and retired as the Library Director of the Chelmsford Public Schools
Questions may be submitted for this column using the confidential link at the bottom of this post
"Hi Library Legend, I have been at my current high school for nearly ten years. In that time my classes have shifted from introduction lessons on technology and web 2.0 creation sites towards research, advanced search, and citation. My problem is that my faculty has become much more tech savvy, they are very comfortable with NoodleTools, and as a whole they have become far more information savvy as well. Honestly, I feel like I have put myself out of a job! Any suggestions for reinvigorating my curriculum? Many thanks, "
You have educated and trained your staff to be self-starters and comfortable using and applying information. The same could be said for your students. Ultimately, you have done your job well. And for this success you feel as if your job is in jeopardy? Nonsense! Your curriculum doesn’t need reinvigorating; it needs more flexibility.
School librarians for decades have been encouraged to be in possession of a set “curriculum” or a scope and sequence of skill sets to be taught throughout the school year. Once those skills are “taught” our job is done. As teachers observe and participate in classes where these skills are taught, they are learning alongside their students. Once that happens, they feel comfortable teaching those skills themselves. Have we taught ourselves out of a job? Absolutely not!
We have so much more to add to student learning. If we, as school librarians, think about how to add value to co-taught lessons, this extends far beyond what we think of as typical information literacy skills. Consider teaching more about certain literacies (i.e. Media Literacy), different technology boosts for lessons, instructional designs, and inquiry methods. If your teachers were on board enough for you to have reached them and taught them how to use NoodleTools, and advance search techniques, then they will trust you to go a step further.
Introducing the framework of Carol Kuhlthau’s “Information Search Process” into co-taught opportunities with your teachers is just one way of offering something helpful and “new” when working with students. This process is very holistic and student-centric, and shores up teacher’s commitment to the Common Core. The possibilities are endless. Just know that your school and your teachers and students need you now more than ever. The job is yours for as long as you want it to be!!
"I read this in one person's query today, and wondered if this is true: "Following the decision of NEASC to remove the need for a certified librarian in vocational schools (where I am currently employed) and presumably public schools will follow" Is this correct? This is the first I've heard of it and it seems like big news. Can you comment?"
After a lengthy and pleasant conversation with Bruce Sievers, an Associate Director of NEASC with a primary responsibility for technical high schools, I came away with a much clearer understanding of the requirements for library staffing in vocational/technical schools.
Bruce pointed out that there are new standards (Committee on Technical and Career Institutions 2015 Standards for Accreditation) being phased in for vocational/technical schools beginning in 2017. In these standards, the “Library” no longer has its own standard, but they have combined many standards for efficiency and for use over all the types of schools covered by these standards. The two main school “types” are the vocational technical schools in the 9 – 12 grade range, and the special technical schools that accept students as part-day programs.
The new 2015 standards have five areas pertaining to the library. The most pertinent to this discussion is Standard 5, Indicator 3, which states:
In order to improve student learning through professional development, the principal and professional staff: ensure that all faculty and staff meet state and local certification requirements.
This would specifically cover the school librarian, and other teachers and staff members.
These new standards can be found at https://ctci.neasc.org/sites/ctci.neasc.org/files/downloads/Secondary/ctci_2015-standards-web.pdf
And the standards and indicators that specifically affect the library would be:
Standard 3.5 …
Standard 6.5 …
In conclusion, the short answer is that the division of NEASC covering Vocational Technical Schools is still very much on board with requiring a professional in the library. If you have further questions, please contact Bruce Sievers at Bsieverer@neasc.org.
---- Respectfully submitted by The Library Legend