I Need a Librarian – I Need Your Help

I love my school. I love my school district. We do a lot of great things, and I am excited about the direction we are headed.

My biggest concern that we have at the district level is that we do not have librarians. We might have a half time one at the middle or high school (I’m not exactly sure), but our elementary libraries are staffed by secretaries that are in charge of running one elementary library in the morning and one in the afternoon. Part of their half day in my building is spent working in the office, so she is not even in the library half time. Thankfully, the one in my building,does an amazing job with what she does and what she has (I do not believe that she even has a budget).

I see the amazing things librarians are doing across the country, and I am jealous. I want that for my students. Every chance I get, I bring up getting a librarian. My principal and I talk about it weekly, I bring it up to our literacy coordinator monthly, and I mention it to our director of curriculum any chance that I get.

My good friend librarian, Mr. Schu Tweeted this link over the weekend: http://www.slj.com/2012/10/librarians/slj-summit-2012-full-time-school-librarians-boost-student-test-scores-in-reading-writing-says-pa-report/

I read the article and immediately emailed it to a whole bunch of people in my district (not the first librarian email I have sent). My director of curriculum responded with genuine interest.

He wanted to know the following: I’m thinking we’ll need to identify specifically what these librarians do that has such a significant impact on student learning/achievement. 

This is where I need your help. I would like to flood him with: comments from this blog post, links of the amazing things you all are doing, research, comments on how librarians support teachers, Anything and everything that can help me convince a school district that a librarian is something that we desperately need.

Thank you for your help. Please share this post with anyone you think could help.

49 Comments
  1. I am at a school that does not have a librarian and has already gone through three library paras this year. We need a librarian to:
    1) maintain and update our collection with high quality children’s literature
    2) know books and know readers, so that when kids go into the library they can always count on walking out with something great to read, especially the kids who are not yet great readers
    3) help kids develop research skills and find what they need when they are doing research
    4) make the library an interesting and inviting place, the heart of the school
    5) Support teachers in becoming familiar with great children’s literature (I know children’s literature, and keep current on the latest and greatest, but I know so many teachers that don’t!)
    And a jillion more reasons! Libraries matter. HUGELY! Stephen Krashen has great research on the amount of time kids spend reading and how that impacts test scores.

    • I am a graduate student of Library and Information Science at Simmons College in Boston, MA and currently work as an archives intern at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. I would not be where I am today if it had not been for the library and information professionals I have come in contact with both in school and outside of school. My school librarians sparked my interest in research, which led to a love for dramaturgy (theater research), and eventually to archives. I remember clearly the first ‘real’ research project I did in third grade on the Taj Mahal. My teacher brought us into the library and the librarian showed us how to take notes on 3 by 5 index cards, each with a different topic, and then to use these cards to form a five paragraph essay. I learned how to read a lot on a topic, process the information and really think about it, and then formulate a research paper. More and more students (myself included) are doing all three steps as one, or skipping the second step altogether. We are taking in information and spitting it back out without processing and analyzing it. This is why I think we need school librarians who can work with students on the research process and prepare them to do the type of research they will need to do later in life when a school librarian may not be available to them.

      This New York Times debate on the question of whether school librarians are expendable should also be of interest to those reading this thread: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/06/26/are-school-librarians-expendable

  2. Librarians are an integral part of encouraging children to develop a love of reading, particularly at the younger ages. From there, it is really a very simple formula. Children who love to read, do read. Children who do read are able to read and write at a higher level than those who do not. In order to pass state assessments(and life) children must be able to read and write well. Therefore, it seems that the salary of a full-time librarian is more than compensated for when the children respond to the positivity and preform well on the assessments. If this weren’t enough, many librarians go beyond, instilling a love of the written word into children by arranging authors visits, facilitating school reading contests, and sparking creativity by teaching children how to find answers for themselves through research. Additionally, librarians often take charge of gaining books and resources for the school for free. They write grants, find community outreach programs that specialize in giving books to children who need them but are unable to purchase them, and partner with companies such as Scholastic Books, Incorporated to provide funds and books to your students and school. In summation, a good librarian will benefit your school in numerous academic and monetary ways. Please contact me on Twitter @LitereacyGirl44 if you need any more information.

  3. I am a school media specialist/ librarian and here is just *some* of what I do on a daily basis in my K-5 elementary school of 875 students.

    *Teach classes to students on research, technology, literacy, even science (I do science story times).
    *Create and implement a school wide reading incentive program
    * Provide Professional Development to teachers on how to use new technology in our building, this year specifically helping them integrate technology and use technology while adopting Common Core standards.
    *Coordinate author visits for our students
    * Purchase books and other materials, including equipment for our students and staff to use
    * Coach a team of 5th graders for our county reading bowl
    * Lead after school digital photography club
    * Run the schools close circuit tv studio, creating a morning announcement show every morning with 5th graders
    * Create videos for school events, such as student council elections, teacher of the year, commercials for school wide events.
    * coordinate purchasing ereaders (Nooks) and ebooks for teachers to use in reading groups

    Here was my schedule yesterday:

    *Supervised the morning announcement show (with a new crew of 5th graders)
    * I helped 2nd graders with research on spiders (3 different classes) online using Pebble Go
    *I taught a class of 4th graders how to use Glogster and we started on creating Glogs on a planet, using research they had already done with me earlier using our databases (county provided)
    *I continued with a 5th grade class a research project that we are working on, on Inventors – teachers are using this research to have the students create an informational writing piece, while they are in my class (I see each 5th grade class every 6 days) we are creating a web 2.0 project
    * Story time with 1st grade – read three different books about the election – students then voted online (I created) for their favorite book, we will announce the winner of our Book Election the day after eleciton day!
    * Talked to two different book vendors about orders of books
    * Did afternoon bus duty, helped two teachers find resources for a lesson and talked with another teacher about a Benjamin Franklin lesson for 1st grade.

    And I will do something very similar today.

    i think the highest form of praise for what I do was when I was named Teacher of the Year for my school in 2010. I consider myself more than a book pusher – I am a TEACHER, who runs the largest classroom in the school. (I am a certified library media specialist in the state of GA, not a certified teacher)

    If you want to hear more about what I do and the impact I have on my students (and teachers) please feel free to email me!

    Kathy_schmidt@gwinnett.k12.ga.us

  4. I teach fifth grade in a 4th/5th grade building with roughly 230 kids. We share a librarian with our middle school. Not ideal but better than not having a librarian.

    Our librarian:
    - gives book talks on a regular basis to show students the new and the old books that are out there.
    - reads current books and purchases books for our library that she knows will be hits.
    - gets to know each student and their reading life. Tries to help match them to books.
    - uses technology to support her class.
    - teaches the students research skills.
    - meets with teachers to see how she can support our classes in her class.
    - when she taught HS Library she contacted area colleges and met with professors in the english departments to see how we needed to prepare our students. (specifically geared towards writing papers)
    - teaches our students note taking skills.
    - Organizes Family Reading Nights to bring our community together
    - Organizes two book fairs a year to supplement her library budget (which the students look forward to every year.)
    - Pulls books for any units I need to teach
    - Brainstorms with teachers what books/ websites/ apps we might need.
    - She’s also in the process of adding more technology to our school and debating how ereaders will be changing our libraries.

    This is what I thought of in five minutes. Librarians do so much more. I consider a librarian critical to a school and the library and librarian are the heart of any school.

  5. As a high school librarian (recently retired), I considered the library to be the largest classroom in our school as I
    - taught students (and teachers) how to verify the reliability of the information that they found,
    - modeled and taught good digital citizenship, citation skills, and fair use of others’ works,
    - helped them connect with books and blogs that entertained and challenged them,
    - collaborated with teachers (including math and science) to create projects that reinforced learning for students (especially the “non-readers”),
    - worked with learners of all levels to give them information searching skills for lifelong learning,
    - constantly sought out and scanned online and print resources to find real-life information that our teachers could use in their classrooms.

    And I rejoiced to see the library full of visiting students before school, getting to hear the occasional guitar solo or men’s quartet performance before they went to competitions, being asked to write scholarship recommendation letters for my “regulars” and proofread college entrance essays.

    For the library to be the heart of the school, that room with books and computers must have a highly-trained information professional guiding it, to see the big picture and also every detail of the curriculum.

    In Texas and many other states, the school librarian is “mid-management” in the public education hierarchy; like the principal(s) and counselor, s/he is responsible for knowing every essential element/skill for every grade level and every ability level in the whole school!

  6. I understand the need for a librarian. I’ve been to schools where they have a librarian but don’t think there’s “enough to do for 40 hours a week” so they use them at ridiculous wages to be teacher’s assistants for the majority of the day.
    I hope your school district sees the need for a full-time librarian.

  7. Colby I have 1200 students in K-6.  I see every student in the library every week.  My number one job is to have them develop a love of reading.  I read out loud.  I do lessons on World Book, Research, Website evaluation.  I team with the classroom teachers to do extensions of their projects.  This year all our students are typing in Google docs so I teach them their passwords and show them how to type, save their documents, etc.  My 6th graders are doing WWII research.  I have worked up a great collection of books and on line sources for them to use.  Last year I did Voice Threads with third grade.  We did Storybird in fifth grade.  The year before the sixth grade did animoto projects on Vietnam or the 1960′s.  I can do an extensions for the classroom teacher and help them to move from pencil and paper to web 2.0. 

    A good librarian reads and reads and reads.  They can order the right books for the student population and put the right book in the right hands.  With video games over taking our leisure time it is more important than ever to get kids to read.  I am passionate about what I do.  I so appreciate Mr. Schu and all his comments and ideas.  He is a leader.  I am that leader at my school.  With all that I do I am sure it influences the test scores in some way.  Last year we did biographies in third grade and then the test passages reflected biographies.  Were my kids prepared?  You betcha!  I only have 20 minutes a week but helping teachers and supporting teachers in all they do makes our school be stonger and better.  I have Mom’s who volunteer in my library and they always walk away with what they have learned as well.

    I know that funding is always an issue.  Have you thought about a retired librarian in your community that could help?  Who orders the books for your school?  Who does collection development?  My collection is aligned with the Texas TEKS so it is curriculum driven.  We do Lucy Calkins writing and I have the books to support those lessons. I would be more than happy to help you however I can.  My skype name is marjie.podzielinski.  I certainly hope that you can create a spot, even part time for a real librarian at your school. ( Is there a library school close to where you live?  I have Sam Houston State University students who intern with me) I am here so let me know. :)  Hope this helps in some small way. 

    Marjie Podzielinski

    Librarian-Coulson Tough School 11660 Crane Brook Drive The Woodlands, TX 77382

    832.656.7300 CELL

    ________________________________

  8. Taken from the following research study:

    The Impact of New York’s School Libraries on Student Achievement and Motivation: Phase I
    http://www.ala.org/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/slmrb/slmrcontents/volume12/small

    Research Question 1: Do school library programs, services and resources impact the learning achievement of New York State public school students?

    Finding: After controlling for the level of resources available to schools, the study found that students at schools with certified SLMSs have, on average, higher fourth-grade English Language Arts (ELA) scores than students at schools without a certified SLMS.

    A one-way analysis of covariance was conducted, controlling for the N/RC category of the school. The independent variable was fourth-grade ELA achievement scores. The dependent variable was New York State certification (including two levels certified and noncertified), and the covariant was the NR/C of the school. The analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was significant: F(1, 784) = 15.854, p < 0.05, partial eta-squared = 0.020. Students at schools with certified SLMSs have, on average, higher fourth-grade ELA scores than students at schools without a certified SLMS. Controlling for NR/C, the average score for schools with certified librarians is 663.5, with a standard deviation of 0.6, compared to an average score of 661.6, with a standard deviation of 2.2, for schools with uncertified librarians (see table 5 and table 6).

    Our data also demonstrate that low-needs schools are more likely to have a certified librarian managing the SLMC. There was a significant negative correlation (Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.0.451, p < 0.00) between school-needs level and SLMS certification; lower-needs schools (N/RC of 5 and 6) are more likely to have a certified librarian than high-needs schools (N/RC of 1–4). There also is a significant correlation between the needs level of a school and fourth-grade ELA standardized test scores (Pearson Correlation coefficient = 0.490, p < 0.00). These findings are not surprising, but they do help to establish the representative quality of our dataset. We know that needs level predicts both SLMS certification and achievement scores, but even when we control for the N/RC of schools, fourth-grade ELA standardized test scores (ELA-4) are still significantly higher in schools with certified librarians (see ANCOVA results above).

    Finding: Certified SLMSs are more likely to make a point of selecting materials for their library collection that represent different points of view.

    A two-way contingency table analysis was conducted to evaluate whether certified librarians are more likely to make a point of selecting materials for the school’s library collection that represent different points of view. The two variables were certification with two levels (certified and not certified) and Likert-scale responses with five levels (strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree, strongly agree). Certification and selection of materials that represent different points of view were significantly related: Pearson Chi-Square (4, N = 1,606) = 17.895, p < 0.05, Cramér’s V = .106. Notably, 62 percent of certified librarians strongly agreed that they make a point of selecting material that represents different points of view, as opposed to 47.2 percent of uncertified librarians.

    Finding : Certified SLMSs are more likely to make a point of selecting materials for their library collection that support the general curriculum.

    A two-way contingency table analysis was conducted to evaluate whether certified librarians are more likely to make a point of selecting materials for the school’s library collection that support the general curriculum. The two variables were certification with two levels (certified and not certified), and Likert-scale responses with five levels (strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree, strongly agree). Certification and selection of materials that represent different points of view were significantly related: Pearson Chi-Square (3, N = 1599) = 39.304, p < 0.00, Cramér’s V = .157. Notably, 86.4 percent of certified librarians strongly agreed that they make a point of selecting material that supports the general curriculum, as opposed to 69.5 percent of uncertified librarians.

  9. Our middle school has a full time librarian again this year after having a 1/2 time position for several years due to budget constraints. She does all of what has been outlined above (teaching classes, compiling resources, collaborating on all areas of curriculum development, facilitating reading clubs, coordinating student blogs), and in addition she is an advisor to a group of students who are bright and motivated and in need of a stretch as well as the recognition that they are exceptionally hard working students. She sees herself as an interventionist and she will be working in my 5th grade ELA classes during NaNoWriMo in November.

  10. In my district, the librarian role recently underwent major construction. WIth the loss of our professional development department and technology integration facilitators due to budget constraints, these much needed support services were a tremendous loss to teachers and students. Our role is now “library, media and technology specialist.” In addition to the traditional roles of the librarian, I am now also an instructional coach and instructional technology specialists. I offer professional development on technology integration, best teaching practices, literacy, reading, writing, you name it! I will manage the new iPads our campus is purchasing in addition to the 4 sets of Netbooks and three open access computer labs. Every week I write and post a blog dedicated to exploring a new topic in instructional technology (reinventingthelibrarian.blogspot.com). Just today I submitted a grant to fund a seed 1:1 project that will provide 20 of our students who do not have access to technology at home with a device and wireless cards.
    I’m a chameleon, jack of all trades :-) But, I believe in the learning commons model of a library and the new, evolving role of the librarian to support today and tomorrow’s learners.

  11. What do I do as a full time Middle School Librarian that helps kids improve performance?

    1. I work to match the right book to the right reader so students are intimately engaged in reading for pleasure on a consistent basis.
    2. I introduce students to a wide variety of reading materials and encourage them to be involved in introducing others to their favorites.
    3. I teach the students to take a complex task (like a research project) and break it down into its component parts, then how to successfully complete those parts and put them all together.
    4. I teach students to read information critically, sorting supportable fact from conjecture or opinion.
    5. I teach students to read and isolate main ideas and pertinent information, gleaning the treasure from the trash.
    6. I teach students how to present ideas and information to others.
    7. I teach students how to stay safe in the information age, how to stay ethical in the information age, and how to contribute in the information age.
    8. I teach students that the library is a safe place where they will be accepted for who they are and encouraged to grow into who they will be.

  12. I am a K-5 media specialist in Georgia and my media center is the largest classroom in my school.
    I can tell you with absolute certainty that students who visit here enjoy more freedom and independence than anywhere else in the school, but they are carefully supervised by myself, a full time library clerk and a few dedicated volunteers. With that combination of freedom and safety, they learn a lot and they grow intellectually and emotionally. They are motivated and are able to track reading progress via our schoolwide reading program, which I administer and supervise. You can see the benefit in our test scores – our students consistently perform better on standardized tests than would be expected according to their socioeconomic status and cognitive ability.

    The library staff in my school and throughout our county don’t fit the mental image some people have for “librarians” – we spend most of our time working directly with students every day. As I typed this message over the last hour, while checking out students at the desk (we do 400-600 checkouts daily), I also helped first graders find books, worked with one first grade student to practice and learn his student number, discussed some of our new books purchases from a recent book fair with two second grade students, and worked with third grade students and their teacher as they were looking for good choices for book report books. And I just talked with one student about her strategy to reach the next achievement level in our reading program.

    If I may summarize the benefit for students in my school and county who are priveleged with excellent library media programs: Their library visits are a refreshing step away from the world of high stakes standardized testing, but not a step away from valuable learning experiences and certainly not a waste of time. This is because library visits are exactly the type of safe, highly-beneficial “risk taking” that students need but rarely receive in a K-5 environment. When they come here they can chart their own course, find great books, fail to find great books, ask for some help, share what they find with other students, learn to share their space, search the library computer for books, and generally learn how to spend their limited amount of time productively. As they participate in our school’s reading programs they track their own progress and receive guidance and incentive to read a variety of books. This is not something that could be replaced even by the most well-stocked classroom libraries or well-intentioned balanced literacy efforts by classroom teachers – which is something our school also does. :)

  13. This is all fabulous information. I have a great librarian at the high school where I work but that is not true across the state of New Mexico where I live. Please let me know when you have compiled this information. There are some people I would like to forward it to.

  14. I am at a Baltimore City Public School elementary/middle school that is doing great things! We are a high-performing school, but sadly, do not have a librarian. In Baltimore City Schools, a librarian is a locked position – the principal cannot NOT hire a librarian. The problem is that there aren’t any to hire in Baltimore.

    We need a librarian because our students need library skills, research skills, and interaction with libraries on a regular basis.

    I went to your elementary school, Mr. Sharp. I graduated from Lakeview High School. And EVERY year of my education – Minges to Territorial to the Junior High (when there still was one) to the high school, there was a librarian. I learned how to use a library and I discovered many of my favorite books from trips to the library. At Minges, the library was a haven for finding books. It blows my mind that it would ever go unstaffed. Having a librarian should not be considered a privilege; it belong with all that is encompassed in the right to a quality, free education.

    I am heartbroken that you even have to ask for comments on the matter.

  15. School library media specialists are EXTREMELY important to a successful school. The library media specialist can no only make life easier for teachers by collaborating on new and exciting lessons, but for the students as well. We assist students with all the latest and most acurate information out there! We can help students choose a great book to read while also helping them with a major reserach project. We are truly a “one stop shop!” The media center is and should always be the “heart” of any school. It is the one place that everyone should come into and feel valued, welcomed, and “at home.” No matter if you are in special ed. or gifted, everyone who comes into the media center equals out. Why? Because everyone comes into the media center for a common purpose…to gather information. That information can be from a novel you want to read or from a online database that contains important information on a topic you are studying. I have known some pretty amazing media specialists in my life that have truly made a lasting impact on the educational lives of students and teachers. Media Specialist are the “jack of all trades” superheroes that you truly, truly cannot live without!

  16. So many eloquent comments … I might think about simply adding “ditto.” It’s a challenge to rise up to every day … knowing the needs of the kids, teachers, and parents; the different facets of the curriculum; new books and the kids who will enjoy or benefit from them; websites to support classroom needs, tech and all the ways it can be used to facilitate/extend/engage learning, and all the value-added extras (bookclubs, writing clubs, art clubs, morning announcements, grants, author visits, troubleshooting, community service, etc).

  17. I am a former teacher and an author of novels for kids. I do tons of school visits. I can’t give you statistics but only my personal observations; from California to DC, Chicago to Arkansas, the most vibrant schools I have visited have full time librarians! They are hugely important to every aspect of the curriculum. A functioning library is the heart of a great school. Schools without libraries run by trained librarians put the children who attend those schools at a disadvantage. It is simply unfair.

  18. I am a librarian and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what I do. I do science experiments, food activities, math, etc. I correlate my lessons and activities with the state required curriculum in San Antonio, Texas. I am very blessed to work at a wonderful innovative school in North East I.S.D. We have a wonderful library program and district processing center. I coordinate reading programs such as, read around the school, book fairs, read to succeed, caught you reading, etc. I also teach research to the students by having the classes come in for a whole day to do research from the beginning to the end product. My library is very hands-on. The kids love coming, I believe that they have to have exposure to literacy in all different subject matters, such as, math, science, etc. I NEVER have discipline issues because the kids are so engaged when they come to the library. The children have a lot of freedom to choose their books, magazines, etc. I have also built a positive rapport with the students. I basically, create the activities/lessons and do all the preparation for them-run off copies, make posters, powerpoints, etc. I will ask the teachers and specialists for their input and guidance. To an outsider my library looks like a three ring circus, but it is very organized and engaging. I also, maintain the library collection, order books, book authors, and maintain a budget (administrative stuff). I am also in charge of morning announcements and the chair person of the technology committee. I also have a group of kiddos (2nd graders) that I tutor in the morning. The days of the stereo-typical librarian behind the desk shushing everyone are long gone. However, I would never be able to run the library the way I do if I didn’t have an assistant who shelves, checks in and out the books, etc. She works six hours in the library.

    My fellow librarians in the district are also very innovative and helpful. We support eachother by sharing and planning with eachother. My philosophy is that I do not want the kids or teachers to ever feel like it was just a waste of their time when they come to the library. We have to make every second in the day count. I am also very blessed to have a supportive administration, faculty and staff. Plus, I am at a small school, too.

    Librarians are VITAL to education because there is so much information and our world is so global now that children need to learn information seeking skills and not just depend on memorization. They have to be able to research and investigate in order to be successful in the 21st century.

  19. Adding to all the core professional activities mentioned above, I teach cybercivility, information and media literacy and online writing. The classroom teachers are meant to be doing this as well, but as they look in the gun-sights of standardized testing, they just don’t seem to have time for it. I do. I think we need to focus on the flexible and adaptive learning skills our students need and that standardized tests don’t capture. My 5th graders are involved this year in a global blogging project, advising me re books, ebooks and other purchases, multi-age peer tutoring (from reading buddies to Google Earth tips) and more. The classroom teachers value these activities, but they fear moving too far from drill and worksheets. Parents love what I do and their students come home excited about the authentic learning experiences a librarian can provide.

  20. I’m a teacher-librarian at a secondary school. I’m a change agent, a reading specialist, an advocate for information and digital fluencies. I help teachers push their ideas to fruition by giving them resources, teaching their classes, building continuity and even doing formative grading on any skills related to fluency. I take whole classes, small groups and individual students that are struggling. I maintain and push the boundaries of digital learning helping students have access to content and help 24/7. I am a hub of learning and my staff and students rely on me to fill this role every day.

  21. Take a look at the Common Core State Standards. Information fluency is the backbone of the CCSS. Library Media Specialists have one of the most important and most exciting jobs right now supporting our learning community with the tools and resources needed to meet these standards. Fortunately, our administrators in Colchester, CT understand how essential school librarians are in helping students master the CCSS, and they have created schedules to allow for collaborative opportunities with classroom lessons as well as time to offer professional development sessions.

  22. I’m a High School Librarian in AZ. (I have a BS and Masters Degree and have been threatened with reduction in force for librarians 4 times in the last 5 years)
    Before School 6:30 – 7:1 0 AM
    Library Assistant Arrives at 6:40 to prepare and opens library– counts cash drawer, turns on computers, prints library schedules for front office; opens library to up to 100+ students, checks in and out books, monitors computer use, answers questions.
    No AV Assistant
    Teacher Librarian Arrives at 6:20 to assist teachers and substitutes with AV equipment and videos, sets up laptop and projector for presentations around campus. Updates and changes scrolling announcements. Makes sure teachers have seating charts for labs. Makes sure bell system is up and running and correct for the day. Plans book display changes. Talks to teachers arriving for the day about the needs for the day/ week.
    1st Period 7:1 0 – 8:40 AM
    Library Assistant Begins organizing books returned before school for shelving, check out literature novels to a class of students, collect fines from them. Organizes the returned books, begins shelving. Checks out literature novels to another class of students, collect fines from them. Organizes the returned books for shelving. Monitors students who come in on pass
    No AV Assistant
    Teacher Librarian Visits teachers during prep (rotating list/ need list of teachers) to discuss planning, book needs, technology needs, mini-technology lessons. Returns to Library to select fiction books for upcoming order (involves review of book recommendations, current collection, curriculum needs, appeal of book, money available, student and teacher requests – very time-consuming) Helps teachers in computer labs with logging in and teaching of technology concepts. Helps monitor students. Fix things around campus/ mini tech trainings/ troubleshoot technology
    2nd Period 8:46 – 10:24 AM
    Library Assistant Check out literature novels to a class of students, collect fines from them. Organizes the returned books, continues shelving. Checks out literature novels to another class of students, collect fines from them. Organizes the returned books for shelving. Monitors students who come in on pass.
    No AV Assistant
    Teacher Librarian Creates book list for specific classes for outside reading. Creates book list for next book display. Begins next scrolling announcement library promotion slides. Does library related research: new books, book information, new technology strategies, finds new technology sites and applications for teachers. Schedule classes for upcoming computer lab times. Fix things around campus/ mini tech trainings/ troubleshoot technology.
    3rd Period/1st Lunch & 4th Period/2nd Lunch 10:37 — 12:3 5 PM
    Library Assistant Monitors lunch students, checks out books to lunch students and special education population. Reads story to special education students. Answers questions, collects book fines. Monitors students who come in on pass and takes 30 min lunch.
    No AV Assistant
    Teacher Librarian Monitor students 25-100+ during lunch hour. Students must be working/ reading/ studying to stay during lunch. Helping teacher in lab to monitor students/ help with lunch crowding and answer questions. Help special ed population check out books at their level. Begins pulling book list for book display. Fix things around campus/ mini tech trainings/ troubleshoot
    4th Period 12:40 – 2:10 PM
    Library Assistant Catches up on the shelving, straightens shelves, pulls books for teacher book carts. Pulls books for upcoming class research assignment. Monitors students who come in on pass. Begins laminating items left by teachers on campus. Cuts out laminated items and as time permits delivers laminated items to teachers
    No AV Assistant
    Teacher Librarian Visits teachers during prep (rotating list/ need list of teachers) to discuss planning, book needs, technology needs, mini-technology lessons. Returns to help with 2nd lunch crowd and computer usage – eats at desk… Schedule classes for upcoming computer lab times. Fix things around campus/ mini tech trainings/ troubleshoot
    After School 2:10 – 3:2 0 PM
    Library Assistant Shelves any remaining books from the day, monitors students using computers after school, answers questions, cleans and reorganizes shelves, checks shelves for order. Completes any last tasks for the day. Reorganizes literature novel room/ reshelves any lit novels returned that day and gets ready any novels that will be checked out the next day. Turns off computers in library and electronic lab for the night (60+) Counts and takes money collected from the day to the bookstore for deposit.
    No AV Assistant
    Teacher Librarian Sets up projector carts for any meetings/ presentations or banquets for the afternoon. Does Circulation program upkeep (deleting students, checking students accounts, email overdue/fine notices). Prepares handouts/ paperwork for the next day.

  23. I am a library science student at Simmons College and I work part time as a library assistant at a local high school. I love working there because of the value that the library is able to provide to the school community. The library is very well integrated into the school’s goals, and it is a go-to resource for students conducting research for classes and teachers looking for material to integrate into lesson plans.

    There are many great things I can say about what the library does for the school community, but a few specific ones come to mind. The librarian is very well liked around the school and frequently has graduated students stop by to visit her. One of the comments I hear most frequently from these students is how the library’s information literacy instruction has made them much more effective researchers than their peers at the colleges they are attending. The information literacy skills taught by the librarian prepares students to succeed in higher education, and in doing so strengthens their chances of succeeding later in life.

    The library is also excellent about providing students with the resources they prefer to use. It’s been said many times that young people are coming of age in a digital environment, and the library is well aware of that. While there are still book on shelves, the library also provides online databases, ebooks, computers, and ipads for students because they are much more comfortable seeking information in digital form. The librarian had the foresight to know that the best way to serve the student population is to meet them halfway and work with their preferred media. As a result the school’s library is the first stop for students when it comes time to do research for an assignment because the library can give them material with appropriate form and content.

    As I mentioned earlier, I could go on about the ways that the library enables student success at the high school I work at, but much of the good I see coming out of the library and its services relates to two major points I presented. By giving students information literacy skills and materials that meet their needs the library and its librarian have become points of pride for the school’s students, staff, and administration.

  24. I am a library student living in Boston, MA, but originally from Los Angeles, CA. I know first hand how education has been affected by cuts and neglect for our workers, communities, and students. I find the lack of investment into our communities and educational centers to be criminal. At its worst during the budget cuts, I recall people committing suicide, loosing their homes/ jobs, students at the higher education level paying more money for classes, class cuts, services cut, and the threat of more attacks. Librarians were some of the first people to loose their jobs or loose hours with no inkling to a rehire by school districts and universities.

    Truly, it baffles me how centers of information like school libraries would not be seen as places of achievement and educational nurturing and stimulation. After all, some school library programs demand more of school librarians than general track library students. These dedicated individuals must do practicum hours (for FREE), learn state standards in curriculum standards, and pay to pass a state test. Does this sound like a person who is not invested or able to provide exceptional standards?

    Working at public library in a low-income inner city city environment , these centers at the educational facility are needed more than some may think. The youth that would come to our branch, were motivated, fast-thinking, and just needed that place of refuge to get the information that perhaps their school could not support. Imagine if schools just invested a morsel-sized percentage of money to library campus services. Maybe test scores would improve and so would your community, moral, and more.

    Imagine?

  25. Are librarians needed? In a word: Google.

    Google is both a blessing and a bane. I’m not talking about the misconception that Google is rendering the librarian moot, either. I’m talking about how lazy it’s made people. The fancy algorithm can bring back an astounding amount of results. I just searched for the origins of Halloween and Google kindly brought back 42,900,000 results, in a mere .19 seconds no less! But that’s akin to drinking from a fire hose. That’s way too many results. But that’s what you get when you err on the site of recall and not precision. You’re left to wade through an ocean of results. Give it a shot yourself and see what the fire hose has to offer. But beware intrepid searcher, results may vary. Actually they will vary. I’ve done the search 3 times and got 3 different results. But that’s a topic for another day.

    Librarians, however, can teach folks how to improve their precision. The search strategies honed by librarians during those Google-less dark ages, may very well prove to be what saves people from the laziness Google breeds. Instead of just putting in the first word that comes to mind, a librarian will make you think about what, exactly, it is you’re looking for. Perhaps, what you’re really looking for is found under the archaic All Hallow’s Eve or even Samhain. Searching should be an exercise in precision not recall. Sound search strategies will help a person avoid taking a sip from the firehouse. It will give you what you’re really looking for, which is sometimes not what you’d expect. Perhaps the person that has your answer calls the subject by something else. Perhaps the authority on the origins of Halloween is a pagan and refers to it by its old name: Samhain. And perhaps that authority isn’t on Wikipedia, which nearly always ends up being the first result in a Google search.

    Speaking of authority, once you get the search strategies down, you must cast a discerning eye on the results. Just because a result is presented doesn’t mean it’s worthy of your time. For instance, an article written by the aforementioned pagan authority would be of a much different bent than one written by a Nestle Company representative. One written by a religious fellow that disapproves of the holiday would be different in yet another way. There’s far too much misinformation floating around on the internet for folks to haphazardly pick a result even if you’ve taken pains to weed out imprecise results. But without librarians and their super searching skills the lazy Google ways will win out.

  26. Take a look at abookandahug…website designed to match a student to the books that match his/her reading personality. Who else understands/knows the students AND knows the books better than the librarian????? Our children need to read and read well to be good 21st century learners and to achieve their own personal potential. Seventy-five librarians across the U.S constantly review and recommend books on abookandahug.

    The site also has a reader assessment, Which Reading Superhero Are You, that offers students a ten question assessment so they can begin to figure out what makes a book work for them.

    The site also contains Books Alive with about 40 author/illustrator tv interviews done by a librarian…free to download around the world.

    No one knows the books better than the librarians.. no one else focuses on knowing the books…when you know the books and you know the students you can have a huge and very powerful impact on their path and their future possibilities.

    Librarians ARE the answer.

  27. I am a proud school librarian. I am a teacher with 2 master’s degrees. I am a leader and a specialist in my school. My role is to:
    -help teachers design, implement, and evaluate lessons (that’s right, if we teach it–we grade it)
    -teach information and research skills
    -ensure that all students transition from being merely consumers of information to creators of information
    -develop digital citizens that understand the issues related to intellectual property
    -manage a library program that is fully integrated in all aspects of the curriculum
    -instill 21st century skills in all students preparing them for higher education, the workforce, and a productive life
    -encourage a love of life-long learning and inquiry
    Examples of some lessons that I have taught and evaluated in the last 2 months (I teach in a 9-12 high school):
    -students in English classes reading the Hot Zone participated in online discussion through the use of a class forum. Students were required to respond to a prompt and pose a question for classmates. They were also expected to comment on the work of others and discuss the book online.
    -students in math classes used 3 software programs, graphing calculators, digital cameras and web apps to complete “The Parabola Project” where they found a parabola in nature, created a quadratic regression, imported images from their calculators and created an online presentation where they evaluated each other online for effectiveness, accuracy, and creativity.
    -students in meteorology classes use library databases to research world events and create display cases in groups
    -senior students in English classes used a digitized research process to write a persuasive formal research paper. All phases of the process are electronic and students report from college that they “feel sorry for the other people in [their] college classes that don’t know the process [they] learned in high school”.
    -after reading “Things Fall Apart” and “Ender’s Game” students complete a mini-research paper using library databases and citing sources in perfect formal citation styles
    -Biology students begin the year-long science project with a review of literature for their chosen topic. I created a digital presearch activity for these students instructing them on search term creation, Boolean searching, citation styles, and material evaluation
    -Special Education students created a cartoon using the web app “Kerpoof” comparing the landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover to the 1960’s Moon Walk.
    And I have assisted all of these teachers by grading these assignments and providing timely feedback to students. For examples of completed student work or for more reasons why school librarians matter, visit: http://www4.bluevalleyk12.org/bvn/lmc/ or follow us on Twitter: @bvnlibrary

  28. Librarians are skilled problem solvers that train students to become information literate in an age when information literacy is one of the most critical areas of knowledge. Librarians are able to help students find the information and learning resources which help them to be successful in their classes and educational endeavors, while also giving them guidance on how to do this independently. I don’t find it surprising at all that the presence of full-time school librarians boost student scores, according to a number of studies. The facts speak for themselves.

  29. I am a high school librarian in Pennsylvania and we are fortunate to have a librarian in everybuilding full-time. We have lost our full-time assistants on the elementary level but still have them on the secondary level.
    My job involves opening at 7 a.m. to the 50+ students that are here in the morning. With 30 before school begins, they are woking in groups, printing off their homework, checking grades and email and preparing for the day.
    I teach every day to a variety of students and subjects. Everything from website evaluation to creating a works cited to book talks to technology integration.
    I also assist with professional development opportunities to staff by teaching classes after school and as a tech liaison for my building and administration.
    I am fully involved in what happens in my school and the staff and students see my value. Often after a class graduates, I hear from several students the following fall asking for some assistance with sources and pointing them in the correction direction as they research in college.
    I enjoy every part of my day and what makes it better is knowing the my students are better citizens because of what they learn as a direct result of my instruction.

  30. I am a school library media specialist at a 4th-6th grade intermediate school in NJ.

    I support students by:
    - teaching them how to use the catalog
    - helping them find books at their reading level that will help them with their research
    - encouraging their lifelong love of literature by connecting them with books they love
    - teaching them how to use databases
    - teaching them how to use Google’s advanced features (and get better results)
    - teaching them how to use all the tools that a library has to offer (dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, etc. – online and print)
    - teaching them how to think about and assess the validity of online information

    I support teachers by:
    - teaching them how to use the catalog
    - helping them find books that will support their lesson plans
    - helping them find amazing read-alouds
    - teaching them how to use databases

    I work with my assistant to put Lexile #’s in all of our fiction books so that students and teachers can find books at their reading level.

    I recently wrote a grant that was funded by our education foundation for a district-wide subscription to NoodleTools, which supports ethical research and helps even the youngest students understand citation styles and the necessity of tracking/citing sources.

    I cannot find the words to describe the joy that I feel when a student tells me “I read [book] and I loved it. What else do you think I should read?” or when a teacher says “My class loved [book] or [resources] and we had such a great experience. What else do you recommend?”

    Our Personnel Director is fond of saying that the librarians touch every student in the school. It’s true.

  31. Librarians are trained in matching books to readers, teaching critical thinking when choosing resources for study, stocking the library with tools that students and teachers need and MORE. They know how to discern the best path to answer questions that students and teachers raise. They SHARE all that is good and beneficial to learning; they give and give and give and spread the learning around.
    This is more an emotional comment than research-based, but every good arguement needs emotion.

  32. I would check out the AASL website. http://www.aasl.org/ The AASL Standards for 21st Century Learners are there as well as other resources to support the need for school librarians in today’s schools. Best of luck with your endeavor and thanks for taking on the challenge to get a school librarian in your school. If there is anything I can do to be of help, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  33. So many great suggestions already, I’d like to add some, although I am a high school librarian, it still holds true at elementary:
    1. Teach digital literacy to students (and teachers!)
    2. Web 2.0 skills
    3. Curating resources to supplement classroom instruction
    4. Provide the link between grade levels on unique projects around research and critical thinking
    5. Integrate researching and inquiry skills
    6. Work with teachers on project based learning projects
    7. Promote literature and genre studies
    8. Internet safety
    9. Community presentations – collaborate with public libraries to extend learning beyond the school for students, parents and community
    10. Integrate technology in the classroom and offer professional development to teachers
    11. Create a collection, and highlight that collection, in a way that inspires students to read for information and enjoyment
    12. Be the go-to person for administration when implementing a new initiative school or district wide

    In essence, your librarian is the heart of your building! Kudos to you for fighting for one! Best of luck to you! Please feel free to contact me if you would like more – this is simply a quick list :-)

  34. Hi Colby,

    Your school definitely needs a certified librarian! Here’s a glimpse at some of the things I do in my role as K-5 school librarian:

    Provide reader advisory to classes of students, individual students and teachers.
    Order books, DVDs, and other material to support curriculum.
    Teach students how to research, locate resources, read for information, take notes, and synthesize the information while citing sources and ethically using information.
    Teach digital citizenship.
    Maintain a library web site with resources for all grades.
    Teach library lessons that are integrated with art, physical education, music, social studies, science, and ELA.
    Provide support and modeling to teachers learning how to integrate technology (iMovie, blogging, iPad apps, etc…).
    Work with teachers when developing new science and social studies units.
    Teach students how to be effective searchers when using databases and web sites.
    Coordinate a Mock Newbery book club- Currently 75 students are taking part in the book club.
    Coordinate authors visits (both in-person and via Skype).
    Organize school-wide reading celebrations (World Read Aloud Day, Poem in Your Pocket Day, Mock Caldecott, Dr. Seuss’ Birthday)
    Speak to parents at PTO sponsored events. Topics have included: graphic novels, summer reading, and digital citizenship/ Internet safety.
    Lead a professional learning teams (Last year the focus was The Book Whisperer, this year the focus is the Common Core State Standards).
    Make recommendations to teachers who are looking for books to read aloud, books for literature circles, and books to support science and social studies.
    Run two state book award programs (picture book award for grades K-3 and middle grade book award for grades 4&5) within our school.

    I’m fortunate to work in a school where the administrators see the value of the school librarian as a teacher, a curriculum expert and a resource to students, parents and teachers. Colby, have your principal vist the AASL site to view Standards for the 21st Century Learner.
    http://www.ala.org/aasl/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/standards

  35. Why do your students need a talented and dedicated librarian? Otherwise they might turn out like this Allstate ad character.

    No, seriously, librarians are not just about finding information but also about discriminating between different types of information sources. Critical thinking skills and information literacy are necessary skills, mentioned in most state core curricula, that librarians are uniquely well-positioned to develop.

  36. School librarians teach Common Core skills. Every level of the Common Core contains student research benchmarks. School librarians specialize in teaching student research, and work with students to hit these benchmarks. And I also second what everyone else has said.

  37. I am very lucky to work at a school where I have an amazing librarian who works with teachers and gets students excited about reading. I am doubly blessed because I also have an amazing library aide who works full time and is amazing as well. My school librarian loves to collaborate with teachers and has lead some amazing activities at our school such as: leading sessions to do research for research projects in the computer lab, running computer classes, leading reading month activities, poetry projects, helping with technology such as Skyping with other teachers, librarians and well known authors as well as running after school professional development activities. He is also a leader in his field. He is on the Caldecott committee and attends professional library conferences. He is always getting our library new and excellent books. He works well with all teachers, students and staff. The students love him. A student the other day said about my librarian- “I really like Mr. Jonkers.” He is respected and looked up to by all. Colby, his students and his school district deserve someone as wonderful as Mr. Jonkers to help students love reading and also to stay on top of the latest in technology and research.

  38. I think there’s a misperception sometimes that the only people who want libraries are those of older generation clinging fondly to them for nostalgia’s sake. I am twenty four years old and about as tech savvy as you can get, but I attribute much of my academic success in life thus far to the atmosphere librarians created for me in my younger years.

    At my high school, the library was a popular hub to hang out and do homework after school. It was a place that made learning fun; learning being fun made us learn better and learn more. Without the librarian being there, the place would never have had the atmosphere it did of a place of study. Even some other supervisor would never have sufficed: we were bright, questioning kids, and when we had a question that we were having trouble finding the answer to, you can bet it wasn’t an easy answer to find. We needed a well-educated librarian to help us.

    Librarians were also the only people in my middle-school years to show me the value of a computer as a research tool. I played plenty of computer games and typed some of my essays on a computer, but without the librarians to show me how to search effectively through online databases, I would never have come to view a computer as a powerful research tool. I taught technology classes at a middle school last year and was discouraged to find how many of the kids viewed the computers as just platforms to write or play games. They were good creative writers, but they hadn’t had the experience of using the computers for research, so they didn’t realize how much computers could teach them. I think a large part of this is due to their school, unlike my middle and high schools, not having computers in the library and not having a librarian to demonstrate their use. They could type words in Google, but were unable to find many wonderful sources and unable to evaluate the quality of the ones they did find. A librarian had taught me these skills. As a teacher outside their library, I felt I was never able adequately to teach them the same skills.

    Tracking back to elementary school, it was librarians who helped guide my earliest reading. They helped me find the books to suit my needs and set me on the right track. Without the love of books I got from that library, I would never have gained a my love of learning. Without the librarians, I would never have found the right books for that love to grow.

  39. Sometimes you need to hit them where it hurts, so I’m taking a sentimental approach.

    This may come as a shock, but as it turns out being a kid is hard. So is being a teacher. Teacher’s cannot engage and meet the needs of every student, and the classroom is not the ideal learning environment for many (probably most, considering rising student to teacher ratios). School librarians can help ensure at least some of those children don’t fall through the cracks. The child who is disinterested and unmotivated out of boredom; the shy, lonely, and isolated; the reluctant reader or otherwise challenged – all of them can be pushed, nurtured and supported by a well trained school librarian.

    I’ve experienced this on a personal level. As a child I didn’t have many friends. School was difficult, but I loved to read (sometimes to the detriment of my classroom work). Ms. Tannen, and later Ms. Wyck, reached me ways no classroom teacher had and likely couldn’t have. They introduced me to Gary Boone and other weird kids; life got a lot less lonely. They didn’t balk when I asked if I could read the AKC’s Complete Dog Book, the dictionary, or anything else. They encouraged discovery, curiousity and exploration by allowing (and inviting) me to pursue my interests, wherever they led. Perhaps not surprisingly, I learned a lot about dogs, but other things too. They helped me develop a sense of self confidence and yes, a life long love for knowledge and learning and libraries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>