Library Media Specialists & Curriculum Development

Instructor: Joanna Harris

Joanna has taught high school social studies both online and in a traditional classroom since 2009, and has a doctorate in Educational Leadership

This lesson would benefit those looking for information on the role of the library media specialists in curriculum development. Included in this lesson are strategies library media teachers can use to collaborate with others to develop curricula.

The American Association of School Librarians states that the library media specialist has three roles: teacher, information specialist, and instructional consultant. This means that the library media teacher has an integral role in curriculum and instruction.

Collaborating on Curriculum Development

Library media specialists are charged with finding the right technologies to work in tandem with interdisciplinary curricula and in the development of information literacy skills. They are at a disadvantage in this position if they are not also participating in the development and writing of new curricula in these areas. Publishers of new curricula, education providers, and campus administrators need to collaborate with library media teachers and provide them with the resources and access they need to participate fully in the curriculum design process.

Interdisciplinary curriculum design is sweeping the nation as more school districts adopt the Common Core State Standards. This transition has made the role of the library media teacher in curriculum design more clear and their collaboration more crucial. In order to be compliant with Common Core requirements, school districts must revamp, and in most cases, rewrite curricula in language arts, reading, science, social studies, and mathematics.

Because technology is an integral part of Common Core curricula, library media specialists should be included throughout the curriculum development process. As an instructional partner, the library media teacher must be able to work with teachers in all content areas across disciplines in order to effectively participate in writing technology-integrated curricula.

Information literacy skills are also becoming increasingly important in education. School districts are moving towards adopting the Partnership for 21st Century Skills framework into their curricula to accommodate this transition. This new mandate calls for school districts to include things like critical thinking, communication, collaboration, information media, and technology skills into their curricula and instruction. Library media specialists, who are familiar with curriculum and instructional development tools such as Destiny Quest and One Search, are therefore essential partners in designing curricula that align with this emerging mandate.

Library media specialists are technology leaders on their campuses, assisting and collaborating with teachers in integrating instructional technology into lessons and activities with students. To make the most out of their services, library media teachers should be called upon to collaborate on writing curricula, and designing scopes, sequences, lesson plans, and instructional activities.

Strategies for Participation

Unfortunately, in many school districts, the role of the library media specialist in curriculum development is not always clear. Researchers have identified four key obstacles that prevent library media specialists from providing their expertise in curriculum and instruction.

  • Their role as curriculum stakeholder is not defined
  • Their resources are limited
  • Rewards for participation in curriculum design are not available
  • Teachers and administrators do not see library media teachers as a part of the curriculum and instruction paradigm

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