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Position Statement on the School Library Media Supervisor

Today's schools demand the presence of quality library media programs in order to meet the needs of students in gaining the competencies needed to manage the vast amount of knowledge in our rapidly changing, technologically oriented world. Superior instruction requires the use of multiple instructional resources in the educational process. To satisfy these needs, the quality school library media program is led by a library media supervisor and staffed by qualified library media professionals and competent library media support personnel. The responsibilities of a supervisor encompass many areas but can be classified as those of administrator, communicator, teacher, facilitator and leader.

ADMINISTRATOR: The library media supervisor directs and administers the library media program based on a plan of action that is based on the district's mission statement, goals, and objectives. The supervisor is responsible for evaluating and making recommendations for the improvement of the library media program, developing and administering the budget, and administering district policies and procedures. Additional responsibilities include administering policies regarding materials selection, the handling of challenged materials and copyright issues. Personnel responsibilities include selection, supervision and evaluation of the district media office staff, and, along with principals, selection and evaluation of building library media staff. Closely related activities are the development of job descriptions and the recruitment of school library media personnel. In a consulting capacity, the supervisor is actively involved in specifications for remodeling or new construction of library media centers.

COMMUNICATOR: The supervisor must know and be able to explain the district's goals and objectives, administrative and educational policies, and philosophy. The supervisor conveys information to library media specialists, teachers, administrators, parents, and students through the development of newsletters, manuals, handbooks, presentations, and bulletins. Reports and studies pertaining to library media are provided as needed to the district, the state, or other agencies. The interpretation and promotion of library media programs are important functions of the supervisor. Serving as a spokesperson for school library media programs, the supervisor represents the district in government, private agencies, and professional organizations. The supervisor provides information on educational studies, research, standards, legislation, and growth opportunities to library media staff, administrators, and other teachers.

TEACHER: The supervisor serves as a teacher in developing and coordinating an integrated program of library/information skills instruction, and as a resource person to administrators, teachers, library media specialists, and students. The supervisor provides staff development in the use of instructional resources and technology innovations for school district personnel.

FACILITATOR: The supervisor coordinates the operation of a district-wide library media program that encompasses all aspects of instructional resources. The major goal is to provide access to information through a variety of sources at each building and throughout the district. The supervisor serves as a member of curriculum development teams, and as a planner and implementor of the K-12 instructional program.

LEADER: The supervisor is alert to new ideas, keeps abreast of innovative teaching methods, and applies research principles to the development and advancement of library media programs. The supervisor assesses needs and develops long-range plans for the district and building level library media programs. The supervisor gives direction to the district in implementing the objectives of the school library media program.


The Library Media Supervisor as Administrator

There is an opening for a library media specialist in one school. The library media supervisor screens the applications to select qualified applicants. The supervisor reviews the job description with the interview team and drafts interview questions based on input from team members. As chairperson of the interview team, the supervisor directs the questioning of the candidate by team members and leads the team in arriving at consensus on the candidate to be hired.

The Library Media Supervisor as Communicator

The library media supervisor writes a monthly one page newsletter for all building and district level administrators. The newsletter contains short articles on what is happening in the library media centers in the district and explains some of the state and national trends and how these trends might impact the district. The trends have been identified by reading journals in the education and library media fields and by attending workshops and conferences. Building level library media specialists receive copies of the newsletter so they may share items of interest with others in their buildings.

The Library Media Supervisor as Teacher

After a discussion with the building level librarian and the school administrator, the library media supervisor presents a series of seminars for the faculty on the impact of collaborative planning and flexibly scheduled access to library media centers on teaching and learning.

The Library Media Specialist as Facilitator

During the revision of the information literacy curriculum, the library media supervisor acts as chairperson of the committee. To focus the committee's work on incorporating the information retrieval and use skills into units of instruction, the supervisor brings copies of the national standards and examples of exemplary curricula and relates them to the curricular goals of the district.

The Library Media Specialist as Leader

fter reviewing the district's policy on copyright, the library media supervisor alerts the superintendent to the need for a policy revision especially in the area of new and emerging technologies. At the superintendent's request, the library media supervisor forms a committee of library media specialists, teachers, principals, students and community members to revise the policy. The library media supervisor is available to interpret the new policy when it is presented to the school board for adoption.

Adopted by the AASL Board, June 1994


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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.