I spent some time discussing curriculum and making plans for grant applications with my media specialist today. I can’t imagine a school without a media specialist and it is sad that budget cuts have forced us into the position where our media specialists aren’t able to join PLC meetings. The one I work with knows the Technology standards inside and out; she has valuable connections with publishing companies; and she is willing to do whatever it takes to help students, parents, and teachers.
I have a few questions about trends in school libraries. Is it better to classify media specialists as “support staff” or as “teacher librarians?” Should instructional resources be catalogued like student books and magazines? How many districts and schools across our nation have decided to balance their budgets at the expense of media specialists? What impact will this have long term?
The exchange of information and ideas between a media specialist and an instructional facilitator (IF) is dynamic! I remember the planning process of the middle school where I taught before becoming an elementary IF. Teachers were given a planning template that had spaces on it to check who was collaborated with: the media specialist, the learning coach (now called instructional facilitator), and the technology facilitator. We actually had one ideal year that we had all three of those positions filled full time and the media specialist had an assistant so she could work with teachers while her assistant checked out books. That year, we experienced test score increases which we were directly related to the time our media specialist, learning coach, and technology facilitator invested training us to use information technology and collaborating with us on instruction just like this article describes Education World: Strong Libraries Improve Student Achievement.