What are Saskatchewan School Libraries?
School libraries are information resource centres housed within schools. The role of school libraries is to provide schools, students, and teachers with access to a wide variety of information resources that are chosen to support the curriculum. School library collections consist of fiction (chapter books), easy fiction (children’s literature), and non-fiction materials. They also include audio-visual materials, multimedia, and online resource tools.
School libraries offer programs and services designed to achieve the educational goals of the school. These programs and services ensure the effective use of information resources. In particular, teacher-librarians collaborate with teachers to create lesson plans that incorporate information literacy into the learning process. Studies have shown that school libraries and teacher-librarians improve the quality of education because they teach students how to find, synthesize, and present information in an organized way, so that students can become capable of informed decision-making.
Library Technician Roles in School Libraries
Operating within the domain of the education system, the library technician will work with the teacher-librarian and will provide specialized support services in the school resource centre. The library technician must have the ability to communicate and cooperate with students and staff of the educational institution they work in.
Duties of a library technician can include filing, cataloguing, circulation of library materials, assisting students and staff in the use of reference materials, audio-visual equipment maintenance and operation, and doing bibliographic searches.
In Saskatchewan, job opportunities for library technicians in school libraries depend on the school district. Some school divisions may have funds to hire technicians to support the work of teacher-librarians, while others may not.
Teacher-Librarian Roles in School Libraries
The role of the teacher-librarian is twofold. They are educators who teach from K-12 and they are librarians who manage a given school's library collection. As a consequence of their two roles, a teacher-librarian's day can involve instruction in reading and research as well as maintaining, and updating the school collection.
Teacher-librarians are full-fledged and equal members of the teaching staff in elementary schools and high schools. They work closely with teaching staff to incorporate information literacy learning into school lessons and activities. In this role they teach students to locate information, evaluate it, and synthesize it.
Teacher-librarians also manage the operation and development of the school resource centre. This task involves knowledge of all aspects of library management, database systems, classification, acquisitions, and cataloguing. Teacher-librarians may supervise support staff, such as library technicians, clerks, or volunteers, who assist with the routine tasks required to maintain the library.
In Saskatchewan, not all schools have access to fully qualified teacher-librarians. These schools may have lower enrollment and fewer resources for hiring a teacher-librarian. Because of this trend, often a single teacher-librarian will be hired to serve an entire educational region.
Other Jobs in School Libraries
Clerks may be employed by schools to support the day to day maintenance of school libraries.
A library clerk is most often responsible for shelving material; they may do some circulation work as well. They may do bibliographic searches and they can do minor book repair. Clerks unload, sort and retrieve library materials. They may undertake any other routine tasks assigned by the teacher-librarian.
In Saskatchewan school libraries, the type of clerks employed depends on the library. Those school libraries that cannot afford additional staff may find volunteers to do clerk-type work. There is no formal post-secondary education required for these positions. Grade 12 may or may not be required depending on the library and nature of the work.
School Library Associations
Saskatchewan School Library Association (SSLA) http://www.ssla.ca/
Canadian Association for School Libraries http://www.cla.ca/casl/index.html
International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) http://www.iasl-online.org/