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Supervising & Evaluating Library Media Staff

Instructor: Kristilynn Turney

Kristilynn has a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management. She has taught high school English, Public Speaking and Theater; served as instructional coach; consultant, assistant principal, principal, asst. director and college professor.

The role of the school librarian has evolved along with specific strategies and standards for a successful library. Learn more about how to supervise, evaluate and address librarian issues in Ohio.

The Evolution of School Librarians

At one time, school librarians were viewed as old women who stressed the importance of being quiet. When asked where a book was located, they simply pointed in the direction. Those days are long gone. School library media staff have an important role in empowering teachers and students with information, technology and media literacy skills. In the state of Ohio, the library benchmarks are:

  • Information literacy: Using library resources and materials such as books and magazines
  • Technology literacy: Using internet and computer based programs
  • Media literacy: Using media communications for various audiences

The American Association of School Librarians

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), has a focused strategic plan to proactively respond to issues and anticipate trends that define their agenda. Using this strategic plan, school leaders are charged with supervising and evaluating library media staff and handling personnel issues in a variety of situations.

Supervising Library Media Staff

Supervising library media staff is different from supervising teachers. Teachers serve a select group of students based on their certified content. Library media staff serve the entire school population across all content areas. So even though a school librarian may have never learned Japanese or even visited Japan, they are expected to be knowledgeable in the field. When supervising library media staff, library directors and school leaders must keep this thought in mind. Other guidelines for conducting evaluations include:

  • Make weekly visits to the library to see the librarian working in different settings, such as small group, large group and one-on-one settings. This will allows you to see how effective the librarian is being in their different roles.
  • Observe the frequency of use of the library. If teachers are using the library and librarian on a consistent basis that is a good indicator that the resource is valuable, effective and running smoothly. If teachers and students are not using the library or collaborating with the librarian, or only using the space for independent work or research, it may require looking into.

Evaluating Library Media Staff

Ohio uses a specific framework for evaluating library media staff. This framework evaluates librarians on the following six standards:

  • Standard 1: Student and the learning environment
  • Standard 2: Content, instruction, and assessment_
  • Standard 3: Collaboration
  • Standard 4: Communication
  • Standard 5: Professional growth
  • Standard 6: Program management and administration

Library media staff are observed twice a year using this framework. Because evaluations are only 30 minutes in length, regular visits from school leaders are required to determine the effectiveness of the librarian.

Addressing Staff and Personnel Issues

Addressing staff and personnel issues can be challenging. Some examples of personnel issues that require addressing are:

  • Unprofessional conduct or appearance: This can include using profanity, being mean toward students or not dressing as a school professional.
  • Unorganized facility: Some examples are that the computers are not working properly and it has not been reported and/or the books are unorganized and the facility is uninviting.
  • Lack of engagement with the staff: An example of this is that the librarian does not attend staff meetings or is not engaged in the school process.

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