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What is a Teacher Librarian?

By H. Lo
Updated May 17, 2024
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A teacher librarian is a librarian who works in a school that serves the youth. He or she is a professional who not only performs the duties associated with librarianship, but also teaches library-related information. The latter refers to collaborating with teachers on curricula and teaching students about library and information resources. Among others, additional titles that a teacher librarian might also be known as are school librarian and school library media specialist (SLMS).

General duties of teacher librarianship involve three main categories of services: user, technical and administrative. User services deal with helping students find information as well as recommending books or other materials. Technical services include developing and organizing collections through acquisitions and cataloging procedures. Administrative services encompass managing all aspects of the library.

In addition to these duties, a teacher librarian also works at promoting information literacy and teaching technology skills to students. This is done with the goal of enabling students to successfully locate and retrieve information for schoolwork and other research endeavors. To accomplish these responsibilities, a school librarian works with teachers in a joint effort to better serve and meet the needs of the students.

By connecting with teachers, a teacher librarian becomes knowledgeable about the current teaching plans and educational goals set for students. This allows for the planning and integration of appropriate library programs, services and resources. As a result of collaboration, teachers and school librarians ideally bridge the gap between classroom and library.

A variety of library specializations exist, and to be a teacher librarian, a person should have an interest in working with children or teenagers. He or she should also maintain knowledge of literature and other materials aimed for these age groups. Since a teacher librarian works in a school setting, his or her work year tends to mimic that of teachers. Despite collaborating with teachers, though, a school librarian usually works alone in the library.

Different countries might have different requirements for becoming a teacher librarian. In the United States, a person is usually required to receive advanced education. The name of the degree has slight variances, but in general, he or she needs to obtain a Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS). A bachelor’s degree in any discipline is acceptable to grant entrance into library school. Depending on the area, a teacher librarian might also be required to have a teaching credential.

WiseGeek 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.
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