― Thomas Jefferson
Blog Task #1
Comment on the role of the teacher librarian (TL) in practice with regard to the convergence of literacies in the 21st century.
In today’s social, educational and informational realities, success is largely determined by one’s ability to access the world’s information, and today this necessitates a knowledge and understanding of a variety of literacies. Accordingly, more than ever the role of a TL – as information specialist and teacher –is to teach (Herring, 2007, p. 27).
The School Library Association of South Australia describes the TL’s role as being partly to aid students in using and expose them to a variety of resources and technologies, integrate ICT into education, and teach/encourage information literacy skills (SLASA, 2008, online). Indeed, the wide use of e-learning tools and digital resources today mean that information literacy is important, and consequently TLs have changing roles in how to teach students and staff different transferable skills about plagiarism, copyright and evaluating information (Herring, 2007, pp. 32-34).
Lankshear et al (2000, p. 25) ask us to see literacy as ‘ever-evolving’ with society and technologies, and O’Connell (2012, pp. 5, 7) uses the term ‘transliteracy’ to describe being literate in the 21st Century and beyond, where literacy is multi-modal. For example, more and more ICTs are being utilised in schools and incorporated into teaching and learning practices, requiring students to not only be print literate but also have operational skills in information literacy (Herring, 2007, p. 28). As such, TLs have a role in working with principals and teachers to make sure these various types of literacies and their interconnectedness are taught and used; they also have a role in decoding information systems for staff and students in a way that is accessible and useful to them (Herring, 2007, p. 31).
A TL has the role of empowering students with the ability to access and use information, in a variety of formats, effectively (Hamilton, 2011, p. 34).A trend affecting the role of the TL in the 21st Century will be the progression of more complicated search tools/technology; at the moment most searches are done via text, but in the future searchable attributes will include taste, speed, mass, and so on (Frey, 2012, online). This entails that users will not have the time or skills to use these search technologies and will require the services of a professional, in this case a TL, to show them (Frey, 2012, online).
The convergence of literacies has also led to such things as textbooks being now available as eBooks, and laptop/iPad programs in schools (O’Connell, 2012, p. 4). As such, it is now appropriate to educate students in a variety of connected literacies; the TL has a role in providing and collaborating with teachers to provide and work with information in a range of formats (O’Connell, 2012, p. 5). This could mean social media, print materials, eBooks, audio-visual material, mash-ups and so forth.
Thus it can be seen that in order to effectively participate in today’s society one needs to be literate in a variety of ways, and the TL as a bridge between teachers/assignments and technology/libraries has a role in effecting this.
ASLA. (2012). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Australian School Library Association. Retrieved from
Frey, T. (2012). The Future of Libraries. The DaVinci Institute, Inc. Retrieved from
Girolami, A. & Ryan, S. (2008). The role of the teacher librarian in learning and literacy. inCite, 29(5), 12.
Hamilton, B. (2011). The school librarian as teacher: What kind of teacher are you?. Knowledge Quest, 39(5), 34-40.
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. 27-41). Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.
Lankshear, C., Snyder, I. & Green, B. (2000). Understanding the changing world of literacy, technology and learning. In Teachers and Technoliteracy: Managing literacy, technology and learning in schools (pp. 23-47). St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
O’Connell, J. (2012). Learning without frontiers: School libraries and meta-literacy in action. Access, March 2012.
SLASA. (2008). SLASA Teacher Librarian Role Statement. Retrieved from