The media specialist should be an integral teaching partner in the learning activities of their school.

Let's face it; some school librarians do 'hide out' or see their school role as being in their center. There is an un-ending need to prepare books and other materials for circulation, update and clean up records, and return to the shelves. Organizing and maintaining the collections and attending to management functions are all important; however those tasks should not be the main focus of one's professional efforts. It is imperative that the media specialist be perceived as someone who is an integral part of the teaching and learning processes.

Teacher. At the core of our profession is the need to be seen and perceived as a teacher. The teacher librarian must be an effective educator and curricular leader. The media specialist must possess up-to-date knowledge and skills on a wide range of educational topics including teaching, learning, and information literacy.

Words of Wisdom

Consider the perspective of one library media specialist:

practitioner"The only reason that any teacher is in a school building is to teach kids and that's what we as media specialists should be doing . . . (I) make certain that good teaching goes on in my library. If a teacher is teaching an assignment, we almost always have worked together on it before they come down with students. I require this because I don't want to be a place for students to use the computers. I want them to come here because it is a place where they learn the 21st century skills they need for the future." (Oct. 2009), SLMS Bridging Theory and Practice.

Robyn Young
Director of School Media
Avon High School, IN

eye means readRead Andrew Churches's (April 2008) online article Bloom's Taxonomy Blooms Digitally from Tech & Learning. It updates and expands the former arrangement of cognitive objectives organized from lower order to higher order thinking skills to now include digital additions and justifications.

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Can a teacher librarian keep abreast of ideas, theories and practice in education?

Many but not all school media librarians have an undergraduate degree in education. Most have completed a required stint as a student teacher and often have worked as a classroom teacher. Regardless of the breadt and depth of teaching preparation or experience one has, a teacher librarian needs to be aware of current issues and ideas impacting education. Here are a few resources to periodically skim and scan. See if you can access a current or past issue (digital or print) of the organization's journal or other publications:

American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
Founded in 1865, AASA isan organization of more than 13 thousand educational leaders in the U.S. and around the world - - chief executive officers, superin tendents, and senior level school administrators to cabinet members, professors, and aspiring school system leaders. Journal: The School Administrator.

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
A division of the American Library Assocation, the organization's mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change, and develop leaders in the school library media field. Journals: Knowledge Quest and School Library Media Research (Online).

Founded in 1943, ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is an educational leadership organization dedicated to advancing best practices and policies for the success of each learner. 175 thousand members in 119 countries are professional educators from all levels and subject areas - - superintendents, supervisors, principals, teachers, professors of education, and school board members. Journal: Educational Leadership.

Education Week
Nonprofit organization, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc., publishes Education Week - - aimed at raising awareness and understanding of important issues in American Education.

eSchool News
eSchool News is a marketing solutions company serving the education technology industry. Provides news, resources and reports on applications of technology in learning.

National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
The missin of the NAESP is to lead in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle level principals and other education leaders in their commitment for all children. Journal: Principal.

National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
In existence since 1916, the NASSP is a national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and aspiring school leaders from across the U.S. and more than 45 countries. The mission of NASSP is to promote excellence in school leadership. Journal: Principal Leadership.

National Center for Education Statistics
The primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.

National Education Association (NEA)
With 3.2 million members, the organization is a advocate of education professionals. NEA is the largest professional organization / labor union in the U.S. representing public school teachers and other education support personnel. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and has about 856 thousand members. In general, AFT locals tend to be in large cities and on the East Coast, while the NEA's membership is concentrated in rural and suburban areas and the West.

Phi Delta Kappa (PDK)
Phi Delta Kappa International is a professional association for educators whose mission is to support education, particularly public education, as the cornerstone of dmocracy. Journal: Phi Delta Kappan.

U.S. Department of Education
Created by the Department of Education Organization Act (Public Law 96-88) the United States Department of Education began operating in May 1980 and is a Cabinet-level department of the U.S. government. It is the smallest Cabinet-level department with aobut 5 thousand employees. See also: State Department of Education.

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As you think about the roles and responsibilities of today's library media specialist, it's important to keep it all in perspective. What drew you to this profession? How will your choices and actions impact the lives of teachers and students?

eye means readEdutopia
Founded in 1991 by the George Lucas Eucational Foundation, Edutopia is a magazine, website, and video documentary collection documenting and disseminating information about exemplary programs in k-12 schools. Journal: Edutopia. Visit and explore.

Words of Wisdom

Now read the perspective of another library media specialist:

practitioner"We (the other professional and I) have created a Carmel High School Information Literacy Curriculum. It is a work in progress . . . It is based on our Carmel board adopted Information Literacy standards and the AASL national standards. We have developed 11 units to date. We teach anywhere and everywhere! Sometimes in the media center (on the floor, in our adjacent classroom, in our computer lab) and often going to the classrooms. We custom it to meet the curriculum teacher needs." (Sept. 2009), SLMS Bridging Theory and Practice.

Bonnie Grimble
Media Specialist Department Chair & also Chair of the Communications Program
Carmel High School, IN

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eye means readThirteen Ed Online, public television's Web service for teachers, has produced a series of professional development workshops that cover topics important in education. These workshops are intended for teachers, administrators, school librarians - - anyone interested in education. Each worksop includes sections for Explanation, Demonstration, Exploration, and Implementation. Explore the following workshops:

Afterschool Programs - From Vision to Reality looks at the benefits of a quality afterschool program. What can it provide to students, their families, and the community. Consider ways to create and sustain afterschool programs.

Assessment, Evaluation, and Curriculum Redesign helps to rethink and perhaps redesign plans for teaching.

Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning examines a theoretical perspectiive of how people learn and some ways that framework can be applied. The theory, based upon observation and study, is that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences.

Cooperative and Collaborative Learning. This is not-to-be-confused with collaboration or cooperation of the teacher librarian with students and teachers. Rather it is a method of teaching and learning in which students team together to explore a significant question or create a meaningful project.

Inquiry-based Learning. An old adage states "Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand." Accoriding to Joe Exline, the last part of this statement is the essence of inquiry-based learning.

Interdisciplinary Learning in Your Classroom. Workshop expert, Heidi Hayes Jacobs, introduces interdisciplinary learning as "a knowledge view and curriculum approach that consciously applies methodology and language from more than one discipline to examine a central theme, topic, issue, problem, or work."

Tapping into Multiple Intelligences. Howard Gardner claims that all human beings have multiple intelligences. These multiple intelligences can be nurtured and strengthened, or ignored and weakened.

Teaching to Academic Standards
. Academic standards are public statements about what students should know and be able to do - - the goals of schooling, destinations for sutdents.

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Words of Wisdom

Read another perspective from one more library media specialist:

practitioner"Start with a person that you are comfortable with, then branch out from there. I started with somebody I felt relaxed with professionally, because I needed for us to be able to make mistakes as we learned how to co-plan, co-teach, co-evaluate together. You want somebody you're comfortable with so that you can work through everything (including mistakes) without worrying about personality clashes, hurt feelings, or egos getting in the way. Also, no matter how hard I tried, I was not successful collaborating until I went to the classroom teacher with an idea in hand - a topic to research, what we could do together and how I would help her, what information skills the kids needed to learn how to do properly to become successful, informatin literate citizens and how we would incorporate them." (Oct. 2007), SLMS Bridging Theory and Practice.

Leslie Preddy
Library Media Specialist
Perry Middle School, IN

Once you have identified and selected your favorite professional resources related to teaching and your school library media profession, you can set up a systematic way of accessing those online sites. That may be a bookmark list or better yet, create a webpage that you can use to quickly connect to each - - setup a webpage at GoogleSites. You also may be subscribing to RSS feeds for direct connections to updated Web, blogsite, and podcasts.

Read More About It

Condition of Education from the National Center for Education Statistics
This Congressionally mandated annual report summarizes developments and trends in education using the latest available data.
Other related annual reports form NCES:

Cooperative Learning

Institute for Learning Centered Education (Constructivism)

Formerly the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, SEDL is a nonprofit education research, development, and dissemination organization.

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