Support personnel are an essential component of an effective library media program.

woman with person on shoulderSupport positions in school library media programs vary widely. Many school systems limit clerical and support positions to part-time status lessening or avoiding full-time employee benefits. In some cases, all support personnel, non-certified positions not within central administrative offices are limited to 6 hour work-days.

While a high-school school library media center may have three part-time support positions, an elementary school may have none. Or, an elementary school may have a half-time library media specialist and full-time clerical position.

Some school organizations have a centralized library media center providing support in addition to individual school building programs. This type of center might handle cataloging and processing of collection materials and house and circulate supplemental collections such as a video and multimedia.

Within many states, there are regional library and/or technology support centers with certified library media professionals working directly with their respective schools to supplement the local building efforts.

What are job descriptions for support staff?

Titles for school library support positions are varied. Schools may use terms like library media clerk, media technician, library assistant, paraprofessional, or other titles.

Overview of Library Support Staff from the American Library Association

Examine the following sample job descriptions for library media support staff positions. A variety of title names are used. Identify the tasks that are required, the amount of preparation or experience needed, and begin to judge the key roles that these jobs hold:

Job Descriptions (multiple) from the Library Program at Iowa City Community School District, IA

Elementary Library Media Technician (PDF doc) at Natrona County Schools, WY
Instructional Assistant, Elementary Library Media
(MS Word doc) at Bellingham Public Schools, WA
Library Aide at Oroville Union High School District, CA
Library Clerk from Los Angeles Unified School District ,CA
Library Assistant Assistant at Norman Public Schools, OK
Library Media Clerk from Los Angeles Unified School District, CA
Library Media Assistant at Norman Public Schools, OK
Library Media Technician III (PDF doc) at Pacific Grove Unified School District, CA
Library Media Technician II (PDF doc) at Pacific Grove Unified School District, CA
Media Resources Technician (PDF doc) from Pasco County Schools, FL
Paraeducator, High School Library Media (PDF doc) at Bellingham Public Schools, WA

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What is the role of library media support personnel?

Your library media support personnel are key employees in whom you want to have complete trust and confidence. Invest the time and effort needed to carefully develop their skills so that they are working partners in the day-to-day operations and goals of the library media center.

eye means readRead Growing a Team (1997 / 2010) by Donald Clark in Big Dog & Little Dog's Performance Juxtaposition.

You can administrate the school library media center using many management styles. Consider what fits you and your personality and what achieves the best results for students and the library media program.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Listen. Hear what they have to say. Know your people. Often, they provide valuable ideas and insights into issues and situations.

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Check Your Understanding

info powerInformation Power - Program Administration: Principle 3.

An effective library media program requires a level of professional and support staffing that is based upon a school’s instructional programs, services, facilities, size, and numbers of students and teachers.

Examine the job descriptions for library media support staff. Write a job description for a support staff person. Be sure to include those characteristics that would be important for compatibility with you and your skills as a supervisor. What are you seeking in a good team member?

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woman at computerMake It Real

Describe the skills needed as a supervisor of library support personnel.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What do you think are the most important skills in supervising a staff?


Read More About It

Library Technicians and Library Assistants from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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