New Teacher-Librarians Rock

Checking in and Looking back on the first years of being a Teacher-Librarian


  • Jennifer L. Branch-Mueller University of Alberta
  • Joanne de Groot, PhD



Profession, Teacher-librarianship, Teacher-librarians


This study contributes to our understanding of the early experiences of teacher- librarians and brings in the framework of possible and provisional selves as a lens to examine teacher-librarian identity. Several themes emerged to help us better understand how new teacher-librarians experience the first three years as teacher- librarians. Participants told us their strongest memories included professional development, advocacy, professional change, making the library a safe space focused on learning, supporting staff and students in taking risks, and collection development. Barriers and challenges included technology, library time and budget cuts, making changes in the library, and sharing the TL position with another teacher. We saw these teacher-librarians modeling, presenting, providing evidence, creating safe learning spaces, helping staff take risks, becoming more confident in their abilities, and meeting the needs of their school community. They consider the importance of balance, letting things go, focusing on those teachers who want to learn with them, and working with administrators to make things happen. Valuable previous experiences included classroom teaching experience, dispositions, understanding the school context and connecting with administrators. Participants offered several key pieces of advice: promote, advocate, connect, organize, read, build relationships, and know your administration.