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Position Statement on the Role of the Library Media Specialist in Outcomes-Based Education

The library media specialist has an essential role in curriculum development. Outcomes-based education is a curriculum practice which establishes clearly defined learner outcomes based on the premise that all students can be successful learners. High expectation outcomes, which are essential for success after graduation, require carefully aligned curriculum, instructional strategies and performance-based assessment. In their unique roles as information specialist, teacher, and instructional consultant, library media specialists actively participate in both the planning and implementation of outcomes-based education.

As Information Specialist, the library media specialist working collaboratively with teachers, administrators, and parents:

  • provides knowledge of availability and suitability of information resources to support curriculum initiatives;
  • engages in the developmental process with the planning team, using knowledge of school curriculum and professional resources;
  • facilitates the use of presentation tools in print, technology, and media for dissemination efforts;
  • serves as an expert in organizing, synthesizing, and communicating information.

As Teacher:

  • determines learning outcomes, including those in information literacy, for all students in the school and/or system;
  • plans, implements, and evaluates resource-based learning;
  • integrates information literacy into all curriculum outcomes;
  • develops on-going performanced-based assessments for determining the achievement of outcomes.

As Instructional Consultant:

  • facilitates development of teachers understanding and implementation of outcomes-based education;
  • plans for learning environments supportive of curriculum integration;
  • previews and selects resources and technology to accomodate the learning styles and multiple intelligences of students;
  • designs and implements a variety of instructional strategies and experiences that engage each student in successful learning.

INFORMATION POWER: GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOL LIBRARY MEDIA PROGRAMS states that the mission of the library media program is to ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information. The school library media specialist is a powerful partner in providing an integrative curriculum that prepares students for success in the twenty-first century.



Library media specialists actively participate in the planning and implementation of outcomes-based education as information specialists, teachers and instructional consultants. In the following scenarios, library media specialists demonstrate these essential roles.


SCENARIO #1 - A library media specialist, recently appointed to the school district's new Outcomes-Based Committee, returning to the library media center goes on-line to locate information sources on this new curriculum initiative. After assessing the suitability of accumulated resources, the library media specialist selects three full-text articles to copy for the committee members and prepares an annotated bibliography of additional resources.

SCENARIO #2 - A library media specialist, and two other members of the Outcomes-Based Education Committee, are working together to prepare a presentation for a public hearing on the outcomes proposed by the committee. After some discussion, the group decides to use a variety of media to communicate their outcomes proposal. The library media specialist has assembled a number of resources, which can be used for the presentation. Working together, the three teachers select appropriate text, audio, and visuals for their multimedia presentation.


SCENARIO #1 - A library media specialist, as a member of the K-8 science curriculum writing team, is meeting with the group to identify the information literacy outcomes that will become part of the science curriculum. After reviewing the learning outcomes of the library media department, the team decides to integrate information literacy skills into the study of an estuary. The team asks the library media specialist to work with other team members to prepare suitable examples to be incorporated into the curriculum document.

SCENARIO #2 - A library media specialist and an English teacher are meeting with a class of high school students to evaluate video projects recently completed by the class under the guidance of the library media specialist. The videos are being used as a part of the assessment of an extensive research project on contemporary American authors. Later, the two teachers will meet to discuss and evaluate the process the students used to complete their projects.


SCENARIO #1 - A library media specialist is meeting with the middle school social studies department to determine the resources needed for their recently developed outcomes curriculum. Suggestions are given for the use of primary sources in several units, and a variety of multimedia programs which fit and demonstrate the desired outcomes. Annotated bibliographies of other available resources and examples of assessment products are provided.

SCENARIO #2 - A library media specialist, after reviewing the new curriculum documents and soliciting input from the faculty, meets with the school administrator to discuss the need to provide a wider variety of learning environments within the library media center. A tentative long-range plan has been prepared which would add additional resources, in a wide variety of formats, to the library media collection. In addition, a floor-plan providing more space for production of materials needed for assessment is presentated. The administrator, while agreeing in principle with the plan, expresses concern about fiscal constraints; both agree to investigate grant possibilities.

Scenarios adopted 6/94


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Last Revised: July 20, 2009
Position statement adopted by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association.