Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Teacher in the School Library

There's a lot to be said for having a library school-trained librarian in the elementary school library.  

But there's also a whole lot to be said for having an experienced and thoughtful teacher of reading as the librarian in an elementary school library.

Case in point:  Franki's got an excellent article over at Choice Literacy this week, "A Workshop Model in the Library: Time for More Than Book Checkout."  


  1. Franki,
    Just wanted you to know I absolutely LOVED your article this week. Can't wait to share it with our librarian!

    We must think alike. I've been reading aloud to a first grade class every day. I spent a week doing different versions of THREE BEARS, a week on THREE LITTLE PIGS, and will do THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF this week. Last week, I read Mo Willems' Pigeon and Elephant and Piggie. My favorite is the one where a bird builds a nest on Elephant's head. It's hilarious!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing your thinking about the library! I can't wait to read more!
    P.S. Sorry for such a long comment!

  2. I'm so glad you referenced Franki's article. When I read it Friday night, I was amazed at how much she has going on in the library!! How wonderful for all those students whose lives she touches on a regular basis!

  3. Anonymous10:38 AM

    That is so cool. Franki, you have some awesome ideas going in the library!

    My son's school library does a "Passport to Media" in which two children from each class (2nd-5th grades) can spend recess in the library, playing board games, doing a puppet show, building with Legos, etc.

  4. Anonymous11:11 AM

    Thanks Franki,

    I send this one to our librarian!

  5. Anonymous8:58 PM

    First let me say that I am a big fan of this blog and you both are great role models for educators. However, I do not see Franki as a role model for school librarian. School media specialists or teacher librarians should be instructional partners, not babysitters for planning periods. In my school, we have a mostly flexible schedule. My contribution to reader's workshop has been to facilitate bookclubs as well as provide open checkout so students may come daily. I also teach traditional library lesons (call number, Caldecott & Newbery, reference skills) as well as collaborative lessons on science and social studies. Today I taught 5th grade a lesson on presidential elections that included reading Grace For President, a lecture/class discussion on how the president is elected, a whiteboard activity to demonstrate how the electoral college works and a web activity using wireless laptops that let the students become president for a day. There was no library checkout during the lesson, but the majority of students had already checked out today during pen check out. While I'm sure Franki brings lots of knowledge to the library, every school library media program should have trained librarian, flexible access and flexible scheduling.

  6. Ha! A role model? I don't think I'll ever be a role model for school librarians. I am learning about the job every day and thinking hard about how I can combine what I know as a classroom teacher with the things I know from the great school librarians I've worked with. Our schedule-not flexible--is not my decision. It is the way our district works. And, of course I am teaching the library skills. I have worked in schools long enough to know that we are all working to make our schools good places for kids and literacy.

  7. Anonymous2:55 PM


    My comment was not intended to offend you; I'm sure you are bring many assets to your job as a former teacher. I'm also aware that schedule is not within your control although I think you should advocate for flexible scheduling. The State of North Carolina requires that librarians have a master's degree in library and information studies as well as teaching certification as a media coordinator. While classroom teachers do become librarians in our state, they are required to attend classes and achieve certification. Other states have decided to remove school librarians and replace them with paraprofessionals which is a sad practice. I'm not sure what Ohio requires and your education/experience is certainly none of my business, but a trained librarian brings their own skills to the job and not just anyone can fulfill that, regardless of their experience as a reading specialist.

  8. Anonymous7:27 PM

    I am a certified library media specialist with a masters degree in library science, plus a post-master certificate in teaching and school librarianship. I have ten years working experience in some of the best libraries in central Ohio. As I transitioned into school librarianship, I thought my coursework and experience would make it a breeze. It was a very difficult transition for me. It was overwhelming and exhausting. If it wasn't for the expertise of teachers and colleagues whom were non-librarians, I would have not made it. All the coursework in the world could not prepare me. I think the best librarians learn by taking risks, making mistakes, and having a sense of humor! I am so glad that A+ teachers are taking on the challenge to go back to school and to commit themselves as school librarians. WE NEED GREAT ONES.
    Yeah Franki and all the others out there who want to share the magic and excitement of reading with others! Libraries should be fun and hopeful places. Call Numbers and Caldecott are important, but so is getting kids excited about the magic of books--especially in an age of teaching by the test.
    Thank you to all those teachers who listened when I needed a shoulder, and have so willingly shared their knowledge with me.
    -Happy and Thankful Librarian

  9. Anonymous7:51 PM

    I loved the article that Franki wrote for Choice Literacy. Thanks Mary Lee for sharing the link!

    I'm sorry to read that the article has been controversial for a few readers. It did cross my mind that one of the librarians in the district would take offense if I shared the article with her. Despite that, I plan on sharing it with not only the librarians in my district, but our public librarians, and a friend who serves on the board of the local library.

    For some people, unfortunately, no matter how much training or coursework you have, it will never take the place of having a born or learned sense of how to work with children and/or adults. We can all probably think of some teachers we know with degrees out the wazoo, but no ability to ignite a child's love of reading or any other kind of learning.

    Keep up the great work Franki. I can't even imagine how hard you work with your school career, your blog, and new books coming out frequently. I'd love to continue to hear how your new job keeps you hopping.

    Best of luck,
    A Big Fan,


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