Collaboration + Integration = A Library Program Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

Collaboration + Integration = A Library Program Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

Michelle L. Maniaci (School District of Fort Atkinson, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4361-1.ch019
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Collaboration between classroom teachers and school librarians is widely promoted as best practice. While the concept itself is easily understood, the path to collaboration can seem elusive. One of the essential tasks of school librarians is to integrate information and technology skills with the core curriculum. This translates into instruction that has an authentic purpose and occurs at the time of need. This chapter portrays collaboration as one of several important aspects of a small elementary school library program in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Highlights of the program include flexible scheduling, curriculum, standards and assessment, and stakeholder support. Research presented in the chapter provides a rationale for adding flexible scheduling, curricular and standards-based focus, and assessment to a library program in order to promote collaboration.
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Why Collaborate?

Frazier (2010) outlined benefits of teacher/librarian collaboration and found they exist for both staff and students.

One benefit to staff is access to and assistance with new technology and a variety of material types. Some staff members are reluctant to experiment with technology on their own; others may want to use new tools but have difficulty finding time to learn how to use them seamlessly in front of students. Collaborating with a librarian can help eliminate the anxiety of introducing something new, as well as the work involved in preparing to teach students the how-to aspects of a piece of technology.

Collaboration also provides extra support to teachers when they team up with a librarian on inquiry-based projects. Librarians offer priceless assistance on all aspects of research including guiding students through a formal research process, citing sources, plagiarism pitfalls, access to both print and nonprint resources and resource evaluation. The American Association of School Librarians’(AASL) Position Statement on Flexible Scheduling (2011b) referred to classroom teachers as “subject specialists” (experts of content and student needs) and librarians as “process specialists” (experts of resources and student inquiry). When these two fields of expertise meld together, learning becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved, especially students.

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