UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The role of the elementary school teacher-librarian in British Columbia Hufton, Amanda


Teacher-librarians have an important role in education today. That role encompasses a wide spectrum of responsibilities making them an equal and valued partner in the education process. Due to the limited nature of Canadian research into the perceptions of the role of the teacher librarian and School Library Resource Centres, the purpose of this study is to address the changing role through both the literature and models in practice in schools, and discover what change is occurring and will continue to occur, despite economical restraints that limit budgets and cut teacher-librarian positions. The major research questions of this thesis are the following: 1. Do teachers, teacher-librarians and administrators all have the same vision of the role of the teacher-librarian and School Library Resource Centre? 2. Is there a difference in the perception of the role of the teacher librarian in part time schools and full time schools? 3. Is there a difference in the perception of the role of the teacher librarian by teacher-librarians, based on degree of education held? The design of this thesis is survey research. A questionnaire was mailed to all of the elementary schools in one urban school district in British Columbia. In each school the administrator, teacher-librarian, one intermediate teacher and one primary teacher were asked to complete the form. The results, once analyzed, indicate that all of the respondents have a similar vision of the School Library Resource Centre. This vision correlates to that of the Canadian literature reviewed. It was perceived that the primary roles of the teacher-librarian are Instruction, Consultation and Library Management. While there are individual differences between the 4 subject groups based on how important they rate a task, all of the statements are consider a role of the teacher -librarian. Both the education of a teacher-librarian and the amount of time he/she holds in the position do not demonstrate significant differences in their view of the teacher-librarian. In addition, the results of this study also demonstrate some ambiguity between what is perceived as the role of the teacher-librarian by all subject groups and what is happening in elementary schools in reality. This is most evident in the anecdotal comments. While highlighted as a significant change to the School Library Resource Centre program, several teachers comment on the lack of cooperative planning and teaching that actually takes place. A last finding of this study is the importance of technology to School Library Resource Centres, and as a consequence, the importance of the role of the teacher-librarian in consulting with teachers and students to maximize and facilitate the use of that technology. Overwhelmingly, this study demonstrates that teacher-librarians and School Library Resource Centres are both crucial to the education process today. As the understandings of the importance of their role in education continue to increase, so will the support and recognition that are essential to their continued existence in times of restraint.

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