Responding To Some Authors Views On The Role Of The TL

The Readings (Herring, 2007; Purcell, 2010 ; Valenza, 2010 & Lamb, 2011) clearly reinforced the fact that the role of the TL is constantly evolving in line with advances in technology and pedagogy.

All four authors stressed that our underlying mission should be to support and enhance student achievement in line with curriculum goals. We therefore prioritise the myriad of tasks within our role with this in mind.

Purcell and Lamb both emphasise reflection as crucial to our effectiveness as TLs navigating a constantly changing environment. Purcell encourages us to engage in ongoing professional development in order to keep abreast of our changing roles and give us guidance in performing our tasks. The use of time studies is recommended by Purcell as a tool to identify exactly how we are spending or squandering our most valuable resource (time).

Lamb, Herring  and Purcell all agree that the role of the TL is diverse and constantly changing and that it is underpinned by a focus on student outcomes. Lamb places a stronger emphasis on the nurturing of 21st C skills such as inquiry, problem solving, thinking, and ethical behaviour. This author also stresses the importance of being an effective communicator across all sectors of the school community.

In order to implement the exciting visions of Lamb and Valenza it is clear that I will need to become an expert at delegating the clerical tasks which currently take up chunks of my time and energy and sap my creativity.

Where do I fit in with the roles proposed by these authors? Well I am definitely a work in progress. I am enthused and inspired by the rich tasks I can potentially bring to my role but am still figuring out the logistics. I have begun by ensuring that my program and lesson plans encompass some the 21st century skills. I am engaging in informal collaboration and advocacy in the staffroom and at staff meetings. I have found a mentor who is doing wonderful things in the primary school context and aim to emulate some of his work. I am in the process of writing myself a “Business Plan” to set goals and timelines for changing the culture of all things library at my school.

My answer to the question would I change the order of the roles that Purcell identifies is yes. Teaching should be in number one position because it is beyond a doubt our most important role. This is the avenue through which we improve student outcomes and support and enhance learning across the curriculum and it is this that must underpin all our other decisions, tasks and roles.


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

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

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36.

Valenza, J. (2010). A revised manifesto. In School Library Journal . Retrieved from


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