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An introduction to school librarianship
An introduction to school librarianship

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3 Supporting teaching colleagues and the curriculum

As you saw in the previous sections, a one-size-fits-all approach across the school library profession is unrealistic as no two schools are the same. Demonstrating an awareness of this in your collection management is key and allows you to more effectively support teachers and the specific educational process in your school.

By working collaboratively with teaching colleagues from across your school, you will be better able to identify which resources to invest in as part of your collection management, allowing you to tailor your provision to the educational needs of students in your school. For example, by consulting with teachers and other colleagues, such as the head of special educational needs, you can gain a deeper understanding of the teaching process and better support teaching and learning across the curriculum for those with special educational needs. Demonstrating an awareness of syllabi and topics of study can help your meetings with colleagues to be more profitable. Showing other teaching staff that you are interested in their subject is also likely to lead reciprocal support for you.

To reflect further on these issues, watch Video 2 below where Sarah offers her own thoughts on the ways in which libraries can support staff and the curriculum. As you watch, consider your experiences and think about how your own library offers support to teachers and other school colleagues.

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Video 2
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In the video, Sarah stressed the importance of ‘doing your homework’. By becoming knowledgeable on the exam syllabus or the scheme of work being studied it ensures you are able to give relevant support and become an integral part of the school. The relationship between librarian and teacher, however, is two-way and so, as Sarah suggests, you should look to work with teaching staff who are keen to collaborate. Working together, you can plan lessons with clear direction so the library can help learning objectives be met.

Now you have heard how Sarah supports staff and the curriculum, have a go at Activity 3 which will provide you with an opportunity to develop your ideas, by considering the benefits of your current approach and how it might be improved.

Activity 3

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

In Table 5, provide three examples of how you currently assist teaching colleagues and the benefits of this. Then in Table 6 provide an additional three examples of things you don’t currently do but would like to introduce.

Table 5 Current ways I provide support for teaching colleagues
Ways in which I currently assist teaching colleagues Benefits
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Table 6 Possible new ways of providing support for teaching colleagues
Additional ways in which I would like to assist teaching colleagues Benefits
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This activity should have made you think about the way you work with colleagues. One of the greatest benefits of working with colleagues is that it provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate the value and the breadth of services you and your library can offer. It also helps to forge relationships and helps you both understand what areas you need to develop. If enhancing curriculum-led usage of the library is a goal you’ve highlighted for your library development plan, you might consider building up relationships with teaching colleagues in specific subject areas as a strategy to achieve this.

Teaching colleagues are just one stakeholder you will work with as a school librarian. In the next section, you will identify others and learn how to support their needs.