Thank you Blanche for the inspiring post. I think you have cut to the heart of one of the main barriers that librarians face in terms of identity. We can be limited by how others see us, but we are also limited by how we see and describe ourselves. I know you were focussing on school vs academic librarians, but I was really struck by your sentence:
“you, the school librarian, may be the only teacher in the school who can move students beyond that spoon feeding to pick up their own spoon and choose which bowl to test first.”
A major issue we have, certainly in the UK where there is no tradition of the teacher-librarian, no teacher training as part of librarianship courses and the majority of librarians are not qualified teachers, is that we do not self-identify as teachers – and certainly subject teachers would not describe us in that way. I am in the slightly odd position of having previously been a subject teacher in the secondary school where I am now a librarian and every now and then (often when I have just finished teaching or team-teaching a lesson with them) a subject teaching colleague will ask me whether I am ever tempted to ‘go back into teaching’. I understand exactly what they mean because my job as a librarian is very different to my job as a subject teacher, but I think it is an indication that there is a sense that even though we do teach, we are not regarded (and often would not regard ourselves) as teachers. Changing the way we think, speak and write about ourselves may be an important first step in realising our potential in our schools.