The Role of the School Media Specialists Essay

The Role of the School Media Specialists with the No child left Behind Act


The No Child Left behind Act which was signed into law in the year 2002 has several goals, one of which is ensuring all the students reach high standards especially in reading both language arts and mathematics. In this Act, the role of school media specialists needs to be emphasized and incorporated in many school libraries all over America. (Whelan, 2004)

According to the School Library Journal entitled “ A Golden Opportunity” she highlights the need for the media specialists to be involved in the school education system. She clearly spells out that even though the “No Child Left Behind Act” enacted through the President’s Bush administration, pointed more to the role of teachers in school education, media specialists have an equal role. She says, “ Although President Bush’s education reform law is written with teachers in mind, media specialists have an equally important role to play in improving student achievement-particularly when it comes to reading.” She further suggests that there is need to cut out their roles since the law doesn’t spell them out. From this article she alludes that teachers should not work in isolation from the media specialists but should perform their tasks in a synergistic manner. ((Krashen, 2004).

No Child Left Behind Act/Skills Act

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The No Child Left Behind Act is depicted in the legislation as goal towards enriching all America’s public school students improving their all round knowledge by the year 2014. The progress of this will be measured through well researched state-level quizzes in each grade 3-8 and at least once in a year at high school level.   The SKILLS Act is meant to strengthen this goal as mentioned in the earlier in the  paragraph. (Walker and Shaw 2004)

In order to strengthen the No Child Left Behind Act, SKILLS Act.(Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries) comes in hardy to put more weight on the need for all students across America to have all round access to, “state-certified school media specialists and also to have the library resources they need.” These two legislative laws are meant to work in harmony to promote high learning standards in the educational system in the USA. (Pitcher, S.M. & Mackey, B (2004)

The Role of School Media Specialists

These are professionals who are meant to promote improvement in the learning environment for the students in collaboration with the teachers and the school principal. According to the NCLB Act, the School Media specialists are partners with the school staff in a program which is aimed at, “helping ensure all students are literate by 2013.”  School media programs are said to be a stepping stone in promoting a culture of reading among the students especially outside the classrooms. This helps develop the students all round rather than just memorizing class work, but grows with an open mind. The school library media specialist is portrayed as the link who will enable both teachers, parents and school administration realize the creative abilities in the students. (Grimes, 2004).


For any meaningful development in the learning for students there is always need to incorporate all stakeholders in attaining this goal. There is need to recruit more media specialists in school libraries to create this desired change. “Several studies and reports have documented the significant shortages of school library media specialists. According to the Department’s annual “Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listing” (OMB No. 1840-095, March 2008), 18 States reported teacher shortages in library media.”


Whelan L.D. (2004). A Golden Opportunity: Why ‘ No Child Left Behind’ is your Chance to
Become Indispensable. School Library Journal.

The researcher Whelan clearly gives detailed information on the implementation of the act in the American public schools. She points out on the various issues that need to be addressed in order to ensure that no American children are kept away from accessing quality education. The researcher stresses the urgent need for the media specialists to play their role in the education system and also for the school administration to recognize and appreciate their role. All through the article she suggests that this is a good opportunity for this implementation to take place which will ensure high standards of education are reached within the public schools in America. She points out some of the areas that the school administration should collaborate with the media specialists towards the full implementation of the act. She strongly believes that implementation of these things will take root and have a lasting positive impact to the entire American education system. Opportunities in life come and go; hence the same applies for this opportunity to improve learning in schools especially in relation to the No Child Left Behind Act.

2.      Dierdre G. P. (2004) Journal of Adolescent ; Adult Literacy, Vol. 47
In this Journal Dierdre addresses the importance of both adolescent and adult education. The researcher strongly acknowledges some of the issues within the American education system that need to be addressed in relation to the adolescent and adult education.  Improving the quality of education and also ensuring all school going children have equal opportunities to access it. It is with the researcher’s point of view that all stakeholders in the education sector need to collaborate putting every effort to ensure the goals of No Child Left Behind Act are achieved. The researcher attributes lack of proper mechanisms for collaboration as the main hindrances to achieving the set goals in the future and thus urges greater cooperation to this effect. He stresses the great importance of addressing the falling percentages of literacy levels among adolescents and also in adults who form a great percentage of the American population. Learning for adolescent is important since they form the bulk of the future leaders in a nation. There is need to promote learning for both adults and adolescents since it increases literacy levels in the country.
Grimes, S. May 2004) “The Search for Meaning: How You Can Boost Kids’ Reading Comprehension.” School Library Journal (May 2004): 48-52.
The researcher shows great concern for the need to improve children’s reading capacity outside of classroom. He points out to some of the ways through which teachers, parents or guardians can increase the capacity of these children to have a liking for reading books.  He stresses the need for kids to go beyond class work. He argues that from research carried out in the past; a number of reading styles especially free voluntary reading both in and out of school improves or has a positive impact on grammatical development, vocabulary, spelling and also when reading comprehension. He stresses the need to encourage in and out of school reading especially for kids, and he suggests ways through which parents at home can help in this. This he says is in the right direction towards promoting a culture of reading. Reading that is geared towards examination in my view is not very healthy or helpful, since it blocks the mind of student from reading other interesting articles. This causes them to have a closed mind, in other words narrowness of though pattern. Therefore there is need to promote the culture of reading for all ages as long as they have the ability to read.

Mardis, M. (2007). School libraries and science achievement: A view from Michigan’s middle schools. School Library Research, 10.
The researcher points the readers to a realization that a great improvement in education has been achieved through linkage between scientific based media programs on television that have a forensic background. One of the program given as an example is CSI which airs on most television channels. The researcher argues that there is some evidence related to the students watching some of these science related programs in the media. This he attributes to the triggering effect the programs have on them as they watch, after which the library becomes their next means by which to investigate some of the happenings as they try to trace scientific happenings on the programs. He in a way suggests that the library could be the perfect laboratory as students research on issues of forensic studies. However he acknowledges that not only should the library be utilized for scientific based reading by students but also for art related subjects. Though scientific media programs have an effect in improving levels of education, more other avenues need to be opened since only a small percentage of individuals are attracted to these programs. Thus a wholesome package of initiatives need to be sort towards achieving high standards of education in America.

School Libraries Work! (2004) .Research Foundation Paper. Danbury, CT: Scholastic Library Publishing
The paper interlinks information technology especially in libraries that are well stocked with improvement in learning environments for students. The research acknowledges the important roles media specialists play in the learning of students both in and out of school. It also recognizes the disconnection that has existed between school media specialist and the school teachers mostly attributed to lack of training for teachers to collaborate with the media specialists in education. The research paper shows that good performance has been realized in most American schools where there are well trained librarian media specialists who collaborate well with the teaching staff.  However the research shows that media specialists are involved in professional training of the teachers, but acknowledges there is still room for improvement. It also shows that there has been continuous improvement in test scores in most schools where use of information technology in libraries is well managed. There is need for continuous radical efforts towards integrating information technology use in the libraries for both students and their teachers to boost quality education.

Cassidy, A.P. (2002). No Invisible librarians allowed: Visiting your library as a patron. PNLA Quartely.
Hartzell, G. (2002). The hole truth. Librarians need to emphasize what they have to offer. School Library Journal, 48(7), 31.
Hartzell in this journal stresses the need for librarians to have a leading role in changing the general perception of people in relation to the library and its functionality. He suggests that librarians need to reinvent or rethink the image of libraries which they present to key decision makers. He further supports the need for new campaigns towards changing the perception of the society. He explains that the people’s value for library is misguided since most seek information just for the sake. He thus corrects that notion and says students and teachers should collect information from the library in order to generate useful knowledge. He recognizes that libraries are a source of connection for different disciplines as people (students and teachers) source for information in the libraries. He states that actually the truth is some how hidden in a “hole” and thus the term “the whole truth”. It’s of great importance that librarians change the perception of the society towards libraries and this will improve utilization of these libraries. This will promote even greater connectivity as the writer puts it in the journal.

Church, A.P. (2002). Leverage your library program: What an administrator needs to know. Library Media Connection, 22(6), 32-3.
The researcher asserts the need for the library media specialist to be involved in conclusively comprehending (fully understanding) the curriculum and the syllabuses in the school, school district and in the state which its located. By gaining this understanding he says that it will go a mile ahead in helping the library media specialists. One of the key areas this understanding will assist is in the planning for various curricula activities in the school. Also through collaborative teaching and co-evaluation between the teachers and the school library media specialists. This will enhance effective sourcing of information and thus well generated knowledge among the students and teachers. He introduces the need for a library media program which incorporates teachers, students, and the library media specialists and this may form part of an integral part of an instructional program for any school that adopts it. He asserts that integrating this program would contribute towards positive student achievement in their studies.

Fisher, P.H. and pride, M.M. (2006). Blueprint for your library marketing plan: A guide to help you survive and thrive. Chicago American Library Association.
Jones, P. and Muller, K. (1991). Great library promotion ideas VI: JCD library publications relations award winners and notables 1990. Chicago: American Library Association.
Snyder, T. (2000). Getting lead-bottomed administrators excited about school library media centers. Englewood, Colo: Libraries Unlimited.
The researcher gives an inspirational outlook at several ways through which library media specialists can work together with school administrators with an aim to improve the effectiveness of library programs in schools. The researcher who is also an administrator gives his support for this collaborative venture, even though there are various challenges which he acknowledges that need to be addressed. Some of these challenges include inadequate financial resources and administrative support, ill-behaved students, excessive workload, inadequate infrastructural facilities and also demanding teachers. He gives an analysis of how different library media specialist and administrators in relation to their personality affect their job performance. In this journal he gives reports of research findings that show schools that have strong libraries normally have good student achievement. Though challenges lie within this area, there is need for concerted efforts to address them in order to ensure provision of strong libraries which research has shown leads to good student achievement. Since most of these identified challenges are internal they can be resolved amicably to foster growth in the role of library media programs in schools.

Pitcher, S.M. and Mackey, B (2004) Collaborating for real literacy: Librarian, teacher, and principal. Worthington, Ohio: Linworth.
The researchers in this case identifies that one of the means by which literacy levels can be improved in the education system is by having true collaboration. This is collaboration that incorporates all stakeholders and in particular the librarian, teaching staff and the school administration (principal). The researchers make an effort through their writing to enable people see the need for gaining real literacy in the modern day world. They attest to collaboration being one of the remaining tools to fully realize the set goals by the No Child left Behind Act in the USA. It is true that without collaboration nothing much can be achieved. Legislation alone without proper collaboration between different stakeholders in the education sector will not work out. For the No Child Left Behind Act to see light of day, concerted efforts need to be employed to accomplish its purpose. Real literacy among students can be achieved by developing a continuous culture of collaboration.

American Library Association (1998). Building Partnerships for Learning: School Library Media Specialist Role and Responsibilities: Information power
The article acknowledges the important link of a library media scientist in the new educational learning community composed of students, teachers, administrators and also parents. It further gives the main concern for library media programs to be helping students “to be information literate in this learning community”. It aims at assisting student to become active information seekers and users which in turn build their capacities to solve problems critically and also to “satisfy their won curiosity through research and reading experiences”. Just like many other stakeholders the article strongly highlights the need for the library media specialist to work hand in hand (collaboratively) with teachers, administrators. the article goes further ahead to give direction for various responsibilities that should be played by some of the key stakeholders. For instance the library media specialist acting as a an instructional partner should join “with teachers and others to identify links with curricular content, learning outcomes, student information needs …”It’s important that the role or link played by the library media specialist be fully established in a school in order to promote greater collaboration between students and teachers.

Hartzell, G. (2003): Building influence for the school librarian: Tenets, targets ; tactics. 2nd ed. Washingtom, Ohio: Linworth.
The researcher in this journal aims at enabling the media librarian within schools to see the opportunities that they have to promote education in their schools. He challenges them to realize the potential which they hold for influence and their vital role in shaping and impacting student achievement in the school. He further holds the idea that they still have a means by which to make a significant difference within the library center and outside. The researcher asserts that the librarian has great potential for influence within the sphere of his working especially in the school. It is critical that library media specialists to realize the prospective capacity they have to transform student’s performance in the school’s and also in their outside activities. These are extra curricula activities that help to shape the future of the students and in a bigger picture the society.

Farmer, L.S. (2007). Collaborating with administrators and educational support staff. New York: Neal-Schuman.
In this article, Farmer, gives various ways by which library media specialists have a special opportunity to collaborate and contribute to real leadership in the education sphere. He points out that it’s the media specialist who is more in touch with both students and teachers, since he or she works with both of them across all curricula, at all grade levels and across all subjects. In this article the researcher gives suggestions to the media specialists on practical techniques and strategies to reach out to various education stakeholders including faculty and students and also educational service providers – reading specialists, special education teachers, counselors, and principal and all parties involved in administration such as the principal. In a nutshell the researcher creates an image of how the media specialists can fit into working effectively in collaboration with all stakeholders in the education system. This is a good avenue for the researcher to enhance greater collaboration between the administration and other key education stakeholders. Lack of this collaboration may continue to jeopardize the quality of education in the USA and thus collaboration should be embraced in totality.

Wallace, D.P. and Van Fleet, C. (1994). The invisible librarian. RQ, 34, 6-9.
Lau, D (2002). What does your boss think about you? SLJ’s survey reveals principals; lack of knowledge about the role of school librarians. School Library Journal, 48(9), 52-5.
This journal analyses responses received from a survey carried out among several 242 principals across America with regard for the value they put on the school library. Only less than 50% were seen to have a strong value for school library. This was attributed to little knowledge that principals have about the role of libraries and its connection in student overall performance. Though some of them understand its value they don’t put much budget in terms of its development in their schools. The writer cites out the need for school librarians to inform their superiors i.e. the school administrators on the work they do. She gives an example of issues of book selection and circulation to documentation and explain how the library affects the students achievement. It’s important that school principals understand fully the importance of school libraries and should be able to perceive their vital role they play in the school. This information needs to be facilitated to them by sensitizing them on this line.

Jones, Jr. P.A. (2003). The executive briefing: A management tool for improving communication between school library media specialists and their principals. Knowledge Quest, 32(2), 30-4.
An overall scenario is painted that shows that communication between school principals and school library media specialists is not healthy. There is also the issue of lack of proper information that school heads (principals) have in regard to media specialists’ roles and responsibilities/duties in the school. Through the article she tries to propose solutions through which the school administration can understand the roles and duties of media library specialists in order to allow proper functioning of both parties. In any organization communication is very vital for all parties or stakeholders involved in the day to day running of the school. Communication guarantees free flow of information and thus nothing of importance is concealed. It is thus of urgent importance that all schools put up mechanisms to open up communication channels, to allow for free flow of information within these circles. Proper information need to be relayed to the school principals in order to improve communication between the administrators and the school library media specialists.

Stephen Abram, M.L.S., 2003. No Libranians Left Behind: Preparing for next Generation Libraries (Part 1). Multi Media Schools. Washington Marriott, Washington D.C. Vol 10 No.6
The researcher begins by acknowledging that since the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was signed into law by George Bush, it has been the most outstanding reform of the “Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) since ESEA was enacted in 1965. He highlights its principles on which it is based and “hopes to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged and minority students and their peers.” He pinpoints the higher achievement and improved literacy levels which the Canadian Coalition for School Libraries reports as related to

schools that are well funded, well-stocked libraries which are well managed by qualified library media specialists. He expresses discomfort at the policymakers who are ignoring research findings that show student achievement in relation to good learning facilities. It’s crucial that policy makers and all other stakeholders put their act together and strategize on the way forward having in mind the importance of good student achievement.