Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Some Thoughts on the Role of the Librarian in the PYP

A draft to this post has been sitting on my iPad for weeks. Instead of blogging right away about things I am pondering and wondering about, I have this habit of just jotting down thoughts on my iPad to discover them months later with the feeling it's too late to share... So many of my posts have a short life in my head or on my iPad but never make it to the blog. Here is one that survived - one that however will never be really completed as the role of the librarian keeps evolving, as I keep learning more about the PYP and about libraries in the 21st century. I love this about being a librarian - it keeps my job exciting ;)

Our school recently had an evaluation visit from the PYP and especially in the days leading up to the visit, I kept wondering what kind of questions the visiting team might bring up when I would meet with them. I thought they might want to hear from me how I saw and understood my role as librarian in the PYP. (And I really got to talk about this during the actual visit.)

While there is clearly a long list of tasks that come to mind right away or when browsing through publications on the Internet about this topic, I would define my role mainly through the following three points:

  • Providing an environment that awakens students curiosity - because without curiosity no questions and wonderings, without questions and wonderings no inquiry.
  • Helping students acquire the information literacy skills they need as inquirers, e.g. how to go about inquiry, how to formulate questions, how to search for information, how to evaluate the sources and use them ethically, etc.
  • Supporting teachers and students with resources in different formats - print, electronic, primary and secondary sources, experts!
Now I could take this one step further by asking, how do I put this into practice?

How do I get students to get curios?
  • Visually appealing nonfiction books - visual encyclopedia on animals, space, weird stuff are a hit. I don't have much yet but ordered some exciting titles for next year!
  • Thought-provoking read-alouds - there are so many amazing picture books
  • Artifacts to explore - I don't have much yet but I have a basket with items from Ghana on my desk, a Hong Kong box (includes books, flyers, maps etc.) and "Ms. Tanja's box of little things"
  • Modeling my own curiosity and wonderings - I share with students what I am curios about and keep an inquiry journal on my desk (unfortunately, it isn't well used yet, but it's a start)
  • Providing many opportunities to let students ask questions
  • Displaying student questions to signal that questions and wonderings are valued

How do I help students to acquire the skills they need as inquirers?
  • Collaborating with teachers in teaching the necessary information literacy skills when and where they are needed during units of inquiry
  • Modeling being an inquirer and information seeker
  • Following the same inquiry process when introducing authors to students in the library
  • Through detailed blog posts, letting parents in on the skills we teach and the resources we use so that they can follow up and support the inquiring from home
  • Through online tutorials and pathfinders helping students in practicing skills in their own time

How do I support teachers and students with resources?

  • Compiling print resources that support units
  • Constantly looking out for new resources and developing our library's collection, providing access to local and global information sources
  • Compiling and providing access to online resources (see HKA Primary Library Online Resources).
I would love to hear your thoughts on this...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this post. I've been considering a lot lately how to better utilize our library and media resources.