Your school librarian has more to offer than just story time, checking books in and out, and shelving books, says Stephanie DeYoung.

Teachers are busy but librarians are here to help! I am a High School Teacher Librarian. I have my bachelor’s degree, teaching credential, and master’s degree in ‘Library and Information Science.’ My specialties are research, edtech, digital citizenship and literacy, as well as providing a safe space for students. Librarians do not know everything, nor have we read every book, so we are thrilled to be invited into the classroom to work with you and know how to help you find the information you are looking for.

“A well-stocked school library with a qualified librarian can raise literacy rates, improve engagement in subjects, support mental health, encourage aspirations, empathy and understanding, and support learning outcomes.” – Joffre White

What we do

  • Curate material collections to enhance student learning
  • Support students’ literacy skills
  • Provide expertise in copyright and research
  • Teach digital literacy and digital citizenship skills
  • Test and implement EdTech
  • Source and create engaging resources and lessons
  • Help recommend books and reading selections
  • And lots more!

Research is our forte

Your librarian knows how to research. We are all inundated and bombarded with information, especially online. Our students have been labeled ‘digital natives,’ which is false. They know how to use devices and software to an extent, though being able to produce work that is properly researched, well, is lacking. Students need to learn how to research and how to determine the credibility and reliability of their sources. Not everything online is true. This is where librarians come in to help navigate, provide databases, and teach research techniques.

Digital literacy and citizenship are part of our wheelhouse. It is wonderful to teach pupils how to navigate databases and the internet, how to cite sources, and adhere to copyright. Students from a young age – especially in this era of digitally consuming information and the ease of copy and paste –need to learn to give credit to the original creator. They also need to understand that there are times when you need to ask permission before sharing. I like using examples of students’ artwork, LEGO creations, Minecraft builds, or anything else that is originally theirs and asking if they would like others to show off their creations without giving them credit. Librarians are very tech savvy and know the latest educational technology platforms. Having us in the classroom, especially during a research lesson, provides an extra teacher to work with your students.

Resources are our jam

Librarians can find resources for you and your students while you focus on your lessons. For example, a Venn Diagram to use in class after watching Disney’s movie, Coco, or after reading Funny Bones by Duncan Tonatiuh, to show the differences and similarities between Día de Los Muertos and Halloween and their histories. (FYI, Día de los Muertos is a Mexican Holiday to celebrate their family members that have passed. Not everyone celebrates it, and it is not Hallowe’en).

Another example of how I have enhanced pupils’ learning is when our students were learning about Civil Rights and segregation. I read Ruth and the Green Book which opened up lots of discussions. The students were asked to plan a trip from Detroit (the North) to Alabama (the South) using The Green Book to determine where they could stay, get gas, eat, etc. and we used Google Maps to support their navigation. The class connected with my high school friend whose parents hosted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr for dinner in their home. The class heard the story of the dinner and what Dr. King did for my friend’s mother. This was another opportunity for them to ask questions. They also saw a photo of her parents with Dr. King.

Talk to your librarian about a topic you’re interested in doing with your class. The librarian can gather both digital and physical resources and tools. Librarians understand accessibility and privacy, so you’re covered! Teachers have students with various needs in their classrooms and librarians can provide great accessibility resources to help meet those needs.

Kickstart the collaboration

One of our superpowers is collaboration. A physical building is not needed to do this. Here are a few ways to kickstart collaboration. When introducing a research lesson that has been worked on together with your librarian, it is important to have that librarian in the classroom to help provide information and resources. This will show the librarian and your students that you are a united front, working together to bring them engaging lessons.

Stephanie's 'Banned book' display in her school library. A shelf of books has caution tapes over it with the sign 'Banned books week' on the top of the bookcase.

Research has shown time and time again how a school library program can bolster a school’s overall student achievement when librarians and teachers collaborate as partners.

Working with your librarian should be a joy, as we have the knowledge and tools to connect educators with lessons, materials, free educational platforms, and more. We have tried them out before showing them to you. We want to work with you to make life easier for you and provide your students with valid information, help them find good books, prepare for the future, and more.

More resources to support your librarian – teacher collaboration.

Author

  • Stephanie De Young

    Stephanie is a teacher librarian in California. She has been a school librarian for over 15 years in private and public schools. She is 2022 EVERFI's Teacher Ambassador of the Year. Stephanie is enthusiastic about connecting with students and making the library a safe and welcoming place for all, as well as teaching students researching, digital citizenship and library skills.
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