Friday, March 18, 2011

Purcell, and the provisional nature of the role of TL

After reading Purcell's article, think about
A) whether you agree with the roles Purcell identifies
B) whether you would change the order she identifies e.g. should teacher come first?

Yes - I do agree with the role Purcell identifies, but then I also agree with Herring with the eleven "possible" roles he identifies. I think that the main point that I have taken from all the reading that I have done on the role of the teacher librarian is that is it a huge, complex and not so easily definable role. It kind of reminds of the Barthes and Derrida in their post-structuralist musings on the world and meaning. The concept that comes to mind is that of meaning being "provisional". That it entirely depends on context. The context of the library and the school within which you work , the students and teaching staff you interact and the larger context of being a teacher/librarian in the 21st century. The role is constantly changing, being redefined and therefore it will never be boring (a criterion for any job I take on). But then when do you feel like you have mastered the role - probably never. Which is great for those of us that like a challenge.

And what about part B) of the question?

Some people might like to use the chicken and the egg analogy. Which comes first the teacher or the librarian? But for me the whole thing is too intertwined. At times it feels that trying clarify particular aspects of the role is like trying to unravel a ball of a mad woman's knitting - highly confused and a huge undertaking.
I actually disagree with putting any aspect of the role first, placing particular emphasis of one part of the job over the other. I realise that the whole job is a huge balancing act, one of prioritising identified needs, a large slab of excellent time management skills and people skills. It might seem a bit of a cop out to say that I wouldn't choose an aspect to put first - but at this point there isn't one that I feel passionate enough about to say - it is definitely this or that. That might change when I think about it more.

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