Natural transitions: From K-12 to U.S. academic library instructors

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the decision of former traditional K-12 teachers in the USA who chose a new career path in academic libraries. It focuses on their successes and challenges in higher education settings. Design/methodology/approach – This study uses a qualitative-methods approach which includes a brief questionnaire. Findings – Findings indicate that former K-12 teachers leave their traditional teaching professions due to bureaucracy but because they enjoy teaching, they seek other opportunities in education. The research also reveals that many of the participants continue to use their K-12 training in their current instruction positions as academic librarians. Research limitations/implications – Future research on this topic should look into more proactive ways of recruiting K-12 teachers into positions of information literacy instructor in academic libraries. Practical implications – Those responsible for hiring information literacy instruction librarians will learn the benefits of hiring former K-12 teachers. The paper will also help encourage academic library leaders to help fund more training opportunities for information literacy librarians. Social implications – All around the USA, academic libraries are fostering opportunities for their students to become information literate in the hopes of helping students succeed in college-level research. As more former K-12 teachers are hired in higher education academic instruction librarian positions, it could help students make a smoother transition from high school to college-level researchers. Originality/value – This research shows that former K-12 teachers could be a valuable asset to higher education academic libraries. Keywords: Academic libraries, Library instruction, Information literacy, Instruction librarian, Teachers, K-12, Career change, United States of America Paper type: Research paper