IFLA SL Newsletter

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Education for school librarians in Flanders (Belgium)

By Bruno Vermeeren
The Flemish Library and Archive

What do you have to do if you want to become a school librarian in Flanders (Belgium)? The answer is fairly simple: nothing. Formally, the job doesn’t exist. And training to become one, doesn’t exist either. Yet there are school librarians in Flanders. They are either teachers with a teacher’s degree or librarians with a library degree. Some teachers running a school library have a degree in librarianship and in a way they are ‘teacher librarians’.

There are three levels of library education in Flanders. There is a one year introductory course, the so-called ‘initiation’ that – until 2001 – used to be a prerequisite for working in a public library. There is also a four year ‘graduate’ education in librarianship. The ‘graduate’ – a kind of ‘professional bachelor’ – also comprises the courses of the ‘initiation’. The graduate is a general education covering all aspect of librarianship, including aspects such as management, communication and marketing. There are courses in public librarianship, scientific and academic librarianship and in archives, but not in school librarianship. The education includes practical training in libraries, including school libraries.

Initiation and graduate are ‘modular’: students can choose which modules they want to study and when and where. That is, in theory, because library schools are not offering all modules at the same time.

There is also a master education in information and library science at the University of Antwerp. This master covers the general aspects of library work, but focuses more on technical aspects such as database design and the development of information systems. School librarianship is not treated separately and even information literacy (IL) as such is not part of the curriculum, although some courses focus on aspects of IL.

Presently, there is no way for students with a ‘graduate’ to get access to the master. Library schools and the University of Antwerp are trying to solve this problem.

Some library schools organise courses for professional development. None of them specifically aim at school librarians, but some of them are very interesting for school librarians. The Library School from Ghent has a long tradition in professional development courses and offers e.g. a course in working with children’s books.

references (information in Dutch only)

www.vvbad.be/00e_instap/Opleidingen.html overview of library and archive education in Flanders

www.bibliotheekschool.be Library School of Ghent

www.ua.ac.be/ibw University of Antwerp, Library and Information Science 

January 14, 2007 Posted by | 2. Issue 42, 3. Theme:42: SL-education, Belgium | Leave a comment