Magazine article Teacher Librarian

Ask a Teacher-Librarian!

Magazine article Teacher Librarian

Ask a Teacher-Librarian!

Article excerpt

On a recent trip to my local public library, I saw signs posted strategically over the online catalog, near the reference section, and throughout the room that simply read, "Ask a Librarian!"

How thoughtful to remind patrons of that ever-present and willing help. That is the function of a public library. Yet in school libraries that is not quite what we want to convey. Yes, we want the students to know that we are there willing and able to help them, but also we want to teach them how to help themselves. I always tell kindergarten students that they are going to learn how to find the answers to their questions in our library, so that they will know how to find information in libraries for the rest of their lives.

There is a mystique about libraries.

Not long ago, after overhearing an explanation of the Dewey Decimal System to a group of students, a young teacher colleague said to me, "Do you mean that there is a standard way that all libraries are arranged? Is there a system that I can learn? I thought all teacher-librarians made up their own systems of arrangement to suit their own situation."

Teacher-librarians need to dispel that mystique. How to find and use information is a teachable process. The arrangement of materials, the navigation of the free Web and proprietary databases, and the summarizing and citation of information are all things that can be learned, transferred, and applied to the next information inquiry. …

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