Short- & Long-Term Plans for Library Media Programs

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As a school librarian, you have a responsibility to think about what is right in front of you as well as plan for the future. This lesson discusses what you can do to make both short- and long-term plans for your program.

Planning and the School Library Program

As a school library media specialist - i.e., someone who is responsible for the maintenance of, teaching in, and direction of the school library media center - Jack knows he has a lot of responsibilities.

Sometimes, though, he gets so bogged down by the daily management of his collection that he forgets to think about the big picture. Right now Jack understands that he needs to think about his library on two different time scales.

He understands the importance of coming up with short-term plans that will allow the library to function efficiently and meaningfully this year. At the same time, he needs to hold the big picture in mind, thinking about the long-term plans that will make his library the best possible.

Jack knows that while administrators must approve his eventual plans, he is ultimately responsible, along with his library committee, for developing and overseeing them.

Short-Term Planning

When it comes to short-term planning, it is crucial for Jack to think about what will help his library work each day as part of his teaching.


First, this means coming up with and instituting a good circulation policy, which will help Jack oversee which books go in and out, how students borrow books, and what it means to put a book or other material on reserve.

When working out this policy, Jack takes into consideration equity of access to library materials as well as what will help him run the library most efficiently.


Jack also teaches classes to all of his school's students, and in his short-term approach to curriculum he thinks it is important to:

  • show students what the library media center has to offer;
  • teach students how to use the media center's resources;
  • align his curriculum with national and state standards for the library; and
  • make sure his curriculum also aligns with what the classroom teachers are doing in their literacy and content area instruction.

To make his curriculum plans, he talks with classroom teachers, researches the standards, and pays attention to what students are most curious about and need most help with in the library.

Integration of Technology

Finally, Jack knows he needs a short-term plan for integration of technology, or how he uses the technology in his center to supplement and enhance instruction. Each time he plans a lesson, he tries to hold himself accountable for at least one technology goal.

He also pays attention to which technologies are and are not being used, and he plans lessons that incorporate the underutilized materials.

Long-Term Planning

Jack finds that long-term planning is easier to think about during the summer months or other times when he has more distance from the library's daily operations.

Scope and Sequence

Over time, and in concert with other teachers in the school, Jack develops a scope and sequence for his library. This is a well articulated curriculum that shows what students will access and do in the library during each of their years in the school.

Jack wants to align his scope and sequence with state and national standards, as well as with the grade level curricula at the school. His long-term goal is to have well-articulated objectives for what students will be able to do in the library media center at the end of every grade. This will remain a dynamic and flexible document, though, and one that Jack and his successors can modify over time.

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