School Library: A Place That Learners Love to Come To . . .

A school library media program is more than the resources, services, and people. It's more than a building space. It's the thinking and synergy that occurs when you put all the elements of the learning community together.

eye means readRead Position Statement on the Role of the School Library Media Program from American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

The school library professions have always been standards-driven (Mardis and Dickinson, 2009). Beginning with the 1920 report of the Charles C. Certain Committee and continuing through the Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning (AASL and AECT 1998), school library standards have served as a guide for school librarians and school library programs. They offer a vision for teaching and learning to both shape and lead our profession. They shape the library program and serve as a tool for school librarians to use to shape the learning of students in the school. Unlike curriculum-based standards, their implementation success relies on the successful cultivation of 'buy-in' from a range of disciplines and stakeholders throughout the schools and learning communities. Toward that aim, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL, 2007) developed a vision for the school library professions.

The AASL Standards begin by defining nine foundational common beliefs:

  1. Reading is a window to the world.
  2. Inquiry provides a framework for learning.
  3. Ethical behavior in the use of information must be taught.
  4. Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs.
  5. Equitable access is a key component for education.
  6. The definition of information literacy has become more complex as resources and technologies have changed.
  7. The continuing expansion of information demands that all individuals acquire the thinking skills that will enable them to learn on their own.
  8. Learning has a social context.
  9. School libraries are essential to the development of learning skills” (ALA).

eye means readDownload and read the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner (2007) from AASL. Ask yourself: Are these elements addressed in the curriculum? Where? For added information and practical ideas about these learning standards for school library media, explore the materials at Strong Nests, Successful Students by Annette Lamb.

The Standards for the 21st Century Learner is a logical extension and replacement of the the Information Power guidelines of former decade. They impart a vision of the school librarian as an educational leader. They stat some common beliefs about teachers, libraries, students, and methods as an introduction to the 21st century standards.

Our textbook, Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs from AASL is the handbook for the Standards; it offers helpful information in conceptualizing school library media specialist roles for contemporary times.

Note: If you are looking for a resource that provides concrete strategies for implementing and documenting the instruction of the AASL Standards then acquire or access a copy of Standards for the 21st-Century Learner in Action for your professional / personal library (Required text in S574 Information Inquiry for Teachers).

eye means readDownload and read the MILE Guide: Milestones for Improving Learning & Education (2009, PDF doc). This is a guide to implementation and self-assessment of the 21st Century Skills Initiative (P21), The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

Also read the Indiana Content Standards for Educators: School Librarian (PDF doc) (2010) from the Indiana Dept. of Education.

Common Core Standards

In response to concerns about American student achievement and just how prepared students are for college and careers, education leaders in 48 states, along with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), have written a set of standards for student across the U.S. The common core state standards were released in 2010. Now adopted by 45 states (including Indiana), the District of Columbia, four territories, work continues to implement them by 2013-2014.

The Common Core State Standards share many features and concepts with existing and former standards; however they also depart from those former and current practices.

eye means readStart by reading the brief article by Robert Roth man, Nine Ways the Common Core Will Change Classroom Practice. Harvard Education Letter; 28(4).

Also read and explore the linked resources at Common Core State Standards by Annette Lamb, Seminar on Literature for Youth, EduScapes.

CCSS focuses on fewer topics yet addresses them in greater depth. For example in elementary mathematics, the standards concentrate more on arithmetic and less on geometry. Emphasis is placed on learning number skills aimed at developing real understandings that can later move the learner on to advanced topics. In language arts there is a shift to more informational and nonfiction texts, speaking and listening, literacy in the content areas, and developing a 'staircase' of text complexity. Students are expected to write more expository prose. Focus on evidence is strengthened by requiring multiple readings before making claims. Correspondingly a student's writing should show that evidence used to justify statements rather than relying on opinions or personal feelings. Inquiry and inquiry-based learning are embedded throughout the Common Core and form the foundation for the types of learning - creativity, problem solving, information searching, and the use of technology.

eye means readLearn more by visiting and exploring the following sites:
Common Core State Standards Initiative. Investigate "The Standards" section.

Learning Standards & Program Guidelines. American Association of School Librarians.

AASL Learning Standards & Common Core State Standards Crosswalk. Includes tables to help school librarians see and understand how the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and the Common Core State Standards align.

Words of Wisdom

Thinking about the roles and responsibilities of a teacher librarian in relationship to implementation of the Common Core State Standards opens opportunities to strengthen and support learning. Gain command of the Common Core Standards; become the school building expert for CCSS. Emerge as the 'go-to' faculty member that knows and understands CCSS and can connect the ideas and concepts to other existing standards; i.e., the ISTE Standards from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Gaining that strength of understanding the standards will lead to being able to help in aligning the building's grade level curriculum and bridging to the resources of the school library collections.

Be a lifelong learner by reading and learning everything that you can related to the Common Core and curriculum issues. Shift the emphasis in collection development to meet the need for nonfiction literary sources. Focus students' reading to whole texts (Rather than small inadequate excerpts) and their better understanding of the texts they read. Identify what is already on the library shelves or available online that can be useful. Consider what databases are at hand; work with the teachers and administrators to secure new online resources. The library can and should become the textbook; therefore how best can existing funds be spent to help develop a balanced collection of informational texts (Databases, magazine and newspaper articles, books, primary documents, Internet resources) that expose learners to multiple perspectives?

Work with helping teachers re-design how they teach a subject, so that students problem solve and delve deeply into the topics. Libraries have the time and space for communication and collaboration. They can facilitate one-on-one, small-group, and whole class discussions as well as formal presentations to answer questions, build understanding, and solve problems. Partner with your fellow faculty members and administrator(s); it's all about relationships! Embrace the standards and dazzle your colleagues.

eye means readThis section of the course also contains the following related topics you'll want to investigate:
Program Planning
Program Analysis
Evidence-based Decisionmaking
Approaches to Data Collection

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Will there always be library media programs?

What would happen if your physical space and collection were eliminated? Would you still have a program? What is your library media program really about?

If your program is rooted in things rather than thoughts and actions, there's a good chance that it won't be around forever. However if your program uses its physical space and collections to promote knowledge construction, information fluency, and life-long learning, it will thrive regardless of building renovation, cuts in materials budgets, and technical innovation.

eye means readRead Are Libraries (and Librarians) Heading Toward Extinction? by D. Johnson in Teacher-Librarian, Dec 2003.

Also read D.D. Coggins article: Making the Library into a Cybrary from Tech Learning, July 2003.

Watch the video clip (Below) When I Become a Librarian (Length 2:27 minutes) that was created by different-thinking librarians in Mid-Del Public Schools (Aug. 2010).

Checking Your Understanding

eye means readRead Marcia Mardis and Gail Dickinson's (2009) Far Away, So Close: Preservice School Library Media Specialists' Perceptions of AASL's Standards for the 21st-Century Learner from School Library Media Research; 12. AASL.

info power“As instructional partners in our schools, librarians will continue their efforts to support student achievement by providing high-quality curriculum resources and opportunities for the acquisition of skills to prepare students for college and the workplace.

Many research and technology skills are embedded in those standards, and this provides great potential for further collaboration between classroom teachers and school librarians.”

Kathy Mansfield, library media/textbooks consultant for the Office of Teaching and Learning at the Kentucky Department of Education.

Create a diagram demonstrating the mission and goals of school library media in a visual way.

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Make It Real

Seems like the last few decades, our school libraries, schools, and our lives have been increasingly impacted by changes. Global, political, technology and economic changes. It makes lives and jobs interesting and poses several related challenges, but granted it sometimes makes people very uneasy. How do Standards fit into that mix? What should the focus be on for the school library media program?

eye means readRead Robin Cicchetti's posting (Dec. 2009) at the CCHS Learning Commons 2010. Also read Doug Johnson's discussion Dangerously Irrelevant Libraries (Nov. 2009) at The Blue Skunk Blog.

Then read Natasha Wanchek's (Mar. 2010) Library 2.0 Enter the Teacher Librarian Enthusiast from The Journal. Part2 of this article series can be read (optional choice) at Library 2.0: 8 Tips from Teacher Librarians.

media specialist and teacherIs the library program more than a physical place?

A tornado has destroyed the wing of your building containing your library media center and the gymnasium. Somehow the rest of the school building survived. However your center will be closed for the entire year. The school board is thinking about eliminating your position for the rest of the year.

Write a convincing argument explaining how the library program can stay vital even when the physical site is gone. Provide examples in the area of collaboration, leadership, and technology. You must come up with innovative ways to make your program remain vital.

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Read More About It

Learning About the Job: What Does A School Librarian Do? American Association of School Librarians.
A starting point for learning / exploring the career field.

Lowe, Carrie A. (Nov. 2000). The Role of the School Library Media Specialist in the 21st Century. ERIC Digest. ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology Syracuse NY. ERIC Identifier: ED446769
Information Power does more than offer an inspiring vision of the future of library media specialists in the school. The authors provide standards for information literacy learning, as well as indicators for each standard. These standards create goals for all educators.

Position Statement on Resource Based Instruction: Role of the School Library Media Specialist in Reading Development. American Association of School Librarians.

Common Core State Standards

Common Core State Standards - Resources. Association for Library Service to Children.
Resources to support school colleagues and families.

Gewertz, Catherine (Sept 2012). Common Core Thrusts Librarians into Leadership Role
The common standards have been adopted by all but four states (Including Indiana).

Kramer, Pamela K. (Sept/Oct 2011). Common Core and School Librarians: An Interview with Joyce Karon. School Library Monthly; 28(1), 8.

Valenza, Joyce (Apr 2012). CCSS and Us. Never Ending Search

(Nov 2011) Resources for Understanding the Common Core State Standards. Edutopia

Standards / Regulations for School Library Media Programs

Indiana Academic Standards at Indiana Department of Education
The standards clearly outline what students should know and be able to do for each content/subject area and grade level or grade band.

Johns, Sara Kelly. Heavy Mettle. School Library Journal, Dec 2001; 47(12), 41. (Access requires login) . . .
National Board Certification gives librarians a chance to prove their worth.

Learning 4 Life from AASL . ./aasl/guidelinesandstandards/learning4life/index.cfm
This implementation plan is intended to help school librarians and their schools implement the Standards for the 21st Century Learner.

Learning Connection at Indiana Department of Education
Supports implementation of strategic initiatives of IDOE.

Planning Guide for Empowering Learners With School Library Assessment Rubric from AASL and Britannica
A fee-based online tool intended to help school libraries plan, evaluate, implement, and advocate for effective library programs. Go beyond the basics to provide goals, priorities, criteria and general principles.
Video Introduction (Aug. 2010) with Lisa Perez (Length 6:36 min.)

School Library from the Iowa Department of Education
Similar Resource:
MEMO Information and Technology Literacy Standards (2009) (MN)
School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas
School Library Standards and Evaluation at Resources for School Librarians

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