Alex: Introduce ourselves, add that Ann (Assoc Dean for Academic Programs) is in the back
Alex: Introduce ourselves, add that Ann (Associate Dean for Academic Programs) is in the back
Sheri: Since the early 1900s, school library standards have long held that a school library media supervisor at the state or district level is integral to the library program’s success. Yet little empirical data exists about the value, roles and responsibilities of the school district library supervisor. As time passes, our guiding documents devote less and less space to describing the library supervisor. In fact, some would say that the supervisor has gone... missing.Anecdotal evidence supports the need for a strong supervisor: In many school districts, the only voice at the administrative level to question budget and staffing cuts is the district library supervisor. It is only the district supervisor who can advocate for the value and importance of library programs to enable students to gain critical 21st Century Skills. It is only the district supervisor who can provide support for collection development or encourage cooperative purchasing arrangements or equitable funding for collection development. It is only the supervisor who can provide assistance to individuals who are placed in library positions with no knowledge of procedures for circulating materials, building collections, or providing readers’ advisory services to students and teachers. It is only the supervisor who can guide principals in understanding and setting expectations for building level library personnel. Despite its importance, little is known about the supervisor’s role today.
Alex: Researchers at the University of Maryland, known only as The Lilead Project team, well, not only-- we all have names, have not taken this supervisor situation lightly. The Lilead Project is a national workforce study funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. We are in the process of gathering empirical data to create a national picture of this group’s demographics, roles and responsibilities, education and experience, and their greatest challenges and needs. We have data from a small pilot study conducted last spring, and last week we deployed a survey to nearly 300 individuals in the largest districts in the country. This three-year study will identify differing levels of administration, staffing, and advocacy at the district level. It will begin collection of the baseline data necessary to explore the effect of these differences on building level programs. In order to discuss each of these goals in turn, the Lilead Project team has conducted an investigation into the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the supervisor situation.The survey will collect baseline information in the following areas:● Position profiles (e.g., position title, primary responsibilities, percentage of time spent on library media supervision & other responsibilities, size of staff, placement in district structure, reporting relationships, etc.)● Knowledge & skills required for the position (e.g., career path, formal education, certification requirements, professional development needs of supervisors & staff members, etc.)● Greatest challenges & needs (e.g., personnel shortages, recent changes in certification requirements, recent changes in the support provided to building level programs, etc.)● Demographic data (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, education, training, other professional experience, length of time in the position, etc.)
Alex: To help us make our case to you today, we have identified several supervisors who can help us shed light on the situation. Each supervisor exemplifies an important aspect of this case: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and, How this elusive administrator operates.
Sheri?: Our investigation begins with a basic question -What is a district supervisor and what does she do? Some have clearly described duties, which The Lilead Project study aims to uncover with questions about their responsibilities, and their ability to focus on library services. Alex: Of course, we are aware that in some districts there is no supervisor at all. Some of these districts don’t have a certified librarian in every school, and the schools rely on clerks and parent volunteers for book checkout. However, our study focused on, among other things, the jobs existing supervisors juggle in addition to overseeing libraries.Sheri: Discuss the vague job description of “supervisor” used in PGCPS:Planning, organizing and developing standardization and evaluating organizational efforts and procedures to ensure strategic utilization of contracting goals and objectives; Carrying out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with organization’s policies and applicable laws which include interviewing, hiring, staff development, staff supervision, complaint resolution and problem solving; This is a general job description used throughout PG County. Shari does some of these things, but not all, and there are responsibilities listed that she does not do, such as hiring librarians.
Alex: Our preliminary data revealed some of the more disparate responsibilities district library supervisors have across the country. One supervisor reported that in addition to district libraries, they were responsible for testing administration, English and reading observations and other admin dutes. Another was responsible for secondary language arts and sec social sCiences. comonon core planning, And one supervisor reported that they were responsible for fine arts, music, world languages and visual art. This person was also a high school librarian. SLOW DOWN
Alex, cont: We also looked at the “where” of the district library supervisor, including how visible they are to the community at large. Initial research showed that in several large districts, library services does not have a presence on the district Web site or organizational chart. Numerous searches for library services, media center, and frankly, any name that might get us in the neighborhood, ended with nothing. Links to library services pages were broken, or required district logins to even view the sites. Too often there was no contact information. DC Public Schools supervisor Pat Brown helps us with our Where:
When Web searches failed us, we took the phone. But in several districts, the people answering phones at the district office didn’t know whether there was a librarian, referring us to various departments that also couldn’t answer the question. One person responded incredulously: The supervisor? Of libraries? In our schools? More than a few times we were told definitely that there was no supervisor, only to later to discover that this wasn’t true.Does visibility matter? The AASL says yes. Its position statement on the school library supervisor reads that “The leadership of a qualified school library supervisor is an essential component in the delivery of a quality school library program in collaboration with qualified school librarians and competent library support personnel.” Further it says that a “a key role of the supervisor is to serve as a partner with the entire educational community to support student achievement goals and objectives.” While the information about supervisor visibility that I just presented is more anecdotal, the LIlead Project survey does attempt to dig into visbility, by asking about district hierarchy, staffing at the district office, and how often supervisors attend or present at conferences outside their district. We also ask whether supervisors are part-time, serve double duty as a school librarian, or split their tasks with someone else. In some districts, one of the high school librarian functions as the head librarian for the district, not always with extra pay for doing the job.
Sheri: The What and the Where of the district supervisor have told us a lot about the challenges supervisors face, and our investigation in these challenges is ongoing. Our When tells us a little bit more about the impact of a strong district supervisor on school librarians.Once again, we look at the AASL position statement on library supervisors, which makes it clear that your supervisor should support you. And our preliminary data from The Lilead Project indicates that supervisors do this. While they may not have their hands in to your daily activities, they work hard behind the scenes. While just 36% of our pilot respondents said that hiring librarians and raising money for building-level libraries were important parts of their job, 95 percent of our pilot participants said that advocating for library programs was important or very important. And more than 90 percent of our pilot participants said the same for meeting with other district-level administrators and consulting with principals.
Sheri: Many district superisors are addressing their advocacy and consulting roles by using Web 2.0 tools. For instance, Andrea Christman of MCPS uses her blog to advocate for the library program. In this entry, she is explaining how librarians are uniquely situated to lead the integration of technology in schools. She is also an avid Twitter user, ensuring that the school library program is highlighted often within the overall MCPS Twitter stream.
Alex: To recap our investigation so far: We’ve learned that the district library supervisor has a complex job description – the what – and can be given limited visibility at the district level – the where – despite the often weighty job demands. Yet, supervisors also show themselves to be tireless advocates for their library programs and their librarians when needed.All of this comes down to the Why. Why is the supervisor important? In The Lilead Project pilot survey, supervisors reported that they were responsible for and placed importance on moving their libraries further into the 21st Century. Things like integrating digital resources, implementing the Common Core standards, and creating 21st Century learning spaces were important parts of their job. One respondent said: “Because of the forever changing and advancing nature of technology, I would always like additional professional development in digital devices, digital content, digital management, etc. We must always be aware of the latest advancement influencing the way we operate our programs.”
Sheri: Della Curtis, the coordinator of library information services for Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS), has shown the importance of school libraries in her district. She has been especially successful in demonstrating how libraries are prime locations for integrating technology. In 2011 Tech & Learning magazine named Della Curtis a national winner of its 24th annual Leader of the Year program. She was honored as a visionary who exemplifies "extraordinary education technology leadership, often working within budgetary restrictions and limited resources."
Della and her team have also done extensive work translating the Common Core standards into individual learning projects that classroom teachers can implement in collaboration with the school librarian. In this video, Donna Eaton from BCPS explains the extensive resources available to the county’s librarians.
Alex: Today, we’ve given you a snapshot of the myriad roles the district library supervisor plays. As we learn more the roles, responsibilities and challenges of supervisors through The Lilead Project investigation, we’ll begin to round out this national picture. This data collection will be essential to uncovering the challenges supervisors face. Then and only then can we start to explore how this critical role impacts building-level services, and in turn, the students we serve.
Sheri: Our take home message is this- district library supervisors are critical! We want to uncover the details.Thank you all for coming out to learn more about this important investigation. Scan the QR code on your card to learn more about the project.At this time we welcome any questions you might have
1960:The supervisor… “ works with administrators,teaching staff, & other supervisors to provide bettereducational experiences for children & young people. ” American Association of School Librarians (AASL), 1960, p. 42
1968:The value of the supervisor as one who “ interpret[s] therole of the library to everyone...so that people are madeaware of the importance of the library in all places in theschool program. ” Saunders, 1968, p. 149
1975:“ [T]he director of the district program [is] in a key role in decision-making related to setting overall goals, analyzing curriculum, selecting instructional modes, & establishing & maintaining responsible evaluative processes. ” American Library Association (ALA/AASL) & Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT), 1975, p. 11
1988:“ The director communicates the goals & needs of both the school & district library media programs to the superintendent, board of education, other district-level personnel, & the community. ” ALA/AASL & AECT, 1988, pp. 102-103
1998:The supervisor… “ offer[s] special support to school librarymedia specialists in such areas as advocacy, technicalservices, cooperative programming, opportunities forresource sharing & leadership on a wide range of issues. ALA /AASL & AECT, 1998, pp. 124-125 ”
The Lilead Project: Baseline Data • Position profiles • Knowledge & skills required for the position • Greatest challenges & needs • Demographic data
What does a supervisor do? PGCPS Job Description: Director, School Library Media Programs Planning, organizing and developing standardization and evaluating organizational efforts and procedures to ensure strategic utilization of contracting goals and objectives Carrying out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with organization’s policies and applicable laws which include interviewing, hiring, staff development, staff supervision, complaint resolution and problem solving
Other duties as assigned… State testing program, English and reading observations, and other administrative duties Secondary language arts curriculums, secondary social science curriculums, Common Core planning, and other administrative duties Fine arts, music and world languages, and visual art
Where is your supervisor? “ The supervisor? Of libraries? In our schools? ”“ There is no library supervisor. ” “ This page cannot be found. ”
Does Visibility Matter?“ A key role of the supervisor is to serve as a partner with the entire educational community to support student achievement goals and objectives. ” AASL. (May, 2012). Position statement on the school library supervisor.
36% When can your supervisor help? 36% 91% 94% 95%
Why is a supervisor important?• Integrating digital resources• Implementing Common Core standards• Creating 21st Century libraries
“ …I would always like additional profession development in digital devices, digital content, digital management, etc. We must always be aware of the latest advancement influencing the way we operate our programs. ” -Survey respondent
Why is yoursupervisorimportant?“ What principals & teachers need to learn is the role of the librarian and how to work with ” that person. - Keith Curry Lance
Your Supervisor Affects You! Our goal is to find out how. Q&A
ReferencesAmerican Association of School Librarians. (May, 2012). Position statement on the school library supervisor. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/aaslissues/positionstatements/supervisorAmerican Association of School Librarians. (1960). Standards for School Library Programs. Chicago: American Library Association, p. 42.ALA & AECT. (1998). Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning. Chicago: American Library Association, pp. 124-125.ALA & AECT. (1988). Information Power: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs. Chicago: American Library Association. pp. 102-103.ALA & AECT. (1975). Media Programs: District and School. Chicago: American Library Association. p. 11.Pascopella, A. (Jan. 2005). Heart of the school. District Administration. Retrieved from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/heart-schoolSaunders, H. E., (1975). The Modern School Library. 2nd ed. Revised by Nancy Polette. The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Metuchen, NJ, p. 149.