Textbook Review: Collaboration is Important!

The School Library Media Manager by Blanche Woolls chapter 10, “On the Job:  Managing Services” began by discussing the four components of the SLM program.  Those components are personnel, materials, equipment and facility.  The SLM needs to encourage teachers and students to see what is available in the library and teach them how to use its resources.  The SLM also needs to ensure that all materials, equipment and the facilities are updated and functional.

School Library Media Managers who have teaching certificates will understand the relationship between curriculum and classroom, but Woolls presented a tidy little list to help those who don’t and those who need a reminder.

  1. Create a professional reference collection of all textbooks.
  2. Provide copies of curriculum guides developed at building and district level.
  3. Volunteer on textbook committees to help plan and select curriculum.
  4. Be an advocate of expanding student learning with real-world experiences.
  5. Encourage using media and learning beyond the textbook.  Encourage joint teaching opportunities and teamwork between the teachers and the library personnel. 
  6. Find new ways to help teachers and students with book reports.
  7. Teach the new literacies.
    1. Actively engage students.
    2. Build on what they know.
    3. Guide higher order thinking skills.
    4. Remember there are different learning styles.
    5. Provide instructions and activities according to student abilities.
  8. When in the classroom the media specialist must wear the hat of teacher.
  9. Develop great interactive media programs, but remember to place them in a location so as to not disturb other visitors.
  10. Find out what kind of serves are needed. 
    1. Create a list
    2. Determine users’ needs.
    3. Find out what users want.
  11. Remember that professional learning communities have five attributes.
    1. Supportive and shared leadership.
    2. Shared values and vision.
    3. Supportive conditions.
    4. Shared personal practice.
    5. Collective creativity.
  12. Working collectively and help students as well as teacher are far more important than cataloging and processing books!


Empowering Learners:  Guidelines for School Library Media Programs Chapter 2, “Teaching for Learning” spent much time discussing collaboration.  Usually the library is located in the largest space of the building and it is supposed to be a resource used by teachers and students a like.  Learning is happens via whole class formal inquiry, drop-in review sessions, small groups and individually.  It is the job of the school librarian to collaborate with teachers and students to ensure that resources are accessible so learning can take place.  The SLM should also collaborate with local community organizations such as museums, businesses, civic groups, universities and other libraries to ensure that teachers and students have access to those resources as well.

The SLM should also never forget that reading is the core of the Library Science field.  We are to collaborate with instructors to help develop plans to encourage leisure as well as instructional reading opportunities.  This is in addition the SLM needs to provide help with the 21st century literacies as well, which are digital, visual, textual and technological. 

Teaching critical thinking skills is important and the SLM should collaborate with instructors to implement inquiry driven curriculum.  Remember that instruction must include a variety of learning styles and knowing each student’s strengths and weaknesses.  The library should be filled with a variety of audio, print, and visual resources to help ensure that a variety of learning styles are met.

Libraries are the movers and shakers who can help schools move from 20th century factory type learning toward the 21st century higher-order learning.  However, the SML collaboratively with instructors must continuously evaluate the program.  Keep a record of strengths and weaknesses, be observant, keep detailed notes, evaluate student work, and be open to suggestions. 

By building a working relationship of collaboration with the classroom teacher the SML will become an even more valuable asset.

Works Cited

 Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs. Chicago: AASL, 2009. Print.

Woolls, Blanche. The School Library Media Manager. 4th ed. Westport: Libraries Unlimited, 2008. Print


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