What does a Library Media Specialist do?

S. Gonzales
S. Gonzales
A library media specialist may train students to use their computers more efficiently.
A library media specialist may train students to use their computers more efficiently.

A library media specialist's responsibilities can vary from location to location. However, they are generally thought to maintain the library's media program. This may include planning, directing, implementing and evaluating library media programs to ensure their efficiency, accessibility and their potential to be supplemental resources to standard school curriculum.

Library media specialists might help students learn the basics of computer programs.
Library media specialists might help students learn the basics of computer programs.

In many ways, a library media specialist functions like any other library employee would. For example, they can be expected to develop behavioral codes for students working in the library media center and help students discriminate between source material and use references for schoolwork. Instead of taking place in the traditional library area, these activities occur in a library media center.

Some library media specialists focus on education and instructing students to apply up-to-date research methods.
Some library media specialists focus on education and instructing students to apply up-to-date research methods.

Skills in record-keeping, organizing materials, purchasing materials within a budget, updating library catalogs and keeping up with circulation can also be necessary for a library media specialist to have. A library media specialist may need to be keenly aware of the materials in his library, have ideas about how these materials can support a school's curriculum, plan work and assignments with teachers and promote the appreciation of materials and the self-learning abilities of students. In this way, a library media specialist can be an integral part of a school's academic program, even if the materials studied and referenced are in forms other than the standard print.

Inventorying a library's audio visual and computer equipment and supervising the sharing of this equipment both within the school and with other schools may also be part of the job. Schools may depend on specialists to order new equipment. As such, school library media specialists may also be expected to be aware of building and code restrictions, as some equipment may not meet building or code standards. Regardless of the type of equipment contained in the media center, a media specialist should strive to make both students and teachers comfortable with working the devices and using the equipment for teaching or schoolwork assignments.

Due to the technological component of a library media center, a library media specialist's job is always evolving. A library media specialist is expected to attend conferences, workshops and other education-enhancing seminars so that he can remain current on new technological developments. A specialist may also find it necessary to belong to organizations devoted to library media and may read literature devoted to the profession. Specialists can find that joining a committee provides them with the opportunity to network and remain apprised of educational institution needs.

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    • A library media specialist may train students to use their computers more efficiently.
      A library media specialist may train students to use their computers more efficiently.
    • Library media specialists might help students learn the basics of computer programs.
      Library media specialists might help students learn the basics of computer programs.
    • Some library media specialists focus on education and instructing students to apply up-to-date research methods.
      Some library media specialists focus on education and instructing students to apply up-to-date research methods.