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Erie 2 School Library System: Advocacy

The Erie 2 School Library System site.

2019 Informational Brief: Roles of the School Librarian


National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries, the American Association of School Libraries (AASL) recognizes and defines 5 roles of school librarians that are crucial to the development and significance of effective school library programs: Teacher, Leader, Instructional Partner, Information Specialist, and Program Administrator.

At the request of the New York State Education Department, this brief delves into these 5 roles of the school librarian by identifying key aspects of each role and discussing how school leaders can ensure they are making the best use of their librarians' expertise.


    • “As teacher the school librarian empowers learners to become critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information. The school librarian supports students’ success by guiding them to read for understanding, breadth, and pleasure; use information for defined and self-defined purposes; build on prior knowledge and construct new knowledge; embrace the world of information and all its formats; work with each other in successful collaborations for learning; constructively assess their own work and the work of their peers; [and] become their own best critics” (AASL 2018, 14)
    • The school librarian is “a teacher and a learner who listens to and acts upon good ideas from peers, educators, and learners. Leadership also requires increased professional commitment and thorough knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing the profession. By becoming an active member of the local and global learning community, the school librarian can build relationships with organizations and stakeholders to develop an effective school library program and advocate for student learning” (AASL 2018, 14).
    • “The school librarian collaborates with classroom teachers to develop assignments that are matched to academic standards and include key critical-thinking skills, technology and information literacy skills, and core social skills and cultural competencies. The school librarian guides instructional design by working with the classroom teacher to establish learning objectives and goals, and by implementing assessment strategies before, during, and after assigned units of study. . . . Communication with classroom teachers and learners now takes place virtually, as well as face to face” (AASL 2018, 14).
    • “As an information specialist, the school librarian uses technology tools to supplement school resources, assist in the creation of engaging learning tasks, connect the school with the global learning community, communicate with students and classroom teachers at any time, and provide [continuous]access to school library services. The school librarian introduces and models emerging technologies, as well as strategies for finding, assessing, and using information. He or she is a leader in software and hardware evaluation, establishing the processes for such evaluation to take place. . . . [The] school librarian must be versed in the theoretical grounding and practical application of [copyright and fair use] laws in order to teach the ethical use of information to the learning community” (AASL 2018, 14).
    • “As program administrator, the school librarian ensures that all members of the learning community have access to resources that meet a variety of needs and interests. The implementation of a successful school library program requires the collaborative development of the program mission, strategic plan, and policies, as well as the effective management of staff, the program budget, and the physical and virtual spaces. To augment information resources available to the learning community, the school librarian works actively to form partnerships with stakeholders and sister organizations at local and global levels. The school librarian also addresses broader educational issues with other teachers in the building, at the district level, and at the professional association level” (AASL 2018, 15).

Read the Executive Summary

Read the Full Report