by CUE Member and Library Media Educator Network Co-Chair Glen Warren
Over the course of the last 30 years, the number of teacher librarians (TLs) per student has diminished radically. California has been last in the nation in the ratio of TLs to students for many years, but the economic downturn of the last seven years has only exacerbated the problem. In 1999 the ratio of teacher librarians to students was 1 to 4290. In 2012, that ratio had skyrocketed to 1 to 7466 students.
Why is the demise of the traditional school library an academic crisis? California’s school libraries are now often managed and staffed by someone who is not an educator, such as a library tech or a parent volunteer with little or no content knowledge. If the role of the school library was merely to store books, the lack of a professionally trained teacher librarians would not be such a problem. However, the explosion of the Internet, the changes in how research must now be conducted, and the move to the Common Core State Standards, which require students to read more critically, write more persuasively, and interact with information more knowledgeably utilizing 21st Century tools, is exposing many classroom teachers’ lack of expertise in these areas.
Teacher Librarians are specially trained to teach these skills and offer associated professional development to classroom teachers. Schools without a teacher librarian lack the student and teacher support they need for success in these areas.
Teachers Librarians have a reason to celebrate!
In an effort to address these issues, the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing (CTC) has identified new instructional areas of: Digital Literacy, Digital Citizenship, and Information Literacy. And they correctly connected these areas with the credential and expertise of the teacher librarian! Additionally, the CTC has provided a new provision for the teacher librarian to be the “teacher of record” recognizing these areas as their official content areas of instruction.
CTC defines “Information Literacy,” “Digital Literacy,” and “Digital Citizenship” in the Special Class Authorization:
(1) “Information Literacy”: Knowledge of the nature, architecture, and cycle of information. The ability to access, evaluate, use, and integrate information and ideas found in print, media, and digital resources effectively, enabling students to function in a knowledge- based economy and technologically oriented society.
(2) “Digital Literacy”: A lifelong learning process of capacity building for using digital technology, communications tools, and/or networks in creating, accessing, analyzing, managing, integrating, evaluating, and communicating information in order to function in a knowledge-based economy and society.
(3) “Digital Citizenship”: An understanding of the ethical, legal and safe use of information and technology. Respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources including the ability to differentiate between legal and illegal uses of information and sources so that students learn to apply responsible research practices. An awareness of local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture, digital etiquette, and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information.
Additions and amendments to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) pertaining to Teacher Librarian Services Credentials and the Special Class Authorization (SCA) were approved by the Office of Administrative Law and quietly became effective about a year ago. These sections implement Commission-approved recommendations made by the Teacher Librarian Services Credential Advisory Panel.
These regulations provide clarification that the authorization for the Teacher Librarian Services Credential includes the delivery of staff development related to school library services and provides current language related to instruction of students within the library program. A new authorization statement aligned with the regulations will be issued on Teacher Librarian Services Credentials. Prior Teacher Librarian and Library Media Services Credential program standards (1991) also support this authorization; therefore, the new authorization statement will also be placed on Teacher Librarian Services Credentials upon renewal.
“The Teacher Librarian Services Credential authorizes the holder to instruct students in accessing, evaluating, using and integrating information and resources in the library program; to plan and coordinate school library programs with the instructional programs of a school district through collaboration with teachers; to select materials for school and district libraries; to develop programs for and deliver staff development for school library services; to coordinate or supervise library programs at the school, district or county level; to plan and conduct a course of instruction for those pupils who assist in the operation of school libraries; to supervise classified personnel assigned school library duties; and to develop procedures for and management of the school and district libraries.”
Back in June of 2011, the Commission adopted the revised Teacher Librarian Services Credential program standards and approved a new Special Class Authorization (SCA) in Digital Literacy and Information Literacy. The Commissioners and the CTC administrative leadership addressed the needs of school library services and credentialed teacher librarians. Unfortunately, it has become clear that having a full-service school library, staffed by a credentialed teacher librarian on every campus is currently not the reality in California. However, the need to find classroom teacher leaders who are willing to get their credential for the purpose of instructing in these areas is one of the objectives of this revision of the service credential.
A Call to Action
If you are a classroom teacher and/or technology implementation leader who has a passion for equipping students to pursue both the required curriculum and the desired curriculum (topics and areas that are exclusively chosen by the student), then please consider getting your teacher librarianship credential! You will be ready to teach students and provide professional development for your fellow peers in the important areas of Digital Literacy, Digital Citizenship and Information Literacy.
Glen Warren currently the Vice President of Government Relations for the California School Library Association (CSLA) and is a passionate information and digital literacy advocate and educator. Glen also serves as a consultant to various county offices, school districts, and non-profit educational organizations.
He has two Masters Degrees. The first is a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from California State University Fullerton. The second Master’s Degree is in Education Librarianship from California State University Long Beach.
Glen has over fourteen years of leadership experience in both educational technology and information literacy. He is a sought after thought and action leader for multiple educational stakeholder groups in both public and private sectors.
For more information contact Glen Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org
Champion, H. G. “CORRESPONDENCE.” The Commonwealth Forestry Review 52.1 (151) (1973): 90-92. CTC. Web.
Lau. May 25, 2010 Theresa Garcia, Executive Director California State Board of Education 1430 N Street, Suite #5111 Sacramento, CA 95814 RE: California School Libraries and Librarians Dear Ms. Garcia, I Write to Convey to You and Your Board a Resolution Adopted by the Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC) Expressing Our Affirmation of the Great Value We Place in Having Strong School Libraries and Librarians, Who Are Instrumental in Preparing California’s Elementary and Secondary School Students for Success in Higher Education. LAUC Is a Statewide Organization Composed of All Librarians Employed at Least Half-time by the University of California; So, Our Members Have the Privilege of Seeing Many of the California High School Graduates Who Go on to Study at One of Our Ten Campuses. Also, I Will Just Let You Know That, in 2009, the Berkeley Division of LAUC Sponsored a Conference on Student Library Users Attended by Academic, School and Young Adult Librarians. This Was One of Many Occasions Where We Saw and Expressed the Need for Professional Librarians from an Early Stage to Make the K-12 through to College Education a Successful Experience for California’s Students. Thank You for Your Attention. This Resolution Is Also Being Sent to the California Secretary of Education and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Sincerely, Lucia Diamond LAUC President, 2009-2010 Senior Reference and Collection Development Librarian The Robbins Collection BerkeleyLaw MC 7200 University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA 94720-7200 Attachment: LAUC Resolution LAUC Resolution: Support California School Libraries and Librarians (n.d.): n. pag. Web.