A group of media personnel from across Georgia developed a powerful document for school library media advocacy. It addresses the roles of the school library media specialist based on American Association of School Librarians (AASL) standards and is a tool that is desperately needed as we strive to define our essential role in the educational lives of our students. A brief history of the crafting of this document follows.
Development of the School Library Effectiveness Instrument (SLEI)
In Fall of 2014, a Georgia Library Media Consortium group met at the University of West Georgia to discuss major issues of concern for media programs in the state. The group consisted of university professors, media coordinators, and media specialists who met with a goal of identifying content that should be required for SLMS preparation programs. A secondary goal was to initiate a plan to develop a media program self-assessment instrument so that expectations could be consistent across the state.
In 2015, the Consortium developed the Media Keys Effectiveness System (MKES). Following a commitment to national standards, the School Library Effectiveness Instrument (SLEI) was developed in 2016.
Self-assessment & Advocating for Media Programs
School media specialists can use SLEI as a self-assessment tool to review and enhance their current programs and practices. In addition, SLEI is an excellent way to inform all stakeholders about the role of media programs and library media specialists. This instrument can be used as a catalyst for open discussions among media specialist and their administration.
If ever there was a time when the essential role of the school library media specialist (SLMS) should be made known to legislators, administrators, teachers, parents, community members, students, and even library media specialists themselves, it is now!