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How to become a teacher librarian in Australia: careers in education

Working in both primary and secondary schools, teacher librarians have a unique role in the Australian education sector. They are responsible for identifying and providing appropriate resources that allow students to enhance their studies. They also play an important role familiarising students with information technology, as well as managing libraries and teaching distance education programs. Teacher librarians support the wider teaching staff in the school to improve literacy outcomes for students. To pursue a career as a teacher librarian, you’ll need a relevant tertiary qualification, generally in education or library studies.
Pathways

Being a teacher librarian: daily duties

Teacher librarians perform a variety of daily tasks. They need excellent communication skills in order to teach both staff and students to use information systems and to advocate for literacy improvements and library services. They also contribute to the development of curriculums and policies. Teacher librarians have a range of administrative responsibilities such as budget and staff management.

Tasks:

  • Teaching of research skills
  • Managing library resources and purchasing new materials
  • Development of policies and procedures
  • Familiarising students and teachers with library resources
  • End of year stocktakes and periodic weeding
Skills

Being a teacher librarian: skills for success

Strong communication skills, both in writing and verbally, are essential to be a teacher librarian, as well as good interpersonal skills and the ability to relate to children and young people. Teacher librarians need to be well organised and able to multi-task and prioritise effectively. They should also have basic financial management skills. A good understanding of curriculum and pedagogy and the fundamentals of library management and information studies are essential.
Skills/attributes
  • Time management and organisation skills
  • Ability to communicate with a variety of age groups
  • Understanding of current research methods and resources
  • Interest in improving literacy outcomes
Specs

Specialised roles within teaching

There are several career progression options for qualified teacher librarians if they would like to specialise. The information services skills and experience they have along with their understanding of the education sector and their management responsibilities opens up other opportunities.
  • Principal
    Principals are generally experienced teachers who work with education and administrative staff to guide the smooth functioning of the entire school. They have a strong understanding of the wider environment the school sits in, including curriculum development, budget and staff management.
  • Vocational Education and Training Lecturer
    Teacher librarians with a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment can lead workshops and courses for those who would like to learn more about or work in information services in teaching settings.
  • Library Manager
    With specialised skills in information management and retrieval, teacher librarians can move into roles in libraries outside of the education sector. Opportunities are available in public libraries, corporate libraries, parliamentary libraries as well as museums, archival and cultural services.
Pathways

Educational pathways for teacher librarians

To become a teacher librarian, you will need to have a teaching background or experience in library services. Teachers in Australia need a Bachelor level qualification and a further qualification in either education or information services.
  • Start your career
    Get the core skills you need for working in information services in education.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Find courses to build on your existing skills to advance your career as a tacher librarian.
  • Build your resume
    As a qualified teacher, you can expand your career opportunities by undertaking extra study in information services.
  • Industry requirements
    To work in the Australian school system, you’ll need to register with your state authority.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your education career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    There is demand for qualified teacher librarians and job opportunities in this field are increasing.

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