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What does a Media Specialist do?

By K T Solis
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A media specialist is a librarian who works at either a public or private school. He or she can work with students of all grade levels, from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. The librarian is responsible for promoting literacy, teaching research methods, and planning lessons that relate to the library.

If a person decides to become a media specialist, he or she generally holds a degree in library media education or library science. The future school librarian often begins his or her career as a certified teacher who possesses a bachelor's degree in education. The future librarian then earns a degree in library media education. This degree prepares the educator to work as a certified media specialist.

A media specialist wears multiple hats within the media center or school library. Ordering books and other resources, conducting story times, and teaching students how to find books in the library are just a few of the media specialist's responsibilities. A media specialist must teach students how to use the Internet, sifting through websites to locate reliable sources for reports, projects, and research papers. Librarians teach students how to use electronic databases to access articles from journals and newspapers.

Librarians who work in schools must also help teachers find materials they need to help them plan lessons for the classroom. He or she often helps staff with equipment such as televisions, overhead projects, DVD players, and other tools teachers need. Many school librarians perform the tasks of a library clerk in addition to their own duties. Checking books in and out, shelving books, processing new materials, and performing other clerical responsibilities add to the media specialist's long list of responsibilities. They tackle these extra tasks since many school districts do not have the funds to hire library clerks to assist the certified school librarians.

Despite the variety of duties a school librarian must undertake, his or her goal is to encourage of a lifelong love of learning in students. The elementary school librarian must be skilled at conducting storytimes, book talks, and devising hands-on library lessons. Middle school and high school media specialists must be extremely comfortable with technology as well, ready to assist students and staff with a variety of needs relating to computers and other complex technical equipment. People who enjoy being surrounded by books and information should consider a career as a media specialist. Media specialists can encourage students to view the library as an exciting place where they can explore reading for both pleasure and information.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By animegal — On May 12, 2011

For a student that would be interested in library studies and the position of a media specialist, is it easy to get volunteer work at a library?

I think it would be a good idea to get some hands on experience before committing myself to a post-secondary program.

I can imagine this job is fun but probably has a lot of stress as well. Getting children to concentrate on one story and make it really interesting is tough. Plus all the clerical work must keep them busy.

By Sara007 — On May 11, 2011

I remember when we used to visit the library in grade school and the librarian on staff always helped us with research skills and our reading ability. She also conducted great interactive story times and fun activities. I never knew this was the job of a media specialist.

I believe this position is vital for schools as often the teachers don't have enough time to make sure every child is keeping up with their reading. It is great to know that there are specialists at school who can help children to better use the educational resources provided by our libraries and that those media specialists want to help kids develop a love of reading and learning.

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