By Peggy Lunn
Ontario’s Faculty of Education Librarians: A (Still) Untapped Resource for School Library Advocacy
A lack of awareness among teachers and school administrators about the role and impact of school library programs and teacher librarians on school success has been noted repeatedly both anecdotally throughout the school library community and by research evidence. In their 2003 report, Whither they go: An analysis of the inclusion of school library programs and services in the preparation of pre-service teachers in Canadian universities, Marlene Asselin and Ray Doiron warned that “Without a new generation of teachers knowledgeable about school libraries, how teacher-librarians support the development of information literacy, how school libraries pass on our cultural heritage, how information technologies help us learn, and how school libraries act as community access points for teachers and students, it will be impossible for schools to have fully integrated school library programs in the future”.
This paper identifies various ways in which academic librarians working within faculties of education may work with the school library community to help new teachers and future administrators gain an understanding of the role that strong school libraries can play in supporting teaching and learning. It argues that academic librarians may provide an ideal bridge for conveying that message, how they can prove to be powerful advocates for properly staffed and properly funded school libraries, and urges the Ontario School Library Association to target these librarians in their advocacy efforts.
Peggy Lunn began her professional career as a classroom teacher in the early 1990s. Since shifting into Librarianship in 2001, she has worked in public, school and academic libraries.
Currently, she is the managing Librarian of Queen’s University Education Library’s Teacher Resource Centre. This role involves supporting the resource needs of over 200 schools within two partnering school boards, as well as providing advocacy and professional development for the School Library community.