APL March Meeting
By Tammy Hays
Anthony Tilke, Head Librarian at Yokohama International School, gave an informative talk to APL on Saturday, March 1, 2003 at the International School of the Sacred Heart.
Anthony recently served on the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) Committee on Library and Information Services. His most recent book is Managing Your School Library and Information Service: A Practical Handbook.
He began his talk with a discussion of various library science employment issues and the importance of knowledge management, which is the management of information that will assist the entire organization. According to Anthony, it is up to the librarian to know what the users and the organization want and need.
The currency of skills or qualifications is another area of concern for librarianship, especially as the technology is so rapidly changing. It is easy for us to know when we need more training and need to update our skills. However, it is more difficult to create a standard for qualifications for librarianship.
More and more it seems that librarians are choosing to be librarians as their second career. Changing careers takes time, effort and cash. And being a librarian means making a commitment to life long learning and having flexible skills. Unfortunately, librarians salaries are not always taking into account the amount of education we must acquire to enter our profession.
What about the international aspects of librarianship? How do we make sure of the validity of qualifications? Do your qualifications match that of a new country? These are all questions we need to ask. It is hoped that IFLA may help with this in the future by creating qualification standards.
Professionalism and accountability are part of librarianship. According to Anthony, We are professionals; sometimes accountability takes on more of an effort and sometimes the balance gets off kilter.
Anthony is currently working on his PhD from Charles Stewart University in Australia, doing comparative research on the training of school librarians. His thesis title is What features of professional education and post-professional education and training makes an effective school librarian in their first ten years of practice: a comparative study of practice in Australia and Scotland.
He noted that everybody has a different way of doing things and that maybe there is a best way and maybe not, but he would like to find out. The UK image of school librarianship is of a dual qualified teacher/librarian. This sounded great at the time, but providing education, etc. can be a challenge and the question still remains whether these highly qualified professionals will see their efforts reflected in higher salaries.
Within countries, there are many different avenues to qualify as a school librarian. With this in mind, he then opened up the discussion to the room. Attendees were given the opportunity to speak about their backgrounds in libraries, including the steps taken toward becoming a librarian. We learned that there is a wide range of experiences in libraries among the APL membership.