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Effective school library programs and professionally trained teacher librarians play an essential role in the instructional program of each school and student achievement. In 2006, a requirement that each school district in Iowa employ a qualified teacher librarian and have in place an articulated, sequential K-12 library program, became a part of 281--Iowa Administrative Code 12.3(12).
21st Century Teacher Librarian
The role of the teacher librarian in Iowa schools is evolving to meet 21st century learning needs and to integrate technological tools to enhance instruction and support multiple literacies. In 2013, a task force was created to articulate a vision for the roles the 21st century school librarian must embrace to ensure that every Iowa student develops the skills needed for future success.
The resulting vision for effective school library programs is conveyed through seven key roles of the teacher librarian. Each tenet is accompanied by a video recorded by school librarians from across the state to illustrate the vision in practice.
Vision for Iowa’s School Libraries
Iowa’s best schools have library programs that engage the entire school community to elevate the learning experience for all. Teacher librarians are uniquely prepared and strategically positioned to:
- teach students to think critically and independently to construct new understandings and insights from varied information sources.
- lead and embrace the integration of technology to enhance learning.
- connect communities of learners in virtual and physical spaces.
- collaborate with the school community to design and enact rigorous learning experiences and participate as positive digital citizens.
- maximize access to quality print and digital resources.
- champion and support the reading life of students.
- nurture curiosity to develop in students a passion for learning for life.
The Library Program Guidelines have been designed to assist districts in planning for library programs to meet the new state requirements, and to go beyond the basic requirement to create programs that positively impact student learning and achievement. They should be used as a checklist to audit the status of a district's program.
School Library Program Guidelines - Booklet Format - Formatted as a booklet on 11 x 17 inch paper.
School Library Program Guidelines - Handout Format - Formatted as a handout on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper.
Information Literacy Curriculum
The Iowa School Library Guidelines state "The teacher librarian and classroom teachers collaborate to develop, teach, and evaluate information literacy learning experiences. Instruction includes access, evaluation, use, creation, and communication of information and emphasizes use of inquiry and critical thinking."
The sample documents in this section are intended as starting points for districts that do not currently have an information literacy curriculum in place or are revising their current curriculum. Teacher librarians and teachers will want to examine these models and adapt them to local standards and initiatives and find areas where they can be integrated into various subject areas to achieve the goal of helping students become independent learners. These samples are not intended to be a stand-alone curriculum. They spell out specific skills and content that should be a part of the local curriculum and integrated appropriately into classroom instruction, with the teacher librarian and classroom teacher sharing responsibility for designing, teacher and assessing lessons.
- American Association of School Librarians – Standards for the 21st Century Learner
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) – National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Students
Supporting Forms can help guide thinking as schools begin work on developing an Information Literacy Curriculum. Forms developed by Jean Donham, University of Northern Iowa.
Teacher Librarian Roles and Responsibilities - Details the differences in roles between a para, technology specialist.
Preparing A School Library Program Development Plan - A key requirement in the Department of Education standards for school libraries programs is that every school has a Library Program in place. While not specifically required, the development of a Library Program Plan will assure that the standards adopted by the State Board of Education (281--Iowa Administrative Code 12.3(12)) are being addressed.
Annual Report Template - This template is intended to suggest areas that you might include in your annual report. Use it creatively to reflect your own program style, needs and goals. Include photos that show activities you are highlighting and web links that may help illustrate your progress. You may want to add attachments: the State Survey, samples of student work, professional development documentation. Share the report first with your principal, preferably in a one-on-one meeting with him/her, but also share it with parents, colleagues and the community. Post it on your website.
Preparing an Annual Budget Request - Budget planning is a thoughtful process in which you must advocate for your program needs to your administrator and others who are involved in budgeting decisions. You must build a case based upon how your program will use budget funds to contribute to the achievement of school and district goals for student learning. We must also be prepared to demonstrate how better computers, more functional facilities and added staff contribute to student achievement.
Budget Request Template - This template is intended to suggest a format for creating your budget request. Use it to reflect the line items appropriate for your particular situation. You may create new categories as needed for your library.
Iowa School Library Program Guidelines - Audit Form - This is a detailed audit form intended to be used to examine your school library program. The document can be used to list evidence that supports each program requirement and to help set goals for attaining the requirement or working towards a higher level of attainment.
Iowa School Library Program Guidelines - Audit Form with Evidence - This completed audit form includes possible evidence that is intended to serve as examples of the types of things that teacher librarians might present to show attainment of the various requirements in the Guidelines. No one is likely to, or expected to, have all of the sample evidence available.
Program Guidelines Audit Forms - This form is used to evaluate the current status of your library program and begin to identify areas for program improvement.
Instructional Support Assessment Form- This form can be used to assess the level of collaboration and instructional support that the teacher librarian provides the classroom teacher. It can also be used to monitor the levels of information literacy used in collaborative units.
Guiding Questions for Developing a Collection Development Plan- This document can be used as a tool for developing a plan to update a school library collection.
Iowa School Library Survey/Study Data
Quantitative or numerical standards are one measure of success in achieving program goals. Such standards can be compared to local data and used to set measurable improvement goals. While no definitive national quantitative standards currently exist for school libraries, Iowa is fortunate to have data from an annual survey of school libraries. The data provides the opportunity to compare one’s own library program to other libraries of similar size and description in our state.
NOTE: The questions on the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 surveys were aligned to the Guidelines for Iowa Library Programs. In comparing data from previous School Library Surveys, there will be some data pointes that are different.