Educators and students, don’t forget to tap into one of your best resources as you begin this school year…your school librarian!
In today’s school libraries, you can find lively, vibrant spaces focused on learning and community. A school librarian provides personalized learning environments and offers equitable access to resources to ensure a well-rounded education for every learner.
What exactly can your school librarian do for you?
- love to collaborate with others. Co-planning and co-teaching are foundational objectives in school librarianship. Ask your school librarian how they can help achieve classroom goals.
- support all students in all their curricular goals. This puts school librarians in the unique position to see connections between grade levels and across subject areas, allowing them to make meaningful connections with students and educators.
- focus on equitable and inclusive instruction, because they see and serve every student in the school. They can gather resources and plan instruction that supports students with a variety of learning needs including those receiving special education, ELL, or gifted and talented services.
- save classroom teachers time by evaluating and assembling print & digital resources that promote highly engaging instruction aligned with curriculum objectives.
- receive training in inquiry-based (research) instruction. They are skilled in leading learners through how to select topics, ask questions, search for information, evaluate sources, take notes, and create citations.
- are experts in reader’s advisory. They can help students locate & request print or digital books for curricular connection & personal enjoyment.
- use innovative methods to spark a life-long love of reading by providing book clubs, book talks, book tastings, author chats, engaging displays, and more.
- build community. Everyone can find a place in their school library. It is not just a place for readers and researchers. Through clubs and activities, special events, contests, makerspaces, crafts, puzzles, games, and more, school librarians create a culture of belonging.
- are technology partners. They can guide staff and students as they locate, test out, or use technology resources for learning activities. They are often first adopters who try out a resource to learn how it can best support learning and curricular needs.
- provide individual and group professional learning. They love to work with teachers one-on-one or in group settings. They can also support parents and guardians through similar offerings.
- can be your top copyright consultant. They can help identify legal and reasonable solutions to copyright and fair use concerns. And, if they don’t know the answer, they are tenacious researchers who will often find what you need.
- are your skilled research assistant. If you need help locating information to support professional learning (professional journal articles, research studies, etc.), they are here for you as you continue in your professional journey.
As you contemplate what school resources and supplies you need this year, remember, the school librarian is one of the best resources available to you. Be sure to stop by the school library and say hi. We love that. What we love even more is supporting our communities. We are here all year long to help you reach your goals!
Courtney Pentland is a high school librarian in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is adjunct faculty for the University of Nebraska-Omaha School Library program and has served on the Nebraska School Librarians Association board as board member at large, president, and chapter delegate to AASL. She is the 2023-2024 American Association of School Librarians President.