Why so many hats? Strong school libraries raise test scores dramatically, in more ways than one…
It is crucial that California schools have complete library staffing.
Unfortunately, Less than a quarter of California school libraries have library media specialists at all, part or full time, compared to three- quarters of school libraries nationwide. The U.S. average librarian/student ratio is 1 librarian for every 870 students. Californias ratio is 1 librarian for every 4,531 students.
Your school librarian makes teachers more productive and raises test scores.
These results are regardless of race or family income. When you use your librarians information specialist and educator skills to support your own work, scores go up.
Other library conditions that directly affect student scores:
Yes, but what does the school librarian actually do?
As a Teacher, the librarian Delivers instruction in: organization of print and digital resources; critical evaluation of print and media content; productive, efficient use of: the library materials catalog; print materials ; digital resources.
As an instructional partner, the librarian Collaborates with teachers to increase information literacy (the skills needed to find, critically analyze, and effectively use print and media content); Works with teachers to improve reading comprehension and fluency.
As a library administrator and information specialist, the librarian Creates an inviting, accessible, efficient library environment; shares in curricular, instructional, professional development school-wide; helps develop plans to integrate ICT into curriculum & instruction; Plans, evaluates, executes library media programs/services; Creates library collections supporting school curriculum/state standards; Provides information-seeking services to school and community; Manages library information resources.
Perceptions of School Librarians Because so many schools lack appropriate library materials and staff, our idea of the library may be 40 years old: a book warehouse run by a quiet woman who may be well-read in juvenile literature, who gives book-talks, read-alouds, and can match students with books.
From Hair buns to Headsets In California schools we have a literacy crisis magnified by meteoric expansion of resource formats and sheer quantities of information (not to mention high- stakes testing). Library staff does much more than check out books.
Read, analyze, & acquire from a booming, multi-lingual, cross-cultural market of juvenile materials;
Teach students, teachers, and parents how to use complicated, changing digital resources efficiently and accurately (often in communities with few home computers or media savvy);
Find digital resources that in effect remove the librarys walls by creating access to international sources;
Push the library into the classroom by providing carts with custom-picked collections for classroom projects;
Teach side-by-side with teachers to smoothly integrate media literacy into academic work;
& increase literacy levels while fostering love of reading through skillful matching of students with books, interesting displays, inviting atmosphere, and engaging book talks in person and digitally.
Your librarian also: Makes replacement I.D. cards; Handles LCD, VCR checkout; Distributes, orders overhead bulbs; Orders equipment repair for classroom overheads and VCRs and all other library equipment. Creates and updates the librarys website.
School librarians are teachers, information professionals, and administrators.
References: Illinois School Library Media Association. (2005). Powerful Libraries Make Powerful Learners: The Illinois Study. Retrieved December 1, 2005 from http://www.alliancelibrarysystem.com/illinoisstudy/TheStudy.pdf http://www.alliancelibrarysystem.com/illinoisstudy/TheStudy.pdf California School Library Association. (2004). Standards and Guidelines for Strong School Libraries. Sacramento; CSLA.