Castle Librarian

IB Curriculum and Libraries

In Librarianship, Musing on March 16, 2014 at 9:06 pm

In my job hunt, I’m finding that lack of experience working at an International Baccalaureate institution trumps a Master’s degree, 20 years of experience, and international teaching experience, resulting in my early elimination from the candidate pool. This leads me to ask how is library service to the IB curriculum uniquely different from library service to any other school curriculum?

Here’s what I understand about IB curriculum.

“The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.” IBO mission

The curriculum focuses on guiding students to be well rounded global citizens, mindful of other people, other cultures, and planetary concerns. The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking skills, a variety of intelligences (ways of knowing), areas of knowledge, and ways of interacting.

Here’s how I would describe library services in a nutshell:
Gather, organize and disseminate information. Teach others to access and utilize information ethically.

How does IB curriculum impact or change library services?

1. Selection of library materials (print and electronic) – everything must relate to the curriculum and support it. Even fiction is related to the curriculum. This isn’t unique to IB schools. Every school library collection should be built to support the school’s curriculum.

2. Information literacy instruction – IB curriculum is probably the best example of information literacy being integrated into the curriculum. The key to successful information literacy instruction is delivery at point of need. Close collaboration with teachers to bring students to the library and make sure they receive instruction on how to access and use information related to an actual information need project is vital.

3. Library environment – Libraries used to be places that people had to go to obtain information. That is no longer true because we have powerful information devices in our pockets. Libraries need to be welcoming, social spaces. Students will come for a place to be alone and for a place to be with others. The library should have a variety of spaces for a variety of activities. Events and programs should be provided to bring students into the library space. Book clubs, board gaming, video book review production, poetry readings, guest authors, quiet times, etc. The timing of these activities should correlate to the curriculum.

The impact of the curriculum on library services lies in the finer details – selecting the right resources, timing the teaching, and planning supportive activities. The heart of librarianship is the same.

I hope that after reading this, if you are weighing a Master’s degree, 20 years of librarianship and international teaching experience against no previous IB experience, the scales will tip in my favor.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: