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Key, Benton, Roper­SMP3

Section III: School Library Media Center Services Overview

According to the AASL’s Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs, “the
media specialist should serve five roles: leader, instructional partner, teacher, information
specialist, and program administrator.” It further elaborates on these roles, saying, “Teaching for
learning requires collaboration with classroom teachers and students to design engaging lessons
and units of study (as an instructional partner), knowledge of what technologies can support
learning (as an information specialist), effective program administration to ensure quality
resources are available for learners, and leadership to establish the way forward” (2009, pp. 37-
38).

Services provided by the media specialist and the school media center to diverse patrons
(including disabilities), students, teachers, staff, and parents at Eagle Ridge Academy can be
categorized according to these five roles as follows:

As a leader, the media specialist at Eagle Ridge serves on the school’s Leadership Team,
responsible for all areas of instruction and curriculum at the school guiding faculty, staff, and
students and providing support to all three groups. The media specialist also serves on the
school’s School Improvement Committee, responsible for evaluating goals and performance, and
implementing changes to meet and exceed goals and expectations of the school and district. The
media specialist also works with the Special Education Department and the administrator in
charge of 504 plans to evaluate ongoing needs of diverse patrons’ needs, whether those needs be
media center accommodations for patrons with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or other
special needs. She also makes sure the media center is in compliance with all aspects of the
Americans With Disabilities Act, as well as all district policies on special needs compliance. She
also serves on the Parent Relations Committee, involving parents in the media center and the
school at large.

As a program administrator, the media specialist at Eagle Ridge Academy is responsible for
setting policies and procedures for the media center, as well as developing and evaluating
adherence to the media center short-term and long-term goals, mission statement, and objectives.
She reports to the principal and administrative team at the school, as well as the media services
director for the school system, regarding how the media center contributes to student
achievement, reaching school and system goals, implementing the school improvement plan, and
furthering the components of the school mission statement and objectives of the school and
school system. She uses ongoing data collection and data analysis to create reports to show how
the media center is doing on meeting its goals, as well as areas which need improvement.

At Eagle Ridge, the media specialist also serves a vital role as a teacher. Every year, the media
specialist teaches students, differentiating instruction with accommodations and modifications
for learners with special needs, sessions on information literacy, computer usage guidelines, and
media center orientation.

The media specialist at Eagle Ridge also serves as an instructional partner, co-teaching and co-
planning with classroom teachers and facilitating shared teaching in the media center. The media
specialist assists teachers with planning for language arts modules centering on informational
Key, Benton, Roper­SMP3

literacy and using online platforms and websites for learning, as well as differentiating for all
learners, including those students with disabilities. She also co-teaches story time with teachers
in the media center.

Information specialist is another role taken on by the media specialist at Eagle Ridge Academy.
She maintains all of the software licenses for computers and equipment, supervises and instructs
on proper use of the internet throughout the school, maintains copyright guidelines and provides
guidance on proper and legal use, inventories equipment, and updates and maintains media
center websites.

Circulation Policy: The circulation policy at Eagle Ridge Academy is students are allowed to
check out two books at a time. Students will have seven days to return a book before it is
considered late, but students are not charged any late fees. They only have to pay if a book they
checked out is lost or damaged. If a book is not returned by the end of the school year, students
are not able to receive their end-of-grade report cards until the book is returned or paid for.
Parents are also allowed to check out books using their students’ accounts. Staff are able to check
out library materials under the same circulation policy as for teachers; they have one month to
return materials. Teachers are able to check out instructional materials for the school year and are
allowed to check out other materials on a monthly basis. The media specialist often allows
students to replace a lost or damaged book rather than paying for it, as the books can often be
found online or elsewhere for a cheaper price than the price in the school’s system. Late fee
waivers are available for students who are unable to pay their fines. This is at the discretion of
the media specialist. All students, teachers, parents, and staff have the responsibility that goes
along with their check out privileges to treat all checked out materials as if they were their own,
protecting them from damage or loss and returning them in a timely manner, subject to the
aforementioned consequences if any of these responsibilities are not met.

Scheduling policy: The media center is open from 7:45-3:30. Students may come for individual
check out times during morning arrival or in the afternoon right before dismissal. According to
the Georgia Department of Education policy 160-4-4-.01, the library media center should be
flexibly scheduled throughout each instructional day. The schedule for Eagle Ridge Academy is a
“mixed” schedule, defined by Joy McGregor, author of “Flexible Scheduling: Implementing an
Innovation,” as one that “could have been classified as flexible, because these participants
worked with some teachers to schedule classes on a flexible basis and, therefore, might have the
potential for more curriculum consultation with them; however, these SLMSs also met with
some classes on a fixed-schedule basis, thus reducing their opportunity to meet with teachers”
(2006, p.4). The school calls it a “flip flop” schedule, meaning that one week the media specialist
sees classes longer than the next week. On the weeks where students are in the media center
longer, a lesson is taught on web 2.0 tools that are available to the students at school, as well as
at home. The schedule is available for teachers as a Microsoft Word online page that is sent out,
and teachers sign up for a time slot that works for each teacher. If a teacher needs to switch times
one week, they are able to do so. If an event is happening in the media center, the schedule is
revised by the media specialist, keeping teacher schedule times in mind, and sent out with the
changes highlighted. The media center is always open and accessible to all students and teachers
throughout the day.
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Collaboration with classroom teachers happens during some of the unit planning meetings that
the media specialist attends, in addition to co-teaching during the times the students’ classes are
in the library. The media specialist and other teachers define roles for the teacher and media
specialist depending on the content, medium, individual expertise, and goals of the lesson, as
well as practical considerations involving the physical media center space and availability of
technology.

The media specialist does have plans on moving towards a more flexible schedule, defined by
the McGregor as a situation in which “the library media specialist and the teacher
plan together for instruction or use of resources based on student learning needs in each
curriculum unit and schedule on that basis. The schedule is arranged on an ad hoc basis and
varies constantly” (2006, p.4). Administration has had some hesitation on moving forward with
this due to their view that elementary school students need the structure of going to the library on
a certain schedule that doesn’t change much. The media specialist is in the process of providing
the administration data to show that flexible schedules increase student learning and easier
access to books, which is one of the goals of the media center.

Ethics and Legal Principles: The students taught today have the world at their fingertips. The
teachers and media specialist are required to teach students about copyright laws very early in
the school year. The school website has resources for students to help them with citations and
copyrights. On the school website, there are three links for students to input information, and it
gives students a citation. There are also links for copyrights on images for projects:
http://www.copyrightandschools.org/
https://www.copyright.gov/
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The guidelines currently used are similar to the following:


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Assessment:

The mission of the Eagle Ridge Academy school library is to be an encouraging learning
environment that provides all individuals in the school community the access to the current
technology, books, electronic resources, and 21st century literacy skills to be effective readers,
researchers, thinkers who are both producers and users of technology.

The above is Eagle Ridge Academy’s school library mission statement, which can be used as a
guide for assessing the school library media center’s current situation and services, considering
how well it functions as a 21st century library meeting the needs of its learners.

As we analyzed Eagle Ridge Academy’s current situation and services, we feel as though the
media center is on its way to becoming a 21st century library, but isn’t quite there yet. They have
technology available for all students, while they are not 1:1 with technology, each classroom has
laptops and an iPad available for student use. Teachers can elect to have a Bring Your Own
Device (BYOD) day. This can be used for educational purposes or as a reward for good behavior
over a certain period of time. To connect to the internet, students simply need to connect their
devices to the BYOD Wi-Fi option. Students are able to use 2.0 technology, and are taught how
to do so during collaborative lessons throughout the year. The media specialist is strict about the
circulation policy of students having no more than two books checked out at a time. The
scheduling is fixed, but flexible at the same time. Fixed in being that teachers come at the same
time each week. Flexible in being that if a teacher needs a different time one week, they are able
to switch with another teacher or get a different time. Students are taught at the beginning of
each school year four to five (depending on their grade levels) internet safety lessons in
accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act by teachers and the media specialist.
Students have access to E-books, and the media specialist adds new titles every year, and is
looking to increase the number of Nooks available for students to use.

One area that is currently lacking is that there is that students are not provided enough
opportunity to be “producers as well as consumers of technology.” The media center does not
currently have a learning commons or a maker space. Some of the furniture can be considered
flexible seating but is too heavy to be easily moved by elementary students. The media specialist
is looking into ways to integrate a maker space into the media center, and has some of the
technology to support one, but it looks like it will take a while before that takes place.

References

American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School
Library Programs (Kindle Locations 546-547). Amer Library Assn. Kindle Edition.

McGregor, J. (2006). Flexible Scheduling: Implementing an Innovation. [online] Ala.org. School


Library Media Research. Volume 9. April, 2006. Available at:
http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/vol9/
SLMR_FlexibleScheduling_V9.pdf [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].