Collaborating with teacher librarians to support adolescents’ literacy and literature learning

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy


International Literacy Association


School of Education




Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. Grant Number: 2017003


Merga, M. K. (2019). Collaborating with teacher librarians to support adolescents’ literacy and literature learning. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 63(1), 65-72. Available here


The author explores teacher librarians’ ideas about teacher collaborations around literacy and literature learning, roles in collaborations, and the characteristics of good collaborations. Productive and strong collaborations between librarians in schools and their teacher colleagues can enhance students’ learning experiences and outcomes. Semistructured interview data were collected from teacher librarians at 25 schools. The author reports on teacher librarians’ identification of a range of barriers to collaboration in contemporary literacy‐learning contexts and explores the multiple roles that teacher librarians may adopt in collaborative relationships, identifying 11 characteristics of strong collaborations as identified by teacher librarians, which encompass diverse interpersonal qualities and professional activities. Findings offer ideas to enhance the quality of teacher–librarian collaboration, improving literacy outcomes for adolescent students.

Not all literacy learning occurs in the typical classroom in school. School libraries can be dynamic spaces in which literacy and literature learning are fostered, because “in schools, libraries are places where text, technology, and literacy converge in concentrated form” (Kapitzke, 2001, p. 451). In this article, I explore teacher librarians’ views on the current state of these collaborations, the kinds of roles that teacher librarians may play, and how teachers and teacher librarians can make collaborative relationships stronger and more effective. My intent is to support high school teachers who wish to work more effectively with their teacher librarians to make the most of learning beyond the classroom.



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