I have been travelling on an inquiry journey in education for many years. I have stopped along the way and explored different approaches and now my exploration has taken a new path. I am stepping into the role of librarian in a PYP (Primary Years Program) school. I still have many questions about the most effective way to guide the students in my care along their learning journeys. I want to ensure that the time they spend with me allows them to maintain their natural curiosity, and yet still provide them with the tools they need to be 21st century learners. Hence my question: What is the Librarian’s Role in the Inquiry Classroom?
Kuhlthau, (2010) discusses inquiry in the form of “an innovative movement in education that advocates acquiring essential skills and knowledge through an inquiry approach to teaching and learning.” We as educators need to consider what it is our students need to acquire to help drive their own learning. We are their guides and our role as educators is to “equip students with abilities and competencies to meet the challenges of an uncertain, changing world.” (Kuhlthau 2010) We have the resources, however as educators we need to also keep learning and questioning ourselves, to be useful guides in the inquiry process.
The school library is the place that “we see a need for students to develop a broader repertoire of meanings ………with stronger links to intellectual interaction in the pursuit of understanding the world.” (Limberg,Alexandersson, 2003). It has come to my understanding after reading a range of articles that the school library of today needs to change. It can’t just be seen as the room of books. We need to instil in our students and school community that this space is one for learning, exploring ideas, creativity and much more. There is so much that a library space can provide to today’s community of learners and it is educating and collaborating with other educators, that the real potential of a library space for its learners can be achieved.
School libraries have standards to deliver to students. The American Association of School Librarians (2013, p.43) suggests “the school library program models an inquiry-based approach to learning and the information search process.” That librarians should be supporting classroom programs and helping build learner’s prior knowledge to help them understand what they are learning. My understanding from reading this text and other articles is that a librarian is part of the guiding role. Kuhlthau, (2010) suggests that “guided inquiry enables students to learn how to learn by becoming aware of the learning process.” The goal of a collaborative team in this approach to guiding students, is a big focus, that the team works with the students, using planned, targeted mediation when required to help students achieve their learning goals.
I hope that the Curated Collection I have created helps other librarians think about their role in a collaborative team, for an inquiry classroom. Personally, as a result of my research, I have gained new ideas and perspectives, to be more effective, and directed in delivering inquiry learning in a library space.
American Association of School Librarians. (2013). Empowering Learners : Guidelines for School Library Programs. AASL Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/qut/reader.action?docID=10751717
Kuhlthau, C. (2010). Guided Inquiry: School Libraries in the 21st Century. School Libraries Worldwide. Volume 16, Number 1, 17-28. Retrieved from http://wp.comminfo.rutgers.edu/ckuhlthau2/wp-content/uploads/sites/185/2016/02/GI-School-Librarians-in-the-21-Century.pdf
Limberg, L., Alexandersson,M. (2003). The School Library as a Space for Learning . School Libraries Worldwide Volume 9, Number 1, 1-1 5. Retrieved from http://hb.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:870341/FULLTEXT01