When I first started working as a casual in schools I noticed that in a number of schools libraries seemed somehow separate from the school and not utilised, many teachers would use computer rooms rather than the library and students wouldn’t use them during breaks. When I was lucky enough to get a two term block in a High School I wanted to promote the library as an integral part of the school. I was lucky that the library was well resourced and supported by the P&C. I wanted the teachers to use the library and for students to feel comfortable and to use the library.
The teachers were all very supportive as was the principal, but there was a tight reign on the library and the admin staff felt that students should be silent in the library at recess and lunch. I wanted to make the library welcoming to students as did the executive. This took some management of staff, who felt that students should be quietly reading books and resented having computers in the library.
I am back in the library now for another 2 terms and things have changed! Last year we had a Yr7 GATS class who regularly used the library for research and presentations. The style of these classes meant discussion in groups which the admin staff really disliked. I loved the hum of activity and supporting the students and staff. This year there are 2 GATS classes and the admin staff have gone on long service- then retirement. The new staff are much happier to have a busy library, making working together much easier.
This year I have worked with the GATS teachers groups in designing inquiry based projects, discussing whats working well and making adaptions to the program. The library seems to be more of a hub of the school and students enjoy working there. Our school is currently part of the National Partnerships program and have been working on Quality Teaching which has lead to promoting more collaboration. The GATS program has also meant teachers across curriculum working together. I have another 2 terms and am looking at collaborating with HSIE to incorporate some of their curriculum into library lessons with year 7 classes.
I initially felt that being in the library would involve being a facilitator and from my readings this is somewhat true. I would also like to change the view of many students that “reading is Gay”.