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Traditional public school libraries provide a space for learning, collaboration, and sharing. School librarians are required to have a graduate degree from a college or university whose program is recognized by the American Library Association (ALA), the American Association of School Librarians (AASL)/Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), or state education agencies.

What does a school librarian do?

Public school librarians connect to resources that inspire learning. 

A school librarian’s role is a combination of a champion, collaborator, and teacher. The ALA provides a general job description of a school librarian here

A school librarian:

  • Empowers critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, curators, and ethical users of information
  • Collaborates and co-teaches with classroom educators
  • Develops and maintains a learning environment
  • Fosters exploration, discovery, creation, and innovation
  • Supports learners’ success by guiding them to read for understanding and pleasure
  • Models and champions digital citizenship, safety, adherence to copyright, and fair use requirements
  • Develops and supports the school’s and the school library’s mission, strategic plan, and policies
  • Manages the staff, budget, and the physical and virtual spaces of the school library
  • Attends professional development and conference

Books and Makerspace Opportunities

Harry PotterCatcher in the RyeCharlotte’s Web, and Hunger Games are just a few of the thousands of iconic books public school libraries provide for students. School librarians know how to curate book lists by grade level. Elementary school books are found by the school librarian, as well as young adult, or YA books, for older students. Young readers can find books listed on Goodreads for Kids and Booklist, as well as graphic novels and recordings. 

School libraries often have educational toys to support learning. School librarians host makerspace events and opportunities. Computer access, research projects, and author book talks are all found in the school library.

Do charter schools have libraries?

Charter schools have more freedom with their spending and are not required to have libraries. State-certified librarians are also not mandatory at charter schools and some charter schools choose to implement classroom libraries.  More than 90% of public schools have central libraries and certified librarians (with master’s degrees), and most charter schools do not. (American Libraries Magazine)

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