School Librarians

I saw this weekend that the American Association of School Librarians voted to make the official title of "The people who work in the part of the school that checks out books, equipment; who strive to be instructional leaders; who do things that aren't in their job description but do them because they are asked; who are information specialists; who are teachers; and who are program administrators" to "School Librarians". Here's the link to the ALA press release.

In the Library Media Listserv provided by the Utah Education Network, there were many differing viewpoints on what this really meant.

"'Disappointed' doesn't begin to express how I feel about the AASL leadership...AASL hasn't done any favor for the profession by taking a step backwards," said one prominent professional.

Another replied, "I would like to say I feel most proud when I tell someone I am a librarian."

Someone else said, "I detest the term media specialist."

Another shared a story of calling a school and asking for the Media Specialist, then, after a moment of silence on the other end of the line, said the magic word, "Librarian," after which the call was immediately transferred.

Obviously, this is a point about which "School Librarians" feel very strongly. Thankfully, the idea that a title is not the fight anyone should be fighting was brought up. One person suggested the title doesn't matter if there isn't money to fund the program. Another person emphasized that the title doesn't matter if people still don't know what they do.

Since I have taken this position in our new school district, I have learned A LOT about what librarians do and don't do. How did I learn that? I went to the libraries and saw what they were doing. And therein lies the problem.

Let me put it this way: It makes sense for me to know what a director does by seeing the film he created. It makes sense for me to know what a coach does by seeing his team play on the field. However, I don't want to have to go to the Oval Office every day to see what the president is doing. I want him to tell me what he is doing. In the same way, I want the librarian to tell me what she is doing. There are too many people that have incorrect perceptions of what the librarian does.

It doesn't matter what the title is, it only matters what people think the title means. Librarians, get your message out there.

Have a Good Life.