Curriculum Partner: Redefining the Role of the Library Media Specialist

By Carol A. Kearney | Go to book overview

Advocacy: Redefining a Community of Supporters
8

Recently at a meeting of a local library media association, two library media specialists were discussing their programs. They each worked in different school districts. Patricia, from the Mountain School District, was very excited about the inroads she has made in becoming a curriculum partner with teachers because of the resources she has been able to purchase, borrow through interlibrary loan, and retrieve from the Internet. Betty, from the Plains School District, was very disheartened because she felt she was making little progress with teachers and students primarily because her annual budget was very small. Furthermore, although there were computers in the school, there were none in the library media center. Patricia asked Betty if she had an advocacy program. Betty admitted that she did not but went on to say that she was just too busy to add one more task to her already unbelievably full day. Then she added, "What is involved in developing an advocacy program, and do you think it would make a difference in the program I can offer to my students and teachers?"

Patricia suggested that in everything she does, she feels she is influencing administrators, teachers, students, or parents. She said that she could either (1) influence them positively or negatively, or (2) in the words of Gary Hartzell, reinforce the notion of the "invisible librarian" ( 1994, 12). Patricia explained that because of the nature of their work and, especially, the fact that often the people with whom they work consider them to be support staff, they need to make themselves and their work more visible. She also said that she worked to positively influence people to build advocates for her program. Patricia asked Betty if she felt that her staff thought the library media program was an es-

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