Cumberland High School librarian shares depth of daily work at her position

Cumberland High School librarian shares depth of daily work at her position

I’ve read with interest the ongoing discussion that has been prompted by The Valley Breeze article concerning the current status of libraries in the Cumberland school system. School librarians perform many duties, both seen and unseen, that impact students every day. Here is a sampling of what a certified school librarian does.

Materials are professionally selected to meet school and personal needs. Resources are purchased that align with the curriculum. A school librarian can recommend what to read next and creates reading lists. Through interlibrary loan, a school librarian can borrow books and media from other schools throughout the state to meet the needs of the students and teachers.

A school librarian provides a place that is open, friendly, attractive, and a safe haven. A library is a quiet place to learn, conduct research, or use technology. Access for all students is of utmost importance. Students are encouraged to use the library before school, during advisory, during lunch, and after school to work on projects.

A school librarian can provide one-on-one instruction and teach students how to cite and evaluate sources. A school librarian introduces subscription databases, including instruction on which databases are appropriate for particular projects.

As of this year, a school librarian can create a free library website (LibGuides) that offers 24/7 access to an online catalog, selected resources, databases, and curriculum related websites, video clips, and eBooks. Colleges and universities that use LibGuides include Brown, PC, URI, RIC, CCRI, RISD, CCRI, Johnson & Wales and Roger Williams. College bound students who utilize LibGuides will be ahead of the curve.

School librarians teach students how to be good digital citizens and how to use information ethically. Students need to learn the implications of their digital footprint and how this could affect them in the future. School librarians also teach effective search strategies, paperless presentations, digital literacy and the love of reading.

A school librarian collaborates with teachers, disseminates information, has an open library environment and helps to make readers out of non-readers. A school librarian cultivates relationships between the library and classroom teachers, administration, and students.

In today’s world, digital technology has dramatically changed how students learn. The school librarian’s challenge is to keep pace with change, embrace innovation and design convenient ways in which students can use technology they are comfortable with to access the library’s resources. I would submit that the school librarian continues to be an integral and extremely important part of the educational process.

Joyce Polucha

School Librarian, 
Cumberland High School