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What does a School Librarian do?

By K T Solis
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A school librarian is responsible for a variety of tasks within the library. She must work with students, teachers, and administrators in order to ensure that they are provided with the information they need. A school librarian teaches students how to find information and collaborates with both teachers and administrators. In short, she wears multiple hats in order to manage an effective library media center.

A school librarian, also known as a media specialist, introduces students to literature. She accomplishes this task through booktalks, storytimes, and carefully planned lessons. She helps connect students with the books they need for class work or recreational purposes. She must be aware of the variety of books being published for children today in order to find the perfect book for a specific student.

School librarians in elementary schools teach the Dewey decimal system so that students can independently locate books in the library. They teach students how to use the online catalog so that they can find books on specific subjects or by particular authors. A school librarian teaches students about different book genres and the difference between fiction and nonfiction. She conducts storytimes for the students so that children learn to love books.

School librarians in elementary, middle, and high schools are responsible for teaching children how to access electronic information through the Internet and library databases. The goal is to help children learn to locate and analyze information, compiling research from reliable, trustworthy sources. With the endless source of information displayed in confusing array by the Internet, teaching children how to sift through the useless information to arrive at reputable information is an important task.

A school librarian collaborates with teachers as they plan their lessons. The goal is to support what is being learned in the regular classroom. School librarians help teachers locate materials to help them plan their lessons. It is imperative that a school librarian consistently builds the library's collection so that only resources comprised of up-to-date information fill the shelves. Outdated nonfiction books should never clutter the shelves of a school library.

School librarians actively choose materials to add to the library collection. Some of the items they are required to select for the library include books, software, reference materials, periodicals, and electronic databases. They often subscribe to review journals in order to make educated decisions about the materials they need to purchase with the library's often meager budget.

A school librarian often is responsible for organizing the school's book fair. Money is raised for the school library by hosting a book selling event. Students, teachers, parents, and other members of the community shop at the book fair to bring more money to the school library's coffers. These events usually require the assistance of volunteers, but many school librarians have to do this monumental task on their own.

Despite the varied responsibilities of a media specialist, her primary goal is to develop students into lifelong learners. She desires that every student who visits her library learns to love books. She wants to teach them how to access information and determine whether or not the source of that information is reliable. The school librarian's fervent wish is that the skills learned in a school library are skills that will be carried with students throughout their adult lives.

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 anon996038 — On Jun 30, 2016

How may I improve my junior library, being not good at art? Thanks.

By anon251633 — On Mar 01, 2012

Why do high schools not have a book fair?

By anon239824 — On Jan 11, 2012

The requirements for becoming a school librarian differ from state to state and district to district. In our district in Colorado, you must have a bachelor's degree, master's degree in a library-related field (mine is in Educational Media), and at least 1 year of teaching experience. We are therefore called Teacher-Librarians. Unfortunately, strains on the budget could affect our jobs.

By lightning88 — On Sep 01, 2010

What does the school librarian work load look like? I know the article said that school librarians help with lesson plans, but what else do they do on a daily basis?

I'm thinking about whether I want to become a school librarian, and would welcome any feedback.


By zenmaster — On Sep 01, 2010

@streamfinder -- You can try looking at what the school librarian requirements are for the school you want to work at. Some may not even require a degree.

If you are set on getting a degree though, I'd advise a Master's in library science. That will definitely get you wherever you want to go within the school librarian world.

By StreamFinder — On Sep 01, 2010

What are the requirements for school librarian certification? How would I go about getting a school librarian degree?

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