A certified school librarian is a professional learning powerhouse

By Melanie Lewis and Katie McNamara
August 2021
School administrators often seek out personnel to facilitate embedded professional learning, usually by asking a skilled classroom teacher to serve as an instructional coach, curriculum specialist, or teacher on special assignment. One source administrators do not often consider is a certified school librarian, but these professionals are ready resources for professional learning in improving student literacy, integrating technology into the curriculum, and other areas. “School librarian” is frequently used as a catch-all term for any individual who works in a library space, but a state-certified school librarian (also known as a library media specialist or teacher librarian) is an educator who has completed a master’s level certification program in school librarianship and successfully obtained the appropriate state-level school librarian certification. Certification requirements vary by state,

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Alliance for Excellent Education. (2020). Future ready librarians framework.

American Association of School Librarians. (2018, November 11). Definition of an effective school library.

American Association of School Librarians. (2019a). ALA/AASL/CAEP school librarian preparation standards (2019).

American Association of School Librarians. (2019b, June 22). Appropriate staffing for school libraries.

Jesseman, D., Page, S., & Underwood, L. (2015, September). State by state certifications. School Library Connection.

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Melanie Lewis ( is assistant professor in media and coordinator of the School Library Media program at the University of West Georgia.

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Katie McNamara ( serves as a teacher librarian at North High School in Bakersfield, California; director of the Teacher Librarian Program at Fresno Pacific University; and president of the California School Library Association.

The Learning Professional

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