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The teacher librarians in our district are starting a school library support/advocacy group.  While researching other groups on the web I noticed something.  Most of the groups discuss ways to strengthen the library collection, sponsor events, etc., but they didn't talk about advocating for adequate teacher librarian staffing.  Is there any information available on successful strategies that have been used to persuade administrators to restore teacher librarian positions?

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Comment by Janelle Grammens on January 7, 2013 at 11:48am

Thanks for the comments.  While we provide the digital literacy instruction we do not submit a formal log of the number of lessons, and the number of students we teach. 

Comment by Julie Bowline on January 4, 2013 at 1:00pm
Hi Janelle, During the past four years the teacher librarian positions in our district have been severly cut; rather than one full-time TL at each elementary and middle school, we now have a .5 at each building. Rather than two full-time at each high school, we now have only one. We tried advocating based on the importance of the library, based on the love of reading, and based on our community's love of libraries. The cuts continued to happen. We are now shifting our focus a bit; we have taken the ISTE standards and divided them into three broad categories: information literacy, tech literacy, and digital citizenship. We have further divided those across grades K-8 (9-12 still needs to be done). In an age of "data is king" we are tracking when students receive INSTRUCTION that ties to the standards. We have decided to focus on digital literacy INSTRUCTION, which can be delivered by a certified teacher librarian or by a digital literacy instructor. Love of reading, navigation of print resources, research methods, etc... are covered as part of our focus on information literacy. Tech literacy is woven in through projects and opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning. We've wrestled with how to get administrators to retain teacher librarians. NOW we are trying to get administrators to embrace the importance of preparing students to be digital citizens. As we talk about THAT mission, the teacher librarians are the most qualified to TEACH information literacy skills and strategies in the context of curricula. It isn't just about the books (the perception of previous generations of libraries); it is about using staff wisely to meet the needs of today's learners. We are more than happy to share any and all of our resources that we are using as we shift. It is hard work and has not always been easy, but we feel it is the right work as we think about the best ways to prepare our students for their future. - Julie Bowline

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