Thursday, January 21, 2010

I am so excited I can't stand it! The American Association of School Librairans has finally adopted "School Librarian" as the official term for the profession. If I could I would be doing cartwheels in the street! Here is the link to the short article in SLJ:

I am sure there are many school librarians who would prefer to, and do, call themselves by other titles. Teacher Librarian was popular in Canada and moved south of border, but it is truly one of my least favorite titles as to me a librarian, whether in a school, public or academic library, teaches. We all help people locate and use information and select leisure reading materials. In other words - we are all about teaching patrons every time we interact with one. Academic librarians are certainly involved in teaching information access skills as much as school librarians are. And, librarians in public libraries are often the ones children and teens turn to for homework help. School librarians got mixed up with educational media folks back in the 70s and, in my humble opinion, we have continued to lose professional credibility every since.

Below is my response to a colleague (who is not a school librarian) who thought the adoption of School Librarian was a step backward. It will become abundantly clear as you read this that Media Specialist is even further down my list of favorite titles than Teacher Librarian. And, for those of you who read this blog - you know I don't hold my punches when it comes to stating my opinion about things I am passionate about.

I am ecstatic that AASL has finally adopted a title that reflects our involvement/role in the library profession. The Association is, after all, the American Association of School Librarians. If we want to be on an equal footing with the other Divisions in ALA we School Librarians (I will always consider myself one) need to be as proud of being called Librarians as our Academic and Public Library colleagues. There will always be "sub-titles" for those who are specialized librarians, but the general title, Librarian, is timeless.

My students, while comparing school and public library services to youth, have frequently commented on the lack of accessible media in the so-called school media center in comparison to the public and academic libraries where non-print circulating materials have long been available to patrons. Students have limited or no access to the DVDs, CDs, and other non-print materials in a school library - they are for teachers only. So the term media specialist and media center never worked for me. And, it certainly didn't for the general public. Media specialist - someone who works for a TV station; someone who fixes media (filmstrips!) - but rarely thought of as a professional. The general public has great respect for librarians and it really doesn't matter what format materials are in for which we are the gatekeepers to or what we call the facility. Librarians can, and do, adapt to the changes in formats and modes of delivery of information. So, yes - as Evelyn says in this memorable quote from The Mummy (1999)

Evelyn: Look, I... I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
Rick: And what is that?
Evelyn: I... am a librarian.

Yup - I agree with this feisty film version of us - I AM A LIBRARIAN - said with head high and a big smile on my face!

Way to go AASL!!!!! And, I just added the above quote below my signature line on my email account. Will do so on my Yahoo one too but I don't have much time to check that one these days.

No book discussion in this posting as I need to get started on writing a quiz but I just had to share this with y'all! :-)