Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Challenges High School Librarians Face in Light of the Senior High School Program

Last April 25, 2016, on a Monday, three high school librarians from Don Bosco Makati came to see us at the Academy. They were Anna, Zita and Theo. They spent half a day with us in conversation on library services for high school students, the changes that librarians need to manage in light of the Senior High School curriculum and PAASCU accreditation.

With Zita, Theo and Anna of Don Bosco Makati High School
Needless to say, it was an interesting visit since they had a glimpse of the programs and services we do at the Academy and I, once more, heard a first hand account of the challenges that high school librarians face. It is plenty, the challenges, and it is common to all. Perhaps in context, there are differences, but it is all strung on one thread. 

Here are the challenges that stood out from our conversation. All of it are my observations and has no bearing yet on actual research or school library literature. Maybe, someone reading my blog can pick this up for further study or research.

Challenge #1 - The school library is a warehouse.

For many teachers and students, they perceive the school library as a warehouse, a bookstore type of department in the school and not as a structure to support learning. Nor is it seen as a learning laboratory filled with resources of varying formats selected using standards and criteria that are well thought out. Furthermore, the services and programs that the school library provides or implement do not speak of instructional, cultural and community based objectives. This challenge is two-way. It is one thing that librarians know the school library's role and another if members of the community do not.

Something to think and do: How can the librarian transition from technical and clerical roles and move into instructional and educating roles? 

Challenge #2 - The school librarian is a custodial clerk.

Where is the library found in the organizational chart of the school? If it is still in the ancillary services it follows that the school librarian is not an academic staff. School librarians fulfill a teaching role. Deny this, then get another job. If school leaders do not know this, it is the school librarian's professional and moral duty to inform them. This is one of the many reasons why we have a professional license. We must use it well!

Something to think and do: How can librarians communicate their professional worth and relevance to their school leaders?

Challenge #3 - The school librarian works in isolation.

Can we look at the professional development activities we attend? How many library organizations offer mentoring and coaching programs for continuing professional education of school librarians? What agencies and networks can school librarians tap to grow steadily in the profession?

Something to think and do: How can we strike the balance between growing personally and advancing professionally?

Challenge #4 - SHS  resources are scarce.

I am not talking about textbooks, but resources that will supplement and enrich the SHS curriculum. 

Something to think and do: How do we plan our collection development program that mirrors the SHS curriculum? 

Challenge #5 - Who is the young adult reader?

If you don't know them, where do you get the context for your library services and programs?

Something to think and do: It's about time we talk about YOUNG ADULT LIBRARY SERVICES in the country. I will start this through my blog.

See what a library visit can do? Amazing, isn't it?!

1 comment:

Candy Gourlay said...

Very interesting peek into evolving attitudes to librarians and school libraries. Your schools are lucky to have you and I hope more schools in RP realise the powerful human resource they have in their libraries. I wish you the best.

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