Librarian as Teacher, Librarian as Learner

In participatory culture, we are teachers at the same time we are learners.  An ecological view of the world sees the interconnectedness of all things and recognizes the need for deep disciplinary knowledge, and the appropriate placing of that knowledge within the interdisciplinary constructs of real life.

As information professionals, we contribute expert knowledge in the hyperlinked library, but we situate that expertise amongst the interests and information needs of our users. In order to do so, we must learn from our users and engage in meaningful conversations with them. As such, in the hyperlinked library, we are librarian teachers and librarian learners.

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Beyond the Walled Garden paints a beautiful picture of what this looks like as librarians create environments for new forms of information use, reuse and sharing, as well as a climate that fosters informal mentorship (Stephens, 2011). Teaching and learning in the hyperlinked library takes place through learning and exploring together, through the development of new services and the collaborative creation of knowledge. The hyperlinked library, by its very nature, forces us to engage our imagination due to its two-way conversations, fluid access to linked knowledge, and ever-changing technologies. Because of the dynamic nature of all of these elements, the hyperlinked library can also become a place of ‘play’ and innovation and experimentation.

The hyperlinked librarian must always remain agile – and that requires a posture that recognizes self as teacher librarian and learner librarian.


Stephens, M. (2011). Beyond the Walled Garden: LIS Students in an Era of Participatory Culture. SLIS Student Research Journal, 1:2, San Jose State University. Retrieved at .

2 thoughts on “Librarian as Teacher, Librarian as Learner

  1. Gorgeous graphic and your synthesis of my article and your own reflection is strong. I am glad you highlight agility. I think it may be a prominent factor in future success for libraries.

  2. It is very interesting to see how libraries and librarians are changing even though many people still think of us as the up tight old lady that shushes people. We have to find ways to show people the library is more than just books.

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