The School of Library and Information Science is located just an hour from Berkeley at San José State University , where the fully online "Teacher Librarian" program is offered via e-mail. I had the opportunity to discuss this program with Mary Ann Harlan, the Teacher Librarian Program Coordinator.
The program offers teachers a credential that prepares them to work in school libraries in California. Over 100 students are currently enrolled in the program. The focus is on training students to teach information literacy effectively. Of course they must also be "educational technological experts" as well as maintain inventories and manage budgets, but the focus is on the pedagogical component. This focus is also reflected in the style of teaching. Whether in online lessons, reflecting upon one's own ideas or a discovery approach – instructors seem to be very creative in their own lessons. Various standards are used for support including ACRL, AASL and CA State Standards.
Even students enrolled in other library science degree programs and who later wish to work at academic or public libraries take courses on "designing instructional programs" in which they learn how to deal with pedagogical principles.
I ask Mary Ann Harlan about incorporating information literacy into school lessons and school curriculum. She describes that while information literacy is part of English lessons in California, even more resources could be put into training teachers to make these lessons more up to date. I find it interesting that, according to Mary Ann Harlan, information literacy is institutionalized more as media literacy – an observation that I see as being the exact opposite in Germany. In Baden-Württemberg there are continuous efforts to add media and information literacy to the state's curriculum, which is updated at regular intervals. The State Media Centers (Landesmedienzentren) in particular are active in this regard, but professional associations for librarians are also trying to put forward their positions. At the same time, it is still the case that what ends up in schools depends on the individual teachers' own preferences and knowledge based on their media and information behavior – at least that has been my experience. On the other hand, for quite some time German schools have been placing a great deal of emphasis on writing independent papers, thus leading many students to come to public and academic libraries. As a state library we thus offer our own program for school classes, as well as individual advising and workshops. I also know that other libraries are making extensive efforts to intensify and institutionalize such collaborations, e.g. the "Framework of Reference on Information Literacy" ("Referenzrahmen Informationskompetenz") developed by the Library and School Commission (Kommission Bibliothek und Schule) of the German Library Association (Deutscher Bibliotheksverband – dbv) and the "Regensburg Libraries for Schools" project ("Regensburger Bibliotheken für Schulen").
The Teacher Librarian program is aimed at school librarians. School libraries have a different tradition in the United States than in Germany – and I have already written intensely about school libraries in Germany and the United States in this blog. But if you just take the title of the program and allow your mind to wander, this can also change how you see yourself as a librarian. Similar things also come to mind when you read titles such as "Digital Initiatives Manager", "Educational Technology Manager", etc. If language constructs reality, then why don't we German librarians start calling ourselves something more creative and focus on what is really important to us in our job titles? The impression that sticks with me is this: The fact that there is a library science program with the word "Teaching" in the title can help to further strengthen this aspect of our profession.