A recent announcement from AASL regarding a decision made at ALA Midwinter has many of us scratching our heads. AASL has passed a motion officially adopting the title of “school librarian.” The reason given is that legislators, community members, and other fellow educators are “confused” by the multiple titles that we use: library media specialist, information literacy specialist, teacher-librarian, media specialist – the list goes on. According to Floyd Pentlin, who posted the news to the AASL Blog ““school librarian” was the overwhelming choice.”
Some pretty passionate comments follow the blog post, and certainly the first TL Café Webinar organized by Joyce Valenza and hosted by Mike Eisenberg and attended by over 80 educators around the globe seemed to indicate there are many who disagree with this decision, and passionately so.
In Colorado, we probably have as many different titles for the role of school librarian as any place else. Often times, as in my district, the title is dictated by Human Resources – something not easily changed. But I can’t help but wonder – does it really matter? Can the title alone make or break us? I think that in these trying times, when budgets are being sliced and diced, at the local, state, and federal level –no one will be making decisions about what to do with the school library based on the title. If there is a person in the position of school librarian who is indispensible, making an impact (and showing it!) on student achievement, creating a culture of collaboration, and being a leader in the integration of 21st century skills – whether that person is called a school librarian, library media specialist, or teacher-librarian – they will survive this and any future budget crisis.
What do you think?