Teaching librarians are always seeking opportunities to improve their professional practice. Traditional forms of professional and personal development—attending workshops and conferences and reading the scholarly and practitioner literature—are valuable and useful, but often ignore the powerful personal connections we have between colleagues. Using a narrative approach, this article will provide two teacher librarians’ stories about their experiences with team teaching as a method of professional development. Turning the traditional mentorship model on its head, each librarian contributed equally to the relationship and took the risk of being vulnerable in order to learn from one another. A newer librarian, looking to expand her teaching toolkit, become acculturated to her new institution, and develop her teacher identity, taught alongside an experienced librarian looking for new teaching techniques, a way to prevent “burnout,” and a more intentional and reflective approach to teaching. In addition, the authors will discuss the theoretical underpinnings of the benefits of team teaching and will provide recommendations for others through an account of how they planned, managed the classroom, and assessed student work.
This article uses the co-teaching experiences of workshop instructors at the University of Nevada, Reno Libraries as a basis for an in-depth exploration of the factors that lead to successful co-teaching arrangements among librarians and other information professionals. The experiences of these instructors demonstrate that co-teaching can provide numerous benefits: It can enhance the learning experience for students, it can provide a method for refining teaching skills, it can promote successful collaborations across departments, and it can bring innovative ideas into the classroom. Drawing on collaboration research from the Wilder Foundation, this study found that successful co-teaching relationships are characterized by factors related to environment, partnerships, process and structure, communication, purpose, resources, and external/long-term considerations. Within these seven areas, guidelines for successful co-teaching relationships have been formulated for use by librarians and other information professionals.