Position Statement on the Role of the School Library Program
Learning for life…whether the focus is on readiness for the next grade or college and career readiness, the school library program plays a crucial role in preparing students for informed living in the 21st century. Today’s information universe affords opportunities for around-the-clock access to information in diverse and often unjuried venues. Citizens of this information world must have the skills and dispositions to access information efficiently and to assess critically the sources they rely upon for decision-making, problem solving, and generation of new knowledge.
The school library program provides learning opportunities in multiple literacies that enable students to become efficient and effective in the pursuit of information. Further, the school library program encourages a critical stance as it encourages students to examine the authority of authors and the bias of sponsors; to assess the importance of currency of information to the topic at hand; and to determine the scope and relevance of information to meet their needs. This instruction occurs best in the context of the school curriculum where students have a need to know and are guided by a standard of excellence set by their classroom teachers in collaboration with the school librarian.
Beyond its curricular role, the school library program gives each individual member of the learning community a venue for exploring questions that arise out of individual curiosity and personal interest. As part of the school library program, the school librarian provides leadership in the use of information technologies and instruction for both students and staff in how to use them constructively, ethically, and safely. The school librarian offers expertise in accessing and evaluating information, using information technologies, and collections of quality physical and virtual resources. In addition, the school librarian possesses dispositions that encourage broad and deep exploration of ideas as well as responsible use of information technologies. These attributes add value to the school community.
The school library program is based on long-range goals developed through strategic planning and reflecting the mission of the school. The school librarian participates fully in all aspects of the school’s instructional program including federally mandated programs and reform efforts. The school library program provides flexible and equitable access to all, physically as well as virtually. The collection includes materials to meet the needs of all learners, representing various points of view on current and historical issues, as well as a wide variety of interest areas. Policies, procedures and guidelines are developed to maintain the school library program. Library staffing and budget are sufficient to support the school’s instructional program and meet the needs of the school library program goals.
The school library represents for students one of our most cherished freedoms--the freedom to speak our minds and hear what others have to say. Students in America have the right to choose what they will read, view, or hear and are expected to develop the ability to think clearly, critically, and creatively about their choices, rather than allowing others to do this for them.