Administration<br /><ul><li> School Personnel:</li></ul> Administrators, teachers, and the library media specialist (librarian) constitute the core personnel of any elementary, middle, or secondary school. The school media specialist plans with the school administrators and collaborates with the teaching staff. The librarian plans with the principal and keeps him/her abreast of the library media program needs. “The school library media program will prosper if the media specialist learns to plan with the principal.” (Woolls, 118) Along with planning, the librarian must collaborate with the teachers. “Management with teachers is easily accomplished when the media specialist understands what teachers expect.” (Woolls, 120) Administrators, teachers, and the library media specialist are the foundation that all good schools are built upon.<br />Working with other staff members will be a strength. I enjoy the collaboration process, and feel strongly that through teacher/ librarian collaboration the students benefit immensely. The same process holds true when administrators and librarians collaborate. Students and staff benefit because the collaboration process results in a better plan. My weakness is that sometimes I spread myself too thin. It is important to collaborate, but you can’t collaborate with everyone at once.<br /><ul><li> Leadership and Professionalism:</li></ul> “The role of the library media specialist in the new millennium is one of leadership.” (Woolls, 113) The librarian is a leader and a professional. Active participation in professional organizations such as the American Library Association (ALA), Texas Library Association (TLA), and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is necessary for professional growth. Librarians must take the knowledge they acquire from these professional organizations and use it to become school leaders. By planning with principals, and collaborating with teachers, the library media specialist can lead by example and contribute significantly to school success.<br />My experiences with the American Library Association (ALA) and the Texas Library association (TLA) have been professionally rewarding. Both conferences were professionally enlightening, and I attended many useful sessions. I am committed to being a lifetime member for both organizations, and will recruit those who are not current members. I believe in the goals of the ALA and TLA and hope to become a more active member as my career begins.<br /><ul><li> National and State Standards</li></ul> Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs (Empowering Learners) and School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas (Standards) are two key documents for understanding national and state standards guidelines. Empowering Learners is a national document that outlines the following standards: Developing Vision for Learning, Teaching for Learning, Building the learning environment, and Empowering Learning through Leadership. The document also has nine appendices that provide resources, plans, and a code of ethics for librarians to utilize. Standards is a Texas document that organizes the guidelines into six standards. Each standard is supported with principles and/or tables. These principles and tables outline specific requirements for transitioning a library from acceptable to exemplary. The professional librarian must acquaint themselves with these documents as references to guide their libraries to exemplary status and better support the needs of the student.<br />Dr. Long’s LS 537, School Library Administration provided ample opportunity to become familiar with the state and national standards. During this class, I became very familiar with the standards for an exemplary library using School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas (Standards). My concern is that the current budget crisis will force libraries to accept less than exemplary standards due to the lack of funds. I created a “perfect” library using the Guidelines for Texas, then shared the process with my mentoring librarian given the budget she was given. Life is so much more enjoyable in the “perfect world”.<br /><ul><li> Library Budget:</li></ul> A five year long range plan is the standard that all librarians should strive to achieve when planning a library budget. The library budget is set by the school district. The librarian should submit their plan to the principal for how best to spend the money. If the librarian and principal have already agreed on the five year plan, the process will work more effectively and efficiently. The plan should have detailed footnotes outlining why money should be spent in certain categories. Standards and Guidelines for Texas should be used as a reference to justify expenditures. Expenditures should attempt to meet the needs of establishing and supporting an exemplary library. In these difficult budgetary times, the librarian should always stay focused on the Standards and Guidelines for Texas so that money can be spent wisely when it becomes available.<br />I had the opportunity to create a five year plan budget in Dr. Long’s LS537 class. I then took these principles, and proposed a budget to my mentoring librarian given the available funds she had to work with in her budget. I learned that some of the library budget is already committed to certain purchases, and that the school administrator expects some school wide materials to come from the library budget, (One example at Boerne Middle School North is that the acetate used to cover posters, and books is used by everyone, but comes out of the library budget) Although I have never proposed a budget, I look forward to being give the opportunity. I plan to collaborate with other librarians with more experience when I submit my first budget proposal.<br /><ul><li> Library Facility:</li></ul> The goal of all librarians should be to create a warm and accommodating library. The library should be accessible to all and meet the needs of diverse students. The library should meet all requirements detailed in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although budgets affect the library facility, the librarian should strive to accomplish those tasks he/she can control. Art from students and community members should be displayed on the walls. Shelf tops should be adorned with student artifacts. The library should be open and accessible to the community. The goal should be 12 hours a week after the instructional day is completed, and the library should be open at least two days a week during the summer. Librarians must strive to make the library facility the hub of learning in a school, and the destination place where students want to spend their time.<br />Dr. Long provided the opportunity to design a library facility during LS 537. Although I learned much from the lesson, I quickly became aware of the constraints that a library building imposes on the librarian. One example from my internship was that my mentor shared that she was unhappy with where the computers were located in her library. I asked “Why not move them to where you want them?” She shared that due to the wiring in the building, moving them was not an option. In my district, we have a brand new school, with a new library. The facility is state of the art, and many of the recommendations from School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas (Standards) are incorporated into the building. As a new librarian I plan to assess the facility, and do my best to incorporate the recommendations from School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas (Standards).<br /><ul><li> Teacher- Librarian Collaboration</li></ul> “Collaboration is the key, but collaboration takes time. Teachers and media specialists must find the time to collaborate, and this has many obstacles in implementation.” (Woolls,22) Time is one resource that is finite. There are only 24 hours in a day, and no more can be requested. Many demands are placed on teachers and media specialists. It is essential to find the time to collaborate with teachers to support their instruction. The ultimate goal of collaboration is to meet student needs. Teachers and librarians’ first priority must always be to support student learning.<br />I believe teacher/ librarian collaboration will be a strength. I am excited to collaborate with teachers, and I did collaborate on two projects during my internship. Everyone benefits when teachers and librarians collaborate. Students are the ones that benefit most from collaboration.<br /><ul><li> Grant Proposal writing</li></ul> Grants for Libraries by Stephanie Gerding and Pamela MacKellar is a how to do it manual written specifically for librarians. Grant writing is a challenging, yet ultimately rewarding endeavor. Gerding and MacKellar present a detailed portrait of the grant writing process from start to finish. “Successful grant work is the result of planning, organizational capacity, fulfillment of community needs, sustainability, and evaluation.” (Gerding and MacKellar 4) Gerding and MacKellar propose a detailed 9 step process for successful grant writing. Step 1: Making the Commitment and Understanding the process: The grant writer must insure that the library can meet the time and resource requirements necessary for effectively implementing the grant. Step 2: Planning For Success: A strategic plan is highly recommended for your organization when starting the grant writing process. Step 3: Discovering and Designing the Grant: “Discovering and designing your grant project and proposal writing are closely linked.” (Gerding and MacKellar 46) Step 4: Organizing the Grant team: “Each member of the grant team should bring a unique quality that will benefit the whole team.” (p.80) Step 5: Understanding the Sources and Resources: “There are two basic types of funding sources: government and private.” (Gerding and MacKellar 92) Step 6: Researching and Selecting the Right Grant: Internet and library research is important when selecting the right grant. Step 7: Creating and Submitting the Winning Proposal: “First read the entire grant application carefully, especially the qualifications and evaluation criteria.” (Gerding and MacKellar 126) Step 8: Getting Funded and Implementing the project: “It is important to implement the evaluation process for your project as soon as you receive funding.” (Gerding and MacKellar 150) Step 9: : Reviewing and Continuing the Process: Continue to develop partnerships and relationships. According to Gerding and MacKellar, the grant writing process is cyclical,, and after submitting your grant, you would be begin the grant writing process all over again.<br />Dr. Hoffman gave us the opportunity to write a grant in LS 536, Research Design and Methodology. Going through this process was helpful. I learned that successful grant writers follow the steps outlined in Grants for Libraries. I plan to write grants fort my library upon becoming a librarian, but must consider this area a weakness because I have not yet written a grant that has been successful. However, I believe that the skills I acquired in LS 536 will prepare me to successfully write grants in the future. <br /><ul><li> Research:</li></ul> There are 5 different types of research: Survey research, Experimental research, Historical research, Content Analysis, and Journalistic Investigations. Each type of research uses different methodologies, data collection techniques, and analysis:<br /><ul><li> Survey research: The two major types of survey research include exploratory surveys and analytical and descriptive surveys. The major difference between these two types of surveys is that exploratory surveys focuses on qualitative research while analytical surveys focus on quantitative research.
Experimental research: In some ways experimental research is the most rigorous of all research methods and is arguably the best method for testing cause and effect relationships.” (p.165) Causality in research is very simple to define and yet maddeningly difficult to prove.
Historical research: There is debate about whether historical research uses rigorous enough research methods to be considered scientific research. “However, true historical research tends to resemble a scientific method of inquiry or a problem –oriented approach.” (p.217)
Content analysis: Content analysis was developed by Alfred Lindesmith. Content analysis relies heavily on text and identifying the KWIC “key word in context. One area where it has been used increasingly is in media communications and specifically with political communications.
Journalistic Investigations: Often times in journalistic investigations, the researcher must have a knowledgeable person “on the inside” who understands the inner workings of the reported upon subjects. At other times the researcher into subjects themselves to precarious situations to better understand how things really work. </li></ul> I learned a great deal about different research methods from Dr. Hoffman in LS 536. The five research methods we studied are relevant to a school librarian, so that they will be able to stay current with developing research. I plan to read as much new research as possible as I begin my position as a school librarian. Research can either support long held beliefs or sometimes expose these beliefs as a myth. The school librarian must be willing to accept new ideas and then put them into practice.<br /> References<br />Gerding, Stephanie K., and Pamela H. MacKellar. Grants for Libraries: a How-to-do-it Manual. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2006. Print<br />Woolls, B. (2008) The school library media manager. 4th ed. Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited<br />Empowering Learners: Guidelines for school library media programs. (2009). Chicago: ALA<br />Texas State Library. (2005) School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas. <br />Retrieved December 16, 2010 from Texas State Library website: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/schoollibs/sls/introductionh.html<br />