At the end of the school year, as my students are finishing their coursework and getting ready to do their student teaching, I ask them to compose vision statements for themselves as teachers.
I think this can be a useful exercise in thinking for many educators. It is easy to get caught up in the everyday activities of our schools and library media centers. The end of the year, when classes are winding down and we reflect on the year we’ve just ended, can be a good time to step back and think about our core values for the school library program. This may be especially important when we are facing losses in funding, staff, and other resources that are essential to a vital school library program.
When I have my students complete this assignment, the vision statement can take many forms. One of the options I give is a “Bill of Rights” of sorts, or a set of essential ideas that form the core of their educational practices.
Of course, we already have a Library Bill of Rights and an interpretation of it that articulates its application to school libraries. I encourage students to try to state their ideas simply, then add explanations if necessary.
I’m going to start my list of essential core values for the school library program. What would you add? Share your core values with us in the comments.
1.) Students have the right to access the instruction and expertise of a full-time credentialed library media specialist(s) as well as adequate support staff to ensure this accessibility and smooth functioning.
2.) Students have the right to resources that reflect their own cultures as well as the diverse world we live in.
3.) Students have the right to pursue topics of personal interest in the library media center using the resources available there (both physical and virtual).
4.) Students have the right to regular information literacy instruction embedded in their broader curricular studies, not separate from it.
5.) Students have the right to participate in creating their school library media program.
….What would you add?