Recently the International Society for Technology Educators (ISTE) Special Interest Group for Media Specialists (SIGMS) brought some forward minded thinkers together to create another supporting document that increases resources in the school librarian’s advocacy toolkit. Working together, Joyce Valenza, Ernie Cox, Doug Johnson, Keisa Williams, and Wendy Stephens produced a supporting document for librarians to use to promote one’s self as technology leader at the school level. So how can librarians use this document?
Educate the masses!
Too often librarians lament their educational community does not understand the role of the school librarian in today’s school setting. Use the document as a talking point with your administrators (including assistant principals who often head up curriculum or professional development initiatives at the school level) as you work to be utilized in a more efficient and productive way in your school. The school librarian is a technology leader, and the supporting document may help your administrator see that you are a readily available source for not only teaching students and modeling 21st century learning and instructional practice, but also have the realization that staff development can be “home grown” from your own school for your teachers. Pair this document with the ISTE NETS-A standards to bring understanding and spur conversations regarding how the school librarian plays a role in this. These documents can help your principal envision you as a source for staff development that (bonus!!) won’t cost your school fees to bring in outside experts or spend travel expenses to send teachers for professional development. Your leading any professional development also gives you a forum to advocate for your own library program. Your leadership in this area can help teachers view the library media center as more than just a book warehouse or additional computer lab in the building. You will be able to make connections to curriculum and project design, plugging information literacy into standards based activities and projects by being the leader in technology in your building.
Educate our own!
It is in our best interests as school librarians (often singletons in our schools) to share this document with our own groups, such as state, district, and local organizations. Those serving on committees, like variations of strategic planning groups, leadership, or district, local, and state school librarian and teacher educator organizations should submit the document and a brief summary for publication in the literature shared by those organizations. School librarians that blog should even post links to the document and share in their online networks, PLNs, PLCs, and other connected members of the shared learning environments. If we wait for others to advocate for our roles in the school, well, it just may never happen. Be proactive and share the two-page document when and where ever you can. And share it wherever school librarians gather, be it at district functions, conferences, or in online networks (i.e. like the online community Teacher Librarian Café.)
Where can I find it?
The document penned by the ISTE SIGMS group is titled “The Role of School Librarians in Promoting the Use of Educational Technologies” and is available as a pdf download from the ISTE SIGMS wiki (http://sigms.iste.wikispaces.net/advocacy).
The potential…the catalyst
The document can be the catalyst for helping your school community re-envision today’s library media program. In this day and age where schools are looking for areas to trim the budget, this addition to your advocacy toolkit may very well be what keeps your budget and even position under the column for “vitally important.” Use it to impress on the powers that be that your role is important in your school setting. This document will show that you can cast a much wider net for learning in your school, one that covers not only students, but also teachers, administrators and even your community.