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The School Librarian Part 2: The SLEIgh Ride

Updated: Apr 7

by: Dr. D. Laverne Hill


In last month’s blog post, I talked about the necessity for school librarians to “toot their own horn” because if they don’t nobody else will! I also touched on the fact that many administrators do not have a clue as to what really goes on in their school’s library (which usually becomes very evident during annual evaluations). 

Well, lucky for the school librarians in Georgia, we have a specific evaluation instrument that reveals EXACTLY what we do! I conducted an informal poll earlier this year to gain some insight into how school librarians are evaluated. According to the Georgia Department of Education (2023), there are approximately 180 city/county public school systems in the state of Georgia. I received responses from about 50 of those school systems. About two-thirds of the responses indicated their district used either the School Librarian Evaluation Instrument (SLEI) or the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES) to evaluate school librarians. The remaining responses indicated evaluations consisted of old checklists, rubrics created by administrators, or “old” media specialist evaluation instruments, while others revealed they are asked to “write a report” explaining what they do in their role! And there were even some responses that stated, “I haven’t even been evaluated in ___ years”!

So, as you can see, there are inconsistencies of evaluation methods throughout the state of Georgia for school librarians. We are an integral part of student success in our learning communities. If we want to have quality programs, we must have effective evaluation instruments that evaluate the specific role of a school librarian. But how is that accomplished? Educate your administration!

  1. What is the SLEI?

The School Librarian Evaluation Instrument was developed in 2016 by a Georgia library media consortium group to identify and evaluate school librarians, their programs, and their practices across the state. The instrument includes 10 standards which are aligned with the National Library Standards and ISTE standards. The instrument is intended to ensure “consistency and comparability across districts, based on a common definition of highly qualified school library media specialists who support and enrich school environments” (GLMA, 2022).

2. How do I educate my administration/evaluator about the SLEI?

Everything you need to know about the SLEI can be found on the Georgia Library Media Association (GLMA) website. The website offers training materials, plans for implementation, forms, ideas for providing evidence of mastery, and a plethora of other information about the SLEI.

3. What’s in it for me?

It will be your time to shine! The SLEI is designed specifically for school librarians, which means it evaluates the very things you do day in and day out! You won’t have to try to conform your duties and responsibilities to standards of other evaluation instruments not designed to evaluate you or your profession! 

4. How do I get my administrator on board?

First, tell them about the SLEI. Next, share the link with them to the SLEI webpage on the GLMA website. Ask them to share the information with other administrators (and the school library coordinator) in your district. Provide them with the contact information of your local RESA, your GLMA Region Chair, any GLMA officer, or any other individual they wish to contact to learn more about the SLEI goals, standards, training, and implementation processes. You can even have them contact me at denhill@valdosta.edu and I will be happy to point them in the right direction or help them initiate the implementation.

By having a common School Librarian Evaluation Instrument, it will increase the quality of Georgia  school library programs and personnel, thereby producing authentic and engaging learning environments designed to promote success and achievement for our learning communities!


Dr. D. Laverne Hill

M.Ed/Certification-Only School Library Media Program Coordinator

Supervisor of School Library Media Clinical Experiences

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Workforce Development

Valdosta State University



References: Georgia Department of Education (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/AskDOE/Pages/Schools-and-Districts.aspx








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