills. Teacher-librarians
are able to infuse these student needs and skills into appropriate reading progra
ms and library materials (Everhart, 2007, p. 56) and can identify and recommend a
ppropriate print resources, databases, web based tools, and/or communication and
presentation tools that will improve student learning. Using student data, a te
acher-librarian is able to grow the expertise of the teaching staff from the staff
development workshops they design (Zmuda & Harada, 2008a, p. 18). They also offe
r a unique perspective since a teacher-librarian is one who works with every stud
ent and every teacher in the school, gaining a cross-grade, cross-discipline, an
d cross-content
It
is suggested in
perspective
Better Leadership
(Church,for
2011,
Americas
p. 12).Schools: A Manifesto (2003) tha
tTheres no denying that a schools principal is responsible for its instructional le
adership, along with much else. The core of the job is ensuring a high quality c
urriculum, effective teaching in every classroom, and satisfactory academic perf
ormance by the schools pupils. But that does not mean the principal must be the be
st teacher or principal teacher in the school. He or she may assume the task direct
ly or may instead function as the schools CEO, delegating to others-a vice princi
pal, head teacher, [teacher librarian] or dean of instruction- the weighty and c
omplex task of designing, delivering, and supervising curriculum and instruction
. (p.Can
What
School
22-23)
principals
School Leaders
are theDo?instructional leaders of a school but to ask one person
to manage all the business of schooling while providing instructional supervisi
on might be an unrealistic expectation (Kelehear, 2005, p. 8). Since the school p
rincipal is often diverted from the role of an instructional leader due to other
responsibilities and duties, couldn't the role of instructional leader be among
the duties placed upon a vice/assistant principal? By separating the instruction
al supervision function from the principals responsibility, then maybe another te
acher leader could more effectively supervise instruction in our schools. The ro
le of instructional supervision would rest with someone whose primary responsibi
lity was instructional development (Kelehear, 2005, p. 8). Or perhaps the school'
s teacher-librarian could be considered as the other teacher leader? Studies com
pleted by Lance, Rodney, and Hamilton-Pennell (2005) indicate that student achie
vement is higher when library media specialists (teacher-librarians) take an act
ive role in teaching and learning. However, combining the roles of vice principa
l and teacher-librarian would improve and streamline the instructional leadershi
p, professional regard, and efficacy of both positions. Amalgamating the specifi
c skills, dispositions, and knowledge base of these individual leadership roles
would create an authentic, credible, and unique position of an educational learn
ing leader. Such a position would fuse the recognition and respect earned as a s
chool administrator with the teacher-librarians expertise in curricula outcomes a
nd standards, technology, and literacy. This particular school leader would assu
me all responsibility for instruction and support related tasks, literacy develo
pment, and improvement. Additional duties would include planning and providing m
eaningful professional development and purposeful, instructional leadership towa

To assimilate
rds
successfully
these
fulfilling
two roles,
a common
seniorschool
administrators
vision. and/or administrative counc
il need to recognize and legitimize the roles of the school vice principal and t
he teacher-librarian. They must recognize the similar responsibilities, skills,
and knowledge of each of these roles and empower the dual position of a vice pri
ncipal/teacher-librarian (educational learning leader). This dual role would req
uire a paradigm shift as to how school personnel is dispersed, how the school hi
erarchy is organized, and how the traditional responsibilities of a vice princip
al are assigned. By recognizing and utilizing the specific skills and dispositio
ns that a vice principal and teacher-librarian bring to a school environment and
learning community, senior school administrators must consider the allocation o
f time vice principals and teacher-librarians are provided. The dual role, the i
ncrease in responsibilities, and commitment to student learning and success woul
d require that the educational learning leader be in one school 100% of the day.
Fluid and flexible scheduling would allow the vice principal/teacher-librarian
to combine all of the duties and meet all of the expectations and responsibiliti
es of a competent and influential instructional leader. The responsibilities and
duties of these two positions would be streamlined to take advantage of and opt
imize the use of human resources (Church, 2011) so that educational learning lea
ders can support teaching and learning without compromising business practices (Ke
lehear,
In
serving
2005,
a dual
p. 13).
role, the educational learning leader is involved in supportin
g the coherent and clear school-wide mission statement and vision to ensure its
practicality, applicability, and continuity. Integrating division and school goa
ls allows for all priorities to be met through the development of a strategic pl
an. The educational learning leader would then be responsible for using the str
ategic plan to ensure that all resources, programs, activities, training opportu
nities, and other professional development are available to drive the understand
ing of current philosophies, practices, and new pedagogies. Amalgamating the res
ponsibilities once performed by the school administrator and the teacher-librari
an educational
An
allows for anlearning
efficient
leader
and would
effective
be purposefully
use of time invited
and resources.
to be an active and
engaged member of all division-wide meetings, school committees, and other inst
itutions that contribute to school effectiveness, student learning, and achievem
ent. Division-wide meetings would allow for the educational learning leader to b
e up to date on policy changes, curricular updates, and assessment strategies an
d ensure that these are being reflected in the library and integrated into the d
ay to day work of the school. Being involved in school-based resource meetings,
student support meetings, networking, and collaborative inquiry team (CIT) meeti
ngs allows the educational learning leader to not only be well versed on the day
to day undertakings of students and colleagues, but allow for the conscious pre
paration and planning of effective, ongoing professional development. The educat
ional learning leader would also be involved with external agencies, institution
s, and associations that support education, literacy, student development, and s
uccess. This ensures that the newest advances and innovations in education are i
nitiated
What
Many
Doesand
schools
Thisoperate
utilized
Mean? with
in antwoeffective
administrators,
and timely
(a principal
manner. and a vice principal)
and a separate individual as the teacher-librarian. The dual role of a vice pri
ncipal and teacher-librarian is a unique one not commonly found in the same divi
sion never mind across Canada or around the world. However, combining the roles
of a vice principal and a teacher-librarian to create one position supports the
Hoshin Kanri business model that provides focus for the alignment of effort and r
esources (Henderson-Schmidt, 2013, p. 6). With this model, the principal of a sch
ool would be responsible for the day-day management of the building, student dis
cipline, teacher evaluations, budgets, community events, and business relationsh
ips in addition to other duties. The individual in the combined role would be so
lely responsible for supporting the school vision, goal setting, program develop
ment, instructional leadership, assessment of student learning, and professional
development. This requires a paradigm shift and one of this magnitude requires n
ot only rethinkingbut also reassessing current practice (Zmuda & Harada, 2008a, p.
Schools and school administrators need to value the legitimacy of combining thes
19).
e two roles and recognize the efficiency of this reorganization. Such forward th
inking would begin to transform the direction and future of graduate work. At th
e graduate level, dual role candidates would be required to take the administrat

ion courses typically found in a Masters of Education program, as well as the re


quired courses from a Masters of Teacher-Librarianship program. This would be a
new and unique area of graduate work - one that would have a huge benefit for al
l schools,
Additional
Church,
A. (2011).
teachers,School
resources
and students.
librarians as teacher leaders. The Delta Kappa Gamma B
ulletin. 10-12. Retrieved from https://www.dkg.org/category/library/publications
In this short article, Audrey Church identifies five distinct roles that empower
/bulletin
the teacher-librarian and shatters the stereotypes of school librarians sitting
behind circulation desks, stamping due date slips, and maintaining quiet in the
library(p. 10). Church provides examples as to how teacher-librarians showcase th
eir skillsS.and
Coatney,
(Ed).
are(2010).
naturalThe
instructional
many faces of
leaders
schoolwithin
library
a school.
leadership. Santa Bar
bara, CA:
Sharon
Coatney
Libraries
presents
Unlimited.
a volume of essays written by a variety of library pract
itioners and educators. Through these essays the many responsibilities of a teac
her-librarian are defined and addressed. Teacher-librarians are described as lea
ders in a variety of ways and the advantages of utilizing the teacher-librarian
for forward movement into the 21st century. Each essay can be read on its own fo
r a defined look at one particular leadership role but the complete volume offer
s comprehensive
Kelehear,
D. Z. (2005).
insight Manager
into thisofmulti-faceted
programs vs. instructional
leadership position.
leader: Re-concept
ualizing the dual roles of the school principal. AASA Journal of Scholarship and
This
Practice,
article2(3),
addresses
5-15. school
Retrieved
leadership
from http://www.aasa.org/jsp.aspx
and offers a unique school leadership m
odel based on the organizational model of many hospitals. In doing so, two disti
nct school roles are identified: manager of programs and instructional leader an
d the defined roles, responsibilities, and benefits of each. The conclusion of t
his article offers a variety of questions for consideration with regards to stre
amliningJ.school
Knight,
(2011).
management
Unmistakable
and instructional
impact: A partnership
leadership.
approach for dramatically
improving
In
an effort
instruction.
to improveThousand
schools and
Oaks,student
CA: Corwin
learning,
Press.Knight explains a process
of teacher learning that encompasses collaboration, collegiality, and open commu
nication. Through these, teachers have the opportunity to learn, grow and improv
e their practice to positively impact student learning. In his work, Knight desc
ribes an instructional coach responsible for support, modelling, professional deve
lopment,A.and(2013).
Martin,
improving
Empowering
studentleadership:
learning. Developing behaviors for success. Chic
ago, IL: American
Published
by the American
Association
Association
of SchoolofLibrarians.
School Librarians, Empowering Leadershi
p: Developing Behaviors for Success identifies the leadership tasks teacher libr
arians complete on a daily basis. It describes the natural leadership role teach
er-librarians adopt in a school environment and how to further develop an indivi
dualizedP.leadership
Newton,
& Wallin,style.
C. (2013). The teaching principal: An untenable position or
a promising model. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 59(1), 55-71. Retri
eved article
This
from http://www.ajer.ca/
examines the role and responsibilities of a teaching principal and
the effects of such on instructional leadership. The study explores the work of
12 Canadian teaching principals and examines their challenges, achievements, and
the assurance that school administrators actively involved in classroom instruc
tion areA.,viable
Zmuda,
& Harada,
instructional
V. H. (2008).
leaders.
Librarians as learning specialists: Moving fr
om the margins to the mainstream of school leadership. Teacher Librarian, 36(1)
, 15-20.
This
shortRetrieved
article by
fromAllison
http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/
Zmuda and Violet Harada, is an introduction to the
ir earnestness for recognizing the teacher-librarian as a pivotal member of an i
nstructional team. They emphasize the need for school administrators to recogniz
e the teacher-librarian as a learning specialist, one who is integral to curricu
lum instruction
Bolman,
References
G., & Deal,
and T.
student
(1994).
success.
Becoming a teacher leader: From isolation to coll
aboration.
Church,
A. (2008).Thousand
The instructional
Oaks, CA: Corwin
role ofPress.
the library media specialist as per
ceived by elementary school principals. School Library Media Research, 11, 1-36.
Church,
Retrieved
A. (2011).
from http://www.ala.org/aasl/slr
School librarians as teacher leaders. The Delta Kappa Gamma B
ulletin, 10-12. Retrieved from https://www.dkg.org/category/library/publications
Coatney, S. (Ed.) (2010). The many faces of school library leadership. Santa Bar
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bara, CA: Libraries
Danielson,
C. (2007).Unlimited.
Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teachers.
Everhart,
Alexandria,
N. (2007).
VA: Association
Leadership:
for School
Supervision
library
andmedia
Curriculum
specialists
Development.
as effective s
chool leaders.
Helvering,
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Knowledge
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A.,Quest,
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35(4),G.,
54-57.
Welch,
RetM., & Hinman, S. (2010). Distri
ct leadership and administration. Knowledge Quest, 38 (5), 22-25. http://knowled
Henderson-Schmidt, K. (2013). Hoshin kanri: A systematic strategic planning/stra
gequest.aasl.org/
tegic management methodology. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from www.saskschool
Jenkins, B. (2009). What is takes to be an instructional leader. Principal, 88 (
boards.ca/seminars/archive/Sept13_HoshinKanri.pdf
3), 34-37.Z.Retrieved
Kelehear,
(2005). Manager
from www.naesp.org/resources/2/Principal/2009/J-F_p34.pdf
of programs vs. instructional leader: Re-conceptual

izing the dual roles of the school principal. AASA Journal of Scholarship and Pr
actice,K.,
Lance,
2(3),
Rodney,
5-13.M.,
Retrieved
& Hamilton-Pennell,
from http://www.aasa.org/jsp.aspx
C. (2005). Powerful libraries make po
werful learners: The Illinois study. Illinois School Library Media Association.
Canton, Illinois.
McAndrew,
D. (2005).
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Six strategies for peoplework. Newark,
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DE: International
M. W. (2005).
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Meyer, L. & Feistritzer, E. (2003). Better leaders for america's schools: A mani
brarian.com/
festo. Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. Retrieved from www.broadedu
Newton, P. & Wallin, C. (2013). The teaching principal: An untenable position or
cation.org/asset/1128-betterleadersforamericasschools.pdf
a promising model. Alberta Journal of Educational Research. 59(1), 55-71. Retri
eved from
Zmuda,
A. &http://www.ajer.ca/
Harada, V. (2008a). Librarians as learning specialists: Moving from
the margins to
the mainstream of school leadership. Teacher Librarian, 36(1),
Zmuda,
15-20.A.Retrieved
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V. (2008b).
http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/
Librarians as learning specialists: Meeting the
learning imperative for the 21st century. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
Author
Dr.
EDITORS
Jennifer
Jennifer
Biographies
is anBranch-Mueller
Associate Professor at the University of Alberta. She is the Coor
dinator of both the Teacher-Librarianship by Distance Learning program in the De
partment of Elementary Education and the Online Master of Library and Informatio
n Studies program in the School of Library and Information Studies. Jennifer is
married to a Computer Scientist who is a Professor in the Faculty of Science als
o at the UofA and is Mama to Andy who is 10 years old and is in grade five. She
Wei
loves
WeiatoMaster
is
quilt,student
read, travel
in theand
program
play of
board
Humanities
games with
Computing
her family.
at the University
of Alberta. She is now working with Dr. Branch-Mueller as a graduate research a
ssistant. Weis background covers both computer science and humanities. She has a
great passion
AUTHORS
Catherine
Pauls
Paul
onisBiography
digital
a wife,humanities
a mother and
especially
a generous
on lap
building
for pugs
websites.
in wonderful Winn
ipeg, Manitoba. She loves all aspects of teacher-librarianship elementary schoo
l. Making her way through the University of Alberta TLDL Masters of Education p
rogram, she is awed by the close, collaborative PLN that she has developed with
her classmates across Canada, and beyond. Outside of the library, Catherine is
passionate
Andrea
Brown
is
aabout
Teacher-librarian
family, booksatanda dual
good track
bread French
with butter!
and English elementary scho
ol in Prince George, BC. She is passionate about reading, collaboration and inq
uiry. When Andrea is not working, she can be found walking her two fur babies, s
pending time with family or playing percussion in the local PG band EXIT GLOW (h
Erin is
ttp://exitglow.ca/).
Eric
Jones
currently a secondary school English teacher in Langley, BC and hopes to
be a teacher-librarian when finished her Masters program through the University
of Alberta. Erin's love of reading, writing and information lead her on the pat
h to becoming a teacher-librarian and her passion for working with at-risk and v
ulnerable students prompted her research for the chapter. Erin aspires to put in
to practice the many strategies and ideas from the chapter to create a safe, acc
eptingis
Megan
Fulgueras
andcurrently
diverse teaching
library and
grade
classroom.
5/6 in Maple Ridge, BC. She loves being a Mas
ter's of Education in Teacher-Librarianship student and is constantly learning n
ew things to try and apply in her classroom. After school, Megan can be found e
njoying life in Langley with her wonderful husband (and geeking out in the Twitt
er world
Tanya
Hobbs
is
aasteacher
@jakse).librarian, art and English teacher at Golden Secondary School
in B.C. She recently completed her M. Ed. through the University of Albertas TLDL
program. When she is not reading, Tanya loves to hike, ski, play hockey and spen
d timeis
Dawn
Opheim
ina Teacher-Librarian
her garden.
in the Saskatoon Public School Division. She lives
at the lake with her remarkable and supportive husband (whom she is so thankful
for) and their dogs (which are their kids!) Her favourite things to do are padd
le boarding, yoga, playing video games, summer, and spending time with her husba
nd and kids.... and of course reading! You can find Dawn reading almost anywhe
re, and she wants to help the students in her schools discover that same passion
Dominique
and love Sullivan
for reading!
is a French immersion teacher-librarian in Nanaimo, B.C. She
supports both students and teachers in technology integration, inquiry and promo
tes a love of reading in her community. As a member of the district technology c
ommittee, Dominique advocates for new pedagogies of teaching and learning that u
se technology in powerful ways. Dominique believes in the power of a good book a
nd works to provide access and equity for all learners from struggling to gifted
Jennifer
Lunny
students.
is aLunny
teacher-librarian at a secondary school on Vancouver Island. Before t
hat, she was a classroom English and social studies teacher. At work, she has h
eartily embraced re-imagining schools for the 21st century and she loves nothing

better than connecting the right book with the right student. At home, she lov
es nothing better than being surrounded by her family, her pets, her books and p
iles ofspends
Sheena
Hushagen
lovelyher
yarnworking
for knitting
hours asprojects.
a teacher-librarian and school administrator
in the Saskatoon Public School Division. She is the mother of two active boys, a
ges 8 and 9, who share her love for reading and books. Currently residing in a s
mall lakeside community near Saskatoon, they spend many hours in the water in th
e summer and on the frozen surface of hockey rinks in the winter but always with
38
Becoming
a book nearby.
and Being: Reflection on Teacher-Librarianship Volume 2