What Does a School Librarian Do?

What a school librarian does depend on their organization, training and job duties. Most school librarians are tasked with ensuring that students and staff gain new information by providing access to digital and physical resources. They encourage students to become intellectual consumers by maximizing learning experiences and teaching how to use instructional and information technology. They are usually employed in an education facility inside the information center. However, librarians do more than just shelve books, answer questions and locate resources, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. School librarians do everything from conducting literacy outreach programs to managing media resources to administering budgets and projects.

Administration Duties

School libraries may managerial or administrative duties. This means they will plan and implement long-range goals with faculty and school administration. They will establish budgets for library administration, school-based councils and community advisory committees based on the needs and objectives school. They periodically meet with school principals and administrators to evaluate progress, highlight accomplishments and discuss short-term goals. They review and update library, media center and school related policies.

They usually must create plans for maintaining and upgrading library technology. They supervise employees and volunteers who organize, classify and catalog library materials and resources. They collect suggestions and feedback from faculty and students about services, materials, programs and satisfaction levels. They evaluate these programs, services, facilities and materials to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement.

Resource Maintenance and Collection Development

Some librarians must follow district-approved resource management policies. This includes policies for material selection, disposal and reconsideration. School librarians follow nationally recognized professional standards of resource maintenance and management. They apply their knowledge of the school curriculum to help teachers plan for using specific collections of materials. School librarians may expand materials by using popular selection tools like workshops, bibliographies, periodical reviews and expert recommendations.

They use their professional judgment to help students select current, relevant and research-based materials. Sometimes librarians will focus on expanding the current material collection to include more diverse and multicultural selections. They may maintain statistical records that are used to verify material circulation and library service requests. They are sometimes asked to schedule repair and maintenance for computer and audio-visual equipment.

Library Media Services

Some school librarians exclusively work with media resources and services. This means they help students and groups access and explore the media center that contains visual, written and listening materials. They provide training to staff and students in the use of new materials, technology and equipment. They support teachers in the development of instructional activities and curriculum with print and digital materials.

They help teachers select and check out media materials that supplement classroom activities and instruction. Schools located in densely populated areas may employ library media service specialists oversee district-wide media programs. This generally requires them to regularly travel to different locations to provide training, support and supervision. These librarians will most likely oversee the facilitation and circulation of inter-library materials among schools in the district, region and even state.

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What a school librarian does also include student services, which starts with creating a climate conducive to learning, initiative and personal responsibility. Student services responsibilities involve librarians helping students to develop independent research work and cooperative group learning habits. Most teachers can qualify for an entry-level school librarian position with a few years of classroom experience, a master’s degree from an accredited university and a graduate-level school librarian certificate.