Position Statement on Instructional Classification
AASL supports the inclusion of certified school librarians as part of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) "Instruction" classification.
School libraries are classrooms in which school librarians teach and students and teachers learn. In school libraries, students read, utilize print, non-print, and technology resources, and learn to evaluate and use information for projects and reports efficiently, effectively, and ethically, with the goal of developing lifelong learning and literacy skills and strategies. In school library programs, classroom teachers and school librarians collaborate for instruction and support the development of each other's teaching skills. Multiple research studies, more than 60 since 1965, have affirmed that there is a clear link between school library programs staffed by state-certified school librarians and increased student achievement (Library Research Services).
School librarians are recognized by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) as teachers whose teaching can be measured to meet standards for professional teaching excellence. School librarians are teachers who serve as crucial partners in ensuring that states and school districts meet the reading requirements that are part of No Child Left Behind (P.L. 107-110). In Part B, Subpart 1, Section 1208 of No Child Left Behind (P.L. 107-110), Instructional Staff is defined as "principals, teachers, supervisors of instruction, librarians, and school librarians".
Despite the vital role school librarians play as teachers and collaborators with classroom teachers, NCES classifies school librarians as "Support Staff-- Instruction" rather than "Instruction" along with classroom teachers. School librarians were placed in the instructional support category by NCES in the 1950s and, despite the evolution of school librarians' work from book warehouse managers to instructional leaders and partners, school librarians remain in this support staff classification. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and NCES conflict in their classification of school librarians.
Failure to classify school librarians as instructional staff and to recognize the impact of state-certified school librarians on student achievement, especially in reading, may result in a critical loss of funding for library positions and resources and a dangerous deterioration of library services for our nation's children. AASL will take a lead role over the next several years to communicate with state and national government leaders as well as the leadership of educational organizations about the importance of, and the role played by, school librarians in student achievement.
View the Instructional Classification Toolkit