Ten Things Your Administrator Needs to Know as the School Year Begins

10. That you are a teacher who teaches not content but process. You teach children to be information literate, digitally literate, media literate, and visually literate. The skills that you teach, the dispositions that you help children to develop, the responsibilities that you foster, and the self-assessment strategies that you instill will serve children not only in school but also in life. You are, first and foremost, a teacher!

9. That you are an information specialist, the original, most powerful search engine, able to decipher the most cryptic reference question and connect that child or that teacher with the information needed. You know the resources;  you know your patrons, and you connect the two.

8. That you are an instructional partner who works collaboratively with all other educators in the building to teach critical information skills in the context of content curriculum. You are there to partner with that teacher who wants to present a lesson in a different way or who wants to have children create a more authentic product to demonstrate real learning. Because of your participation, the lesson is stronger and more effective.

7. That you are an instructional leader with a view and perspective of the school like no other. You see across grades and across content areas. You work with all students and with all teachers. You are well versed in the latest technologies and are able to integrate them effectively into instruction, and you’re able to provide professional development on library resources and technologies for your colleagues.

6.  That you are a program administrator who does a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to make sure that the library program runs smoothly. So much of your job is invisible, and your principal needs to know that.

5. That you empower students to become critical thinkers. Through lessons in the library students experience everything from comparing and contrasting nonfiction and fiction works on the same topic to creating in a makerspace to evaluating information found on the Web.

4. That you empower students to become enthusiastic readers as you do everything in your power to help them develop not only skills in reading but also a lifelong love of reading. You provide books in various formats (print, audio, ebook) and in various genres to meet students’ information and recreational reading needs. You host reading promotions, and you stress the joy of reading.

3. That you empower students to become skillful researchers. You teach children to unpack information using text features in books. You teach children how to summarize and how to synthesize, and you teach them the differences in the two. You teach children to narrow topics, develop research questions, and search effectively to answer those questions.

2. That you empower students to become ethical users of information. You teach the concept of intellectual property, of citation, and of giving credit where credit is due. You help children to understand what plagiarism is, and you teach them how to extract and process and synthesize information to create a new product.

1. That school librarians transform student learning and that this is much easier to accomplish with administrative support. An administrator’s support can come in many forms: a healthy budget, a schedule that allows for common planning time with teachers, affirmation to faculty of the important role of the library program in the school and in student learning.

If your administrator already knows these things, wonderful!  You or a librarian with whom they’ve worked in the past has demonstrated what a 21st-century school librarian does! If your administrator is not so knowledgeable about the key role that you can play in the instruction that takes place in your school, now is the time to speak up and share. Be the librarian that delivers that message!


Author: Audrey Church, Leadership Development Committee Chair and 2017-2018 AASL Past President

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Community, Presidential Musings

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