Get EmpoweredEmpowered:
Power Up Your Professional PALETTE

As school media positions disappear and budgets continue to be cut, it's time for a new breed of librarian that embraces the new breed of readers, writers, and learners. As Gandhi would say, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world".

This new media specialist must be able to view shrinking budgets, additional responsibilities, and other demands as opportunities for renewal and change. In order to be prepared for a constantly changing environment, professionals need to revisit, reframe, and re-imagine knowledge, skills, attitudes, and dispositions reflecting seven areas of their professional PALETTE:


This new breed of librarian must know how to communicate, cooperate, and collaborate with people. From their five-year old clients to each member of the school board, understanding these patrons and partners is the key to an effective school library program.

Innovative media specialists must shift thinking from broad, face-to-face communications toward focused, virtual interactions.


This new breed of librarian must know how to administer programs. From writing policies and procedures to managing personnel and writing grants, the media specialist must understand the daily operations of a school library and the impact of these programs on individual students.

Innovative media specialists must shift thinking from managing physical resources toward facilitating information and technology access.


This new breed of librarian must know how to learn and understand learners. The world is constantly changing and media specialists must acquire new knowledge, update their skills, and adjust their attitudes. Through reading, inquiry, interactions, and thinking, the media specialist makes important decisions about their patrons and programs every day.

Innovative media specialists must shift thinking from reacting to outside forces toward modeling innovative thinking and inquiry.

Electronic Information

This new breed of librarian must know how to access, evaluate, organize, and use information. From issues related to intellectual property to selecting age-appropriate curriculum materials, the media specialist must understand information.

Innovative media specialists must shift thinking from providing information access toward facilitating information use.


This new breed of librarian must know how to apply technology to solve problems, acquire information, and create products. From designing a virtual presence for their library to scheduling student assistants, technology plays an important role in today's school library.

Innovative media specialists must shift thinking from piecemeal approaches toward weaving a fabric of technology use throughout the school connecting classroom learning and the school media program.


This new breed of librarian must know how to assess students, design instruction, and teach both children and adult learners. From collaborating with classroom teachers to working one-on-one with children, the media specialist must understand curriculum design and instructional development.

Innovative media specialists must shift thinking from isolated skills instruction toward infused modules across the curriculum.


This new breed of librarian must know how to use both physical and virtual spaces to support the needs of students and teachers. Designing an inviting environment that encourages creativity, supports inquiry, and provides universal access is vital to program success.

Innovative media specialists must shift thinking from place-specific programs toward flexible environments for learning.

power upTry It!
What shifts will be easiest?
What shifts will be difficult?
Browse the online materials. What are three ideas to get the shift rolling?

Read Bursting with Potential: Mixing a Media Specialist's Palette by Annette Lamb (2011). This article explores the changing role of the teacher librarian.

Preparing Digital Citizens

Many laws and federal regulations apply to youth and online social technology. Learn the rights and responsibilities of teens, the relevant laws, and what teachers and librarians need to know in order to implement them within your school. Explore approaches to teaching students about their role as responsible digital citizens.

Our young people are active users of social technology.

They have technology. Now we want to help our students make good choices about its use. However when we get preachy, we lose them.

Rights and Responsibility

Rather than creating a culture of fear, we need to help young people make good choices.

Safety Issues

Many adults are concerned about the safety of teens online. Nancy Willard (2006) identified three concerns: (1) brain research reveals that teens are immature and can make poor choices in social situations, (2) many parents don't monitor student activities, (3) dangerous adults are attracted to young people who make poor choices.

Educators must promote and model legal and ethical technology practices.



Educating students is part of the standards as well as a requirement of BDIA. More than 3/4 of young people think digital abuse is a serious problem (MTV-AP, 2009).

Promote American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Standards for the 21st Century Learner.

Teens must learn to access and evaluate the information found on social networks. 

Teens must learn to follow legal regulations and demonstrate ethical behavior associated with social networks.

Promote International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Students

Standard 5: Digital Citizenship - Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:  

  1. advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
  2. exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
  3. demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.
  4. exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.

Develop stand-alone units as well as materials that can be integrated across the curriculum.

Information, Choices, and Action

Read more about Ethical Use of Social Technology: The Decision-making Process (PDF) or click the image below on left. 
(Adapted from Annette Lamb, Everyone Does It. Teaching Ethical Use of Social TechnologyKnowledge Quest)

power upSelect one aspect and discuss how it could be introduced to students in a relevant and meaningful way.

Instructional Strategies

Read more about Ethical Use of Social Technology: Instructional Strategies (PDF) or click the image above right.
(Adapted from Annette Lamb, Everyone Does It. Teaching Ethical Use of Social TechnologyKnowledge Quest)

power upSelect one approach that you think might be effective for a particular situation. Provide an example of what might be taught.

Teacher Resources

Explore the following resources for ideas:

Making It Work

Making it happen is as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

Just 1 Thing. Take 1 idea and brainstorm ways to implement it. For instance, read Man on the Moon by Pamela Dell. There's a whole series of books that focus on famous photographs. What could you do with famous photos? What teachers in your building might be interested? What subject areas? What information skills could you teach?

2s Transform Thinking. Brainstorm deep thinking assignments that use ideas like if/then pros/cons, then/now, or here/there.

Try 3 Times. Try a resource or tool 3 times to become comfortable and make its use seamless. For instance, use Glogster yourself to make a pathfinder (i.e., YA pathfinder), use it with a teacher to make class directions (i.e., magnet sites), use it with students to make class projects. I.e., student project, best of glogster).

Use 4 Steps. When working with teachers, listen, share, create, and teach.

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