OHIO EDUCATION Don't keep quiet about programs, librarians are told

YOUNGSTOWN -- Want your children to read better and learn more?
Look to the school librarian.
School librarians help school systems reach their ultimate goal: to better educate children, said Deborah Logan, of the Ohio Educational Library Media Association.
Logan addressed 50 school librarians from throughout seven northeastern Ohio counties during a School Library Symposium at Youngstown State University Tuesday.
Although librarians know the value of the services they provide, other school personnel sometimes perceive librarians to be superfluous, she said. "You could have the best program in the world but if you have it hidden behind closed doors and nobody knows about it, you're expendable. You need to toot your own horn. You must educate school administrators."
The best way to educate administrators about the value of certified librarians, Logan continued, is to win support from teachers.
To win teacher support, library programs should be tied to goals in the classroom. Librarians should work with teachers to foster more comprehensive learning experiences for students, she said.
Logan also suggested that librarians serve on curriculum and technology teams.
Measuring progress
Critical skills students develop in the library should be measurable. Benchmarks, she said, should be defined by grade level so that teachers and parents can readily identify students' achievements.
"The library is a tool that helps educate children," she said.
School librarians, Logan added, also serve a vital role in helping teachers and administrators stay up to date with rapidly advancing technology. Librarians not only teach their patrons about sources of information, but guide them through the process of accessing it.
Lastly, Logan said it is imperative for librarians to promote their profession. There is a shortage of certified school librarians and many universities have discontinued their library curriculums. Therefore, she said, school librarians should encourage the best and brightest to consider it as a career choice.
Good school librarians have the potential to significantly improve the quality of education. "You are the people who are going to make a difference," she stressed.
The library symposium continues through this afternoon.
Among the topics addressed during the two-day event: marketing your school library, creating Web sites, storytelling, children's literature update, and book repair.
The second annual School Library Symposium is sponsored by NOLA Regional Library System and Youngstown State University.

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