Lewis M Policies Paper

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Lewis M Policies Paper

  1. 1. Lewis Policy Paper A Media Center Policy is Key to Success Melissa Lewis FRIT 7132 November 11, 2009
  2. 2. Lewis Policy Paper A Media Center Selection Policy is Key to Success There is a new wave of instruction flooding into the world of school libraries. No longer is it just a place for books and silent reading. Instead, student inquiry is now the central focus for all activity that takes place in the library (Fries, 2008). With this change of focus, there is a question we must ask ourselves. Does our media center have the materials needed to truly educate children in the library the way the 21st Century Standards call for? One key factor that must be reviewed in order to guarantee the act of student inquiry is a media center’s selection policy. “As formats of information and the role of the library media center evolve, we need to think about our selection policies as a whole and the collections they create (Fries, 2008, p. 1).” In order to truly promote the true sense of questioning and exploring that is now demanded of us as educators, the media center must have an abundance of reference materials. The collection housed in each school library must be fully developed and have a wide-range of references in order to ensure the fact that individuals will be able to gather a variety of information that contain different perspectives. With the aim of a well rounded collection, a current and comprehensive selection policy must be in place that clearly outlines a statement of the libraries goals, as well as specific criteria for selecting material (Huffman & Thurman, 2007). This policy should act as the guiding force that ensures the fact that students will be able to learn and inquire effectively through the materials housed within the facility. If this particular policy is not current, then it may fail to incorporate factors that specifically refer to new technological materials that are so important in our quest to ensure students are prepared individuals for the 21st Century.
  3. 3. Lewis Policy Paper Therefore, the revision date of this policy is important. It needs to be updated periodically to ensure that effective materials are being purchased. Another important factor involved in making this document effective is determining and labeling the individuals that should be involved with selection. Including the correct group of individuals that should be involved with selecting materials within the policy is crucial. Although the media specialist is an expert, and directly responsible for the selection of materials, other staff members inside the school building also need to be involved in this process. Teachers are the individuals that are on the front lines, directly responsible for educating the students day in and day out. This responsibility makes them one of the most knowledgeable groups in reference to specific instructional materials that are needed within the building. They should undoubtedly be directly involved with selecting new instructional materials. Ultimately, there should be a committee that has representatives from all of the areas of the school that not only include the individuals already mentioned, but also administrators, parents, and even students that come together to discuss and give feedback on the selection of materials (Friese, 2009). A selection policy should specifically outline this extended group of individuals, as well as give guidelines as to how often they should meet. A list of guidelines that specifies the criteria for selection is another must-have for a complete, effective selection policy. Many individuals may have several guidelines that they would use to choose materials by. A committee, preferably made up of a wide range of individuals as listed in the last paragraph, should come together and create this list of criteria, and then go on to include them inside the actual selection policy. This will ensure that every school is using the same list if guidelines. This will make it much more
  4. 4. Lewis Policy Paper likely that effective materials are being selected across an entire county. Over the past few years the formats of our instructional materials are ever-changing. We now use games, CD’s, countless computer programs, and even I-pods as instructional tools. “As these new formats emerge and become candidates for inclusion in our resource collection, we should carefully consider how the current criteria do or do not apply and how we might adapt or invent new criteria to encourage the inclusion of new formats in the service of inquiry learning and intellectual freedom (Friese, 2009, p. 15).” If the selection policy contains all of the vital components, it can be an effective tool in other situations outside of just choosing materials. When you first think of a library selection policy the word censorship may not automatically come to mind. However, these two things can go hand in hand. One issue that arises in school libraries each year is censorship. Most likely, within the span of a career the library media specialist will have someone challenge a material that has been selected for their facility. When this happens, the selection policy can be part of the defense of the material in question because it should “give an explanation to the broad school community as to why certain materials are chosen and others are not (Adams, 2008, p. 1)”. In other words this living document should act as a defense mechanism against any immediate removal of a resource without further review which may and should be described inside additional policies. It seems that some media specialists are frightened about censorship issues and worry about the time when one of the materials in their facility is questioned. In an article located on a School Library Journal blog Pat Scales (2009) discusses this fear, and directly references the selection policy as a defense tool in this situation. She advises for all media specialists to be knowledgeable of this specific policy, knowing specifically
  5. 5. Lewis Policy Paper what information it contains because as in most cases, with no exception to this one, knowledge is power. Like our society, a library selection policy needs to be ever-changing in order to stay current and effective. In order for this to happen the policy must be re-visited every few years to ensure that it is keeping up with the times. If each vital component is present and fully developed it can be an invaluable tool that serves multiple purposes. Without this document the media center itself will not be able to truly take on the role it is now called to play in adequately educating students for the 21st century.
  6. 6. Lewis Policy Paper References Adams, H. (2008). The materials selection policy: Defense against censorship. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 24(7), 28. Retrieved on November 2, 2009 from GALILEO. Friese, E.G. (2008). Inquiry learning: Is your selection policy ready? Library Media Collection, 27(3), 14-16. Retrieved on November 2, 2009 from GALILEO. Huffman, S. & Thurman, G. (2007). Selection and reconsideration policies: How well are we doing? Reading Improvement, 44(2), 99-108. Retrieved on November 2, 2009 from GALILEO. Scales, P. (2009). Have no fear: Don’t be frightened by book challenges- be prepared. Message posted to http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/ article/ CA6666665.html?q=selection+policy.

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