Pre-Service School Librarians and the Way They See It


For the past several years, I have been teaching the course LBSC 741 on school librarianship for the University of Maryland iSchool.  Each term, I have the great pleasure of meeting and working with future school librarians and educators who are working on their MLIS.  This spring, while a spring like no other, did not disappoint. The students in my class were incredible.  I enjoyed working with them so much that I asked them if it would be okay to put together a blog post for the MASL site using some of their work.  What follows is an amazing set of highlights from one of the final projects in the course: The Five Roles of the School Librarian. 

I know we all remember those five roles from our previous set of standards.  The new standards even make mention of the roles: Leader, Instructional Partner, Teacher, Information Specialist, and Program Administrator.  The students in LBSC 741 were tasked with sharing what they had learned about these roles based on what they learned in the course, the new standards, and their experiences.  They could write a paper, create a speech, make a presentation, create a video – their choice.  What follows are excerpts from the five roles with credit given to each of the students who created and spent countless hours learning, leading, and becoming ever more ready for their role in librarianship.

Angela Horjus, who serves as a school librarian at private school wrote about how when she made the announcement to her family and friends and social media followers 5 years ago that she was going to be a school librarian, she had reactions that mixed in “heartfelt congratulations and sincere wishes,” along with “What, we still have librarians?” and “Haven’t librarians been replaced by _____?” And her answer was a resounding NO! She makes the case eloquently in her writing that school librarians do exist and that they are more relevant than ever.  You can read her entire essay at this link. I highly recommend taking five minutes to read it fully.  It’s funny, engaging, and you will see yourself reflected in her writings about how she is a partner, instructional leader, and a teacher!

Meredith McGann created a Weebly page to show of her thoughts on school librarianship.  I, for one, love that she started with librarians as leaders!  Because, yes, we are leaders!  She provides some great insight into what makes a school librarian a leader and ways that school librarians can align the vision and mission of the school library with that of the school. Check out Meredith’s amazing work at

Emily Fisher in her final project started out with this statement, “What if I told you there was a resource that increases student achievement, increases test scores, and increases the amount that students read and their attitudes about reading?”  Hmmmm….who could she be referring to?  She goes on to talk about how school librarians set up children for a lifetime of success.  That’s what we do!

Terri Bourbon points out in her essay (check out the full essay here) that librarians are the “connective tissue between learners and the information they seek.”  I love this.  School librarians are the information experts, and in this day and age of disinformation, misinformation, deep fakes, misleading headlines, the role of the school librarian is more important than ever.  Terri talks about the importance of the school librarian being the role model for information literacy in their whole community – not just in the library.  They model and teach the inquiry process and are “uniquely situated to impart a sophisticated understanding and mastery of media.”  Yes, yes we are!  Mary-Anne Nelligan shared many of the same thoughts that Terri shared, and you can read her essay at this link.  She goes on to write about collaboration and how it models and promotes teamwork and fosters cooperative skills in the students served by the school librarian.  That is an added benefit to collaboration that I don’t think we think about often enough, and Mary-Anne brings it home: collaboration models working as a team!

I want to highlight the rest of the extraordinary work done by this class by sharing some images from their work and some additional resources!

Natalie Krissoff created this Google Site which has some amazing information about vision and mission! Joycelyn Nelson showed off her tech skills by digging into and creating a presentation that delights.  Check out this You Tube video which is embedded below from Alexandra Bower, it’s a great example of using multimedia to share ideas.

Finally, I want to share some amazing images created by some of the students that show in pictures and words the roles of the school librarian. Credit to the author of the images is given below the images.

School Librarians as Instructional Partners - Christina Esquivel

school librarians as instructional partners

Innovation and Collaboration by Nia Charity Muhammad

be innovative and collaboration

Three types of School Librarian Leadership by Danielle Davis

advocacy leadership

visionary leadership

instructional leadership

School Librarians as Information Specialist by Genevieve Bent

school librarian as information specialist

The Summary Graphic by Rachel Mattos

circle graphic with leader, program administrator, teacher, instructional partner, and information specialist around the outside with school librarian inside


All the roles of the school librarian are important.  Nurturing the future of school librarianship is incredibly important and finding new and creative ways to draw enthusiastic, energetic educators into our profession is something that MASL believes strongly in doing.  Through our job board, our professional development, and our new and established partnerships with educators of school librarians, we are all working together to move our profession forward to the benefit of our students, educators and school communities.  Each of these MLIS students should be commended on persistence, perseverance, and their passion for building their knowledge of school libraries this year.  Thank you to all who agreed to let me "borrow" pieces of your work for this project and post. 


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