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ISTE SIGMS releases important advocacy statement

ISTE SIGMS has just released an important advocacy statement - "The Role of School Librarians in Promoting the Use of Educational Technologies". This document can be used to provide information on the important role that school librarians play in promoting the use of educational technologies in their schools and the need for libraries to have adequate available technologies.  Please share this statement with administrators and other library stakeholders. See the document at (Reprinted below with permission.)

The statement was created by the SIGMS Executive Advocacy Committee - Lisa Perez, Doug Johnson, Joyce Valenza, Keisa Williams, Wendy Stephens and Ernie Cox. It was created at the request of ETAN to better help us advocate for school librarians. Watch for a call for volunteers in September for the SIGMS Advocacy Committee, chaired by Kathy Sanders, to continue this important work.

Laurie Conzemius

SIGMS Communications Chair


The Role of School Librarians in Promoting the Use of Educational Technologies


School librarians perform an integral role in promoting the effective use of educational technologies in their schools.  
About School Librarians
School librarians are professionals who hold teaching degrees, as well as librarian certification.  School
librarians may also be referred to as teacher-librarians or library media specialists.
School librarians are in unique positions within their schools because they:

  • collaborate with all teachers in the building across grade levels and subject disciplines.
  • work with all students throughout the students’ academic careers.
  • are instructional leaders in their schools who serve on curriculum, school improvement, and planning committees.
  • frequently provide professional development to their colleagues in areas related to instructional and technology resources.
  • teach a wide range of local, state, and national curriculum, information literacy, and technology standards, including all ISTE NETS standards.
  • serve as the primary technology "integration specialist" in their buildings.

About School Libraries
Libraries support the curriculum, promote literacy development, and foster lifelong reading habits among
children through the development of carefully selected print collections and the infusion of educational

Libraries provide:

  • a wealth of educational resources for students in the form of online databases; eBooks; audiobooks; online catalogs; creativity and research tools; and professionally vetted websites that are available at school and home.   
  • ready access to technology hardware, including computers, printers, assistive technologies for special needs students, presentation equipment, digital readers, and cameras, as well as a variety of specialized educational software and online applications.
  • equitable access to technology for students of all income levels.
  • • flexible, broadly available access points for technology whether the school uses computer labs, portable devices, or a hybrid model.
  • a location that encourages individual study, group collaboration, and large group presentations.

About School Librarians & Educational Technology
School librarians play a critical role in the infusion of educational technology in their schools.  In
particular, they:

  • support the use of technology throughout the school by working closely with the school's technology coordinator or fill the role of technology coordinator when a separate position does not exist.
  • serve as information literacy and educational technology specialists in their schools.
  • address educational technology and information literacy skills instruction embedded in the curriculum.
  • provide technology training for teachers, administrators, and parents.
  • work with teachers, counselors, and administrators to prepare students to succeed in higher education, the work place, and in society.
  • help students develop important digital citizenry attributes to demonstrate responsible use of information and technology.
  • provide leadership in the development of local information and technology literacy standards.

Educational Technology Issues Faced by School Librarians Today
In today's difficult economic times, many school districts have chosen to cut non-classroom teaching
positions.  These cuts run counter to a large body of research that indicates that a strong library program,
staffed by certified school librarians, correlates with significantly greater student achievement.  Short-
term savings are obliterated by long-term consequences of denying students equitable access to
educational resources and instruction provided by the school's information literacy specialists and
technologists - school librarians.  As schools close their libraries or staff them with non-certificated
personnel, students lose access to professionally managed print and electronic resources.  At an
unprecedented time in history when students require development of complex information literacy and
technology skills to succeed, a robust school library program is a prerequisite to success.
School librarian needs include:

  • adequate funding for technology, including sufficient connectivity, electrical access, hardware, software, subscription databases, and online tools to equitably support research and inquiry-based learning.
  • access to relevant professional development that supports them in maintaining currency in their knowledge of educational technology and its applications.
  • funding and incentives to assist school districts in committing to staffing all school libraries with certified school library professionals and appropriate support staff.
  • language in legislation that specifically highlights the inclusion of school librarians to ensure that these critical professional positions are not eliminated due to ambiguity and misinformed prioritization. 

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Reader Comments (9)

The statement is great but what the PDF needs is a cover sheet with the ISTE logo and an explanation of what ISTE is. I doubt many of my admins know what it stands for and they may dismiss the statement as a self-serving librarian thing.

August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Doyle

Great point, Anthony! I will cc this to our communications chair.


August 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

And please include a date with the cover letter.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSue

If administrators don’t know what ISTE is, it’s time to give them a copy of the NETS-A standards.

August 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGlynda

Hi Glynda,

I agree, but am afraid there are too many schools where there is no one to give them the standards.


August 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

I just read in the SLJ that Teacher librarian Gwyneth Jones is now a board member of ISTE. Perhaps she can help ensure that administrators are not only aware of NETS-A but also following them.

August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGlynda

Hi Glynda,

Having served on the board myself, I can say that administrative awareness/education on tech issues is important to ISTE. I also know that the board itself can only do so much. But I will certainly cc your suggestion to Gwyneth.

All the best,


August 24, 2010 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Dear Glynda,
As I come to the end of my four year elected term on the ISTE Board of Directors and reflect my service, participation, and accomplishments (or failures) I can say that I think we ALL need to to have an on going conversation on how we can integrate NETS into our daily instruction. What would really help (and I've suggested this) is for ISTE to draw direct correlations from NETS to Common Core. This would get our admin's attention, right? Wait! WE have a Position Statement! boards of associations, sometimes moves slowly. Let's keep plugging away! Never give up, never surrender, keep advocating. Keep serving.

I was also there to stir the pot. Or that is one of the things I think I brought to the board - that, and to always let the board remember our membership - the people who work in the schools - the classroom teachers & librarians in the trenches - who are there for our BEST customers, our kiddos! Never forget the kiddos! I hope I did a good job. I tried really hard to do my best.

May 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGwyneth Jones

PS. Thank you Doug...I should have started with that [smacks forehead] for your encouragement, mentoring, and great example of being an ISTE Board member!

Now having Laurie Conzemius and Kathy Schrock on the board means that I guess we didn't scare 'em off too bad, eh?!
So proud that our PLN can "represent" our profession on such an estimable board!

Cheers dear!

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGwyneth Jones

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