Library Media Staffing
School library media specialists are the professional, certificated staff members charged with the daily operation of the library media program at the school level. They have the primary responsibility for the library media center functions (i.e., evaluation and selection; ordering and processing; utilization of media; organization of the library media collection; circulation of library media materials; production of original media; and management of instructional equipment), as well as providing instruction. In the execution of these functions, library media specialists must assume several distinct roles, including:
Leadership is integral to developing a successful 21st-century SLMP. As information literacy and technology skills become central to learning, the SLMS must lead the way in building 21st-century skills throughout the school environment. Doing so involves a willingness to serve as a teacher and a learner who listens to and acts upon good ideas from peers, teachers, and students. Leadership also requires increased professional commitment and thorough knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing the profession. By becoming an active member of the local and global learning community, the SLMS can build relationships with organizations and stakeholders to develop an effective SLMP and advocate for student learning.
As outlined in Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning, the SLMS works with members of the school community to develop the policies, practices, and curricula to guide student learning. The SLMS collaborates with classroom teachers to develop assignments that are matched to acadmic standards and include key critical thinking skills, technology and information literacy skills, and core social skills and cultural competencies. The SLMS guides instructional design by working with the classroom teacher to establish learning objectives and goals, and by implementing assessment strategies before, during, and after assigned units of study. In a 24-7 learning environment, communication with classroom teachers and students now takes place virtually, as well as face-to-face.
As an information specialist the SLMS uses technology tools to supplement school resources, assist in the creation of engaging learning tasks, connect the school with the global learning community, communicate with students and classroom teachers at any time, and provide 24-7 access to library services. The SLMS introduces and models emerging technologies, as well as strategies for finding, assessing, and using information. He/she is a leader in software and hardware evaluation, establishing the processes for such evaluation to take place. Doing so requires frequent evaluation of the use of technology in the school library media center through regular data analysis. Expertise in the ethical use of information also remains a cornerstone of the SLMS's role as information specialist.
As program administrator, the SLMS ensures that all members of the learning community have access to resources that meet a variety of needs and interests. The implementation of a successful SLMP requires the collaborative development of a program mission, strategic plan, and policies, as well as the effective management of staff, the program budget, and the physical and virtual spaces. To augment information resources available to the learning community
As teacher the SLMS empowers students to become critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information. The SLMS supports students' success by guiding them to:
The SLMS advocates for reading for pleasure and supports reading comprehension skills across all formats. By being conversant with new research about reading the SLMS can build a collection that reflects the needs of learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, and with diverse abilities and aspirations. A leading SLMS stays abreast of both national trends of popular reading material and student interests within the individual school community. He/She advocated for reading in all formats, such as graphic novels, periodicals, and online sources.
As the technology Coordinator, the SLMS is responsible for assisting teachers in integrating technology into their classroom and to ensure that the technology is working properly as to not negatively impact instruction. The SLMS provides primary support for educational technology tools and assists with the general maintenance of all school technology resources. The SLMS is also responsible for disseminating technology-related information within the school and sharing, as appropriate, at various building/staff meetings. He/She advocates for technology tools and supports their use to further educational goals.