Activity: Compare and contrast the views of Herring, Purcell, Lamb and Valenza.

How should TLs prioritise the roles they play in the school?

It is through exploring the readings by Herring, Purcell, Lamb and Valenza that one can have an appreciation of and further understand what it is to be a Teacher Librarian in the 21st Century and how multi-faceted the role is. All four authors outline a range of roles that librarians are involved in but to be effective they must prioritise these roles. Herring (2007, 31) states that these priorities need to be made “according to the current needs of students, staff and parents in the school community.” The role of the librarian is no longer just about the management of physical resources but it has shifted towards there being an ‘abundance of information and technological advances’ (Purcell, 2010 p. 33) which means that Teacher Librarians need to keep up with these changes in order to most effectively assist their school community.

Are there other roles played by TLs e.g. social roles?

A variety of roles may be played by the Teacher Librarian and be viewed as important within the library context. Face to face contact is of prime importance but by playing a social role and utilising available social networking systems in promoting and developing the library, the TL is able to build communications, connections and welcoming environments with and for all stakeholders (Lamb, 2011) to ensure that teaching and learning happens in the best context.

How do Lamb’s views on the TLs role compare and contrast with those of Herring and Purcell?

The three authors hold similar views on the Teacher Librarian’s role as being increasingly pivotal in academic life, influenced by technology playing a part of larger importance than it used too and that all school community members need to participate and collaborate to achieve best learning outcomes. Lamb presents the role of a TL through the use of an artist’s ‘palette’ (Lamb, 2011, p27) of resources in dealing with the ever changing situations they are faced with: people, administration, learning, electronic  information, technology, teaching and environments (Lamb, 2011), and reflects on the best means of utilising these resources.  Purcell outlines the five facets of the TL role as being leader, instruction partner, information specialist, teacher and program administrator, stating that they all balance the position and need to be referred to in reflection and evaluation of practice (Purcell, 2010). Herring also describes the role of the Teacher Librarian as ‘multi-faceted’ (Herring, 2007, p 30) but focuses on ‘an educational as opposed to an administrative role (Herring, 2007, p 32) in providing optimum benefit to the school community


What existing tasks/roles do you think you as a TL could give up in order to be as proactive as Lamb and Valenza want you to be?

My current role within the school is not as a Teacher Librarian, but as a classroom teacher I know effective communication between staff is essential in promoting a cohesive learning environment to guide students in their learning endeavours.  I envisage exploring and utilising a range of technologies and resources to suit the spectrum of learning methods, all influenced by the school and library mission statements. In order to be as proactive as possible I feel innovation and  adaptation need to be used to address budget constraints , for example, clerical duties could be distributed amongst other staff or community members and to allow the Teacher Librarian to engage more broadly and effectively in the school community.


Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library.  In S. Ferguson (Ed.), Libraries in the twenty-first century: Charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42).  Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice to improve learning, 55(4), 27-36.

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection 29(3), 30-33.

Valenza, J. (2010). A revised manifesto.  In School Library Journal. Retrieved from                 



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