Teacher-Librarians as Leaders
By Jennifer Branch-Mueller
Dr. Jennifer Branch is the Coordinator of the Teacher-Librarianship by Distance Learning program, Coordinator of the online Master of Library and Information Studies program and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta.
Congratulations to the BCTLA on 75 Years! Your leadership in British Columbia and beyond is greatly appreciated by your neighbours in Alberta.
Leadership is an interesting word. Many new students in our teacher-librarianship program bristle when they hear the word leadership. The word is often tied to administration and the “leadership team” in a school setting. I have heard students say, “If I wanted to be a leader, I would have gone into administration.” In our Master of Education degree at the University of Alberta we begin by introducing students to the concept of leadership in schools and we hope, by the end of the program, that our students will see the multi-faceted roles they can play as leaders in their schools, districts, provinces, associations, and in the global information environment.
It has been our pleasure to teach some amazing teacher-librarians who are now taking on leadership roles across British Columbia. You might know some of them. They are presenting at your amazing conferences, working for the BCTLA, taking up leadership roles in your districts and providing professional development for teachers in your district. You might be following them on Twitter, reading their blogs, or learning with them in your BCTLA Chapters.
Here is the story of your BCTLA Teacher-Librarian of the Year who is also a recent graduate of the University of Alberta’s MEd.
Teacher Librarian, Randerson Ridge Elementary, Nanaimo- Ladysmith SD
“Taking the TLDL Master of Education program at U of A has given me the skills, confidence and experience to take on new leadership roles at our school, within our district and at a provincial level. I was a technology novice when I embarked on the program in 2009. My first assignment, listening to a Joyce Valenza podcast, almost had me running for the door. I was overwhelmed by the amount of technology opportunities that I had never heard of. Fast forward to today, I am a leader in our school and district in using technology through the curriculum and in innovative, engaging ways that enhance student learning. Along with my fellow U of A grad and colleague Tammy Reynolds, we presented a workshop at BCTLA conference on using iPads and iPods in the classroom. We also regularly present technology-based workshops in our district and at our schools.
It is not only the technology but the in-depth experience I have gained in inquiry learning and teaching that has moved me forward in my career. Team teaching inquiry based learning is now a regular part of my practice. My experience at U of A has given me the drive, skills and desire to take on leadership roles from Teacher-in-Charge at our school, to leading the pro d committee, to organizing major events. It has also given me the history and support to be a strong voice in advocating for having a qualified teacher-librarian in every school. A TL truly makes a difference in a student’s life. The U of A TLDL Master of Education degree transformed me and my career. “
Val’s Leadership Roles
BCTLA Executive – 2012-2013
NDTA TL representative to BCTLA – chapter councillor (2010-present)
Assist with BCTLA summer institute (2013-2014)
Chair NDTA TL Association – 2012-present
Advocacy committee – opposing DRC closure
Led advocacy team that successfully (at least for this year) fought to keep high school TLs (original budget had them chopped)
Presented at District Pro D days & TL workshops
Led/presented numerous pro d days related to technology used in curriculum
Teacher in Charge 2012-present
Chair of Pro-D committee at our school
Organize and implement pro-d days at Randerson (1 of 2 person team)
Member of BYOD (device) pilot project
SD#68 representative – Bookfest 2009-2011
If you are interested in learning more about leadership, here are some of the leadership websites and books that students in our program will discuss.
Servant Leadership (https://greenleaf.org/what-is-servant-leadership/)
Quiet Leadership by David Rock
Team Leadership (http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/47444_chp_12.pdf)
Student-Centered Leadership by Viviane Robinson
These are our teacher-librarianship courses.
EDEL 540 Introduction to Teacher-Librarianship
Explores and critically evaluates the management of school library programs and services.
EDEL 541 Introduction to Resource Organization and Management
Explores and critically evaluates the management and organization of print and digital resources in a school library collection.
EDEL 542 Introduction to Inquiry-Based Instruction
Explores and critically evaluates the nature and culture of inquiry and the integration of inquiry in teaching and learning.
EDEL 543 Introduction to Contemporary Literacies
Explores and critically evaluates the foundations of contemporary literacies, literacy in the 21st century, and literacy leadership for teachers.
EDEL 544 Introduction to Emerging Technologies
Explores and critically evaluates the use of emerging technologies in schools and school libraries with an emphasis on how they might be used in personal, professional and teaching and learning situations.
EDEL 545 Integration of Emerging Technologies
Explores and critically evaluates the integration of emerging technologies into schools with an emphasis on the trends, issues, opportunities and challenges associated with living and working in digital age classrooms.
EDEL 546 Introduction to Resource Selection and Evaluation
Explores and critically evaluates the selection and evaluation of print and digital resources for children and young adults in schools and school libraries.
EDEL 549 The Leadership Role of the Teacher-Librarian
Explores and critically evaluates historical and current trends and issues in school library leadership. Pre-requisites: EDEL 540, EDEL 542, EDEL 544, or consent of the department. This course includes a capstone experience.
Required courses for the MEd include:
EDEL 561 Processes of Curriculum Development
A study of the ways in which curricula are produced, implemented, and evaluated.
EDEL 567 Introduction to Educational Research
This introductory research methodology course is intended to support graduate students’ understanding of the many ways in which educational research is conceptualized and conducted. Students will develop their ability to read educational research critically and with understanding in order to support their work as researchers and practicing professionals.
Students also have the opportunity to take courses in the School of Library and Information Studies including:
LIS 516 Children’s Literature for Young People in Schools and Libraries
A survey of Canadian children’s materials from books for babies to those aimed at the young adult market. Focus on contemporary works, trends in both publishing and content, and issues such as censorship, multimedia forms and the Internet.
LIS 518 Comic Books and Graphic Novels in School and Public Libraries
Examines the history and contemporary reality of Comic Book publishing and readership in Canada, Great Britain, Japan and the United States, and issues related to the perception of the format of educators, librarians, and readers. Focus on collection development, censorship concerns and challenges, gender issues in both readership and content, genres, and impact of the Internet.
Over the next few years other electives will be offered by the School of Library and Information Studies that will be of interest to teacher-librarians.
If you are interested in teacher-librarianship education and becoming a leader, please contact Jennifer Branch-Mueller at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the Master of Education degree. The degree is available completely online and can be completed while working full-time. In fact, most of our students complete the program part-time. Courses are offered in fall, winter and summer. The program is ten courses long and each course costs about $1200. Teachers at a TQS level 5 can move to a level 6 after the completion of their MEd at the University of Alberta.
More information can be found at https://sites.google.com/a/ualberta.ca/tl-dl/