IFLA SL Newsletter

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Is There an Education of School Librarians in Sweden?

By Bibi Eriksson
Malmö högskola – Lärarutbildningen

Malmö – Sweden

School libraries in Sweden, like school libraries all over the world, look very different. And school librarians look very different. And the educational background of the school librarians looks most different. The Swedish educational system is managed by objectives and is very much decentralized. Local authorities control a great deal in the Swedish schools under the umbrella of a lot of policy documents from the government. In the Swedish curriculum the school library is seldom mentioned. The school library is mentioned as the responsibility of the headmaster and for the upper secondary school as a task for teachers. In the curriculum the school library is mentioned mostly in relationship to the Swedish language education. Information literacy is mentioned in other words here and there and with ”school library glasses” you can see the school library hidden here. From ”Lpo 94 http://www.skolverket.se/sb/d/471/url the curriculum for the compulsory school: Pupils should be able to keep their bearings in a complex reality where there is a vast flow of information and where the rate of change is rapid. This is why methods of acquiring and using new knowledge and skills are important. It is also necessary for pupils to develop their ability to critically examine facts and relationships and appreciate the consequences of the various alternatives facing them”. From the curriculum for the Swedish language in the compulsory school: ”Fiction gives knowledge about children’s, women’s and men’s living conditions during all ages and in all countries. Literature also gives you an ordinary days perspectives and can give you answers to vital questions. In The Libraries Act you can read: ”Within the nine-year compulsory school and upper secondary school there should be suitably distributed school libraries in order to stimulate In the upper secondary schools, where over 90% of the Swedish youth are, there are well functioning libraries with educated librarians. These librarians are educated in one of the five universities in Sweden with the right to give master library degree with the possibility of specialization in different ways but not especially for work in schools. One of the universities with master program in library and information science is specialized in pedagogic. In the compulsory schools the situation is a lot harder. Half of the schools have not got a library with a librarian working five hours a week. A variety of persons work as school librarian and they have different backgrounds, different training and different levels of competence. More and more of them are trained librarians; here we find teachers and other kinds of pedagogical staff with or without courses in school librarianship. Here we also can find other staff categories who work parttime. There has never been a vocational training for school librarianship. There has been a short element of school librarianship in teacher education but in the new teacher education this subject hopefully is found during the practice. During the practice the teacher students are supposed to meet and learn about lot of things, for example the school library. There are also longer courses at Malmö University http://www.nav.mah.se/edu/katalog/ lut and Gotland University http:// mainweb.hgo.se/index.nsf . In Malmö you can study School Library 1-10 credits and 11-20 and in Gotland you can study Play, Search, Read, Learn 1-20 credits. The course in Malmö has the concentration on the school library as a pedagogical tool, inquirybased method courses by the net. At Uppsala University you can combine teacher training with a master course in Library and Information Science and in this way get a double competence, you will become both teacher and librarian. But this training does not concentrated on school librarianship. Besides there is now and then courses up to 5 credits in school librarianship at Swedish universities. This means that staff working in school libraries in compulsory schools have no or very short academic education on school librarianship. In some municipalities with school library centres there could be introductory courses for teachers and librarians starting their work in school libraries. There are several organizations working for school libraries offer educational opportunities. National School Library http://www.skolbiblioteksgruppen. is a network of Swedish working for school library The National School inspire everybody working school to pay attention of well functioning school Organizations in the authorities, trade unions professional organizations. will pay attention to for the school library pedagogical renewal national basis to support development and school a perspective of school Skolbibliotek.se, Swedish School Library Associations http://www.skolbibliotek. union for regional association similar aims and the Group for Pedagogic Swedish Library Association http://www.biblioteksforeningen. To sum up there is no for school librarians our school libraries there trained librarians or or without very short school librarianship. opinions in the question education needed in work. Some people think librarians are the only others think that a teacher the specialization towards librarianship is a better people think that a master and Information Science all kinds of libraries that the school library differs from other kinds that another background Our School Minister the school library and of national projects in there is very little talk the field. In the dividing two professions, the librarian, there it is hard “Go for libraries!” Put the school libraries go for bilingual education! advice from School minister Baylan to schools in with the ambition to pupils. Bibi Eriksson


January 8, 2007 - Posted by | 2. Issue 42, 3. Theme:42: SL-education, Sweden

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