Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

A Research Agenda for Enhancing Teacher Librarians' Roles and Practice in Hong Kong's 21st Century Learning Environments

Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

A Research Agenda for Enhancing Teacher Librarians' Roles and Practice in Hong Kong's 21st Century Learning Environments

Article excerpt


Professional practices among teacher librarians in Asia, Hong Kong in particular, have been little studied. Unfortunately, in many countries, especially in Asia, there has always been a lack of understanding on the parts of classroom teachers and school administration about the role of the teacher librarians in the public education system (Nakamura, 2000; Cheng, 2012). According to Lo, et al. (2014a, p. 51), "Teacher librarians are not only managers of the school libraries, they are also educators, administrators, teaching consultants, information specialists, and information literacy teachers." To make the matter worse, many novice teacher librarians do not have a clear understanding of the potential contributions of the school library programmes to students' overall development process and their academic achievements, as well as their contributions to students' overall enquiry-based learning as a whole (Lo et al., 2014b). Here, we present a qualitative study that reports, in depth, professional practices and changing roles amongst teacher librarians in Hong Kong. Based on the findings of this study, we further discuss our agenda of research on the emerging research and development issues on the enhancing roles of teacher librarians under the current digital age.

Aims of Study & Research Questions

According to Chan (2008), "good library programmes are linked to high academic achievement in students" (p. 15). Unfortunately, ignorance of the teacher librarian profession appears to be universal, and major problems identified included a lack of resources, a lack of time, a lack of certified programmes and training opportunities, lack of recognitions towards teacher librarians' qualifications, and lack of understanding and support amongst principals and other classroom teachers (Lo, et al., 2014b). As such, this study was set out to answer the following research questions:

1. What are the emerging new roles of the teacher librarians under the new digital era?

2. What are the nature and scope of new changes in the practices among the teacher librarians through the cases in Hong Kong?

3. What are some key professional knowledge, skills, as well as characters traits needed for the teacher librarians to perform their new roles effectively?

Literature Review

During the past decades, public education has been the site of major shifts in which a traditional rote learning, teacher-centred paradigm has been replaced by enquiry-based learning. In order to achieve more interactive and enquiry-based learning, students first need to become proficient in information literacy (IL), so that they are able to actively search for information and construct knowledge (Harada & Yoshina, 2004; Kuhlthau, Maniotes, & Caspari, 2007; Hepworth & Walton, 2009). Asselin (2005) stated that due to the growing number of printed and digital resources available, and the expectations that student learning outcomes needed to reflect the use of information to acquire knowledge, teacher librarians should take a proactive role in helping teachers in the selection and strategic use of a wide range of teaching and learning resources. Asselin's study (2005) revealed that teacher librarians could make unique contributions in preparing students to take part in the global networked environment via information literacy (IL) programmes carried out in schools. Asselin saw teacher-librarians as leaders in new learning environments, in which information and communication technology (ICT) skills are necessary for independent learning and problem solving in the quickly evolving digital environment.

Although Kuhlthau (1995) predicted that there would be an increased integration of information skills in the curriculum. Lupton (1995) reported that ICT would be a big challenge to teacher librarians, because ICT has expanded and evolved so much that many of teacher librarians would lack the technology skills to fully tackle its implementation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.