Dianne Oberg is sharing with us her thoughts about changing school culture and the role of the 21st century Teacher-Librarian in that change. She asks the question why school libraries are special libraries, special as in unique. School libraries serve the interest of the institution, serve a defined clientele and are often staffed by a sole librarian on site who reports to a supervisor, who is not a librarian. Also, the institution holds high expectations for librarians to contribute to the success of the enterprise.
Dianne makes the connection to Elizabeth Lee's earlier address to us. From Elizabeth's comments about the significance of context for successful school libraries, Dianne had an 'aha' about context and school culture. We can all look to the Ontario study regarding exemplary school libraries and context and to Dianne's research on Changing School Culture and begin to construct new personal understandings. This intersection of these two research studies shines a new light on re-imaging school libraries.
Dianne details the supports for change and re-imaging. They include a collaborative school culture, a principal who takes a collaborative approach to leadership and high expectations for students and staff -- 'intellectual quality'. In this regard, Dianne addresses Fullan's idea of moral purpose. With that in mind, she puts forth that the implementation of an integrated school library program involves changing the meaning of the school library in the minds of its users—teachers and students—but also in the minds of the teacher-librarian and other school leaders.
These simultaneously supportive and provocative ideas lead us to question the changing meaning of the school library in our own local contexts!