We began this school year with new ELA standards for all grades. The same standards apply to all grades with increasingly difficult indicators scaffolding from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Even though library media specialists were not on the committees to write these new standards, an exploration of the standards shows several direct connections between the ELA classroom and the school library media center. Standards 1 and 2 relate to reading literary and informational texts both in print and nonprint formats. Standard 6 is the research and inquiry standard and, while these standards are directed toward the classroom teachers, this standard spells out exactly what library media specialists do (or should be doing) on a daily basis.If you will envision a two-piece puzzle with one piece labeled “Teachers-Content” and the other piece labeled “Library Media Specialist-Process,” you begin to understand the importance of the collaborative process between these two groups of educators. The ELA Standard 6 is all about process. (For a brief explanation of these standards and an illustration of this two-piece puzzle, go to http://martha.alewine.googlepages.com and click on the link for the LMS Annual Start-Up Meeting link on the right-hand side of the page.) Libary media specialists should embrace these standards and use them to open a dialogue with their classroom teachers to talk about how library media specialists can help teach these new standards. Standard 6 has implications for all the content areas and not just English/Language Arts.
Part of teaching process skills (information literacy or 21st Century learning skills) is the use of a problem-solving model or a research model. I have written one for South Carolina that is directly aligned with Standard 6. This South Carolina model is called The Simple Four. Information about this new problem-solving model is available at the web site listed above. Just look for the link for the Simple Four on the right-hand side of the page.
Another new resource available for library media specialists this year is the SC School Library Core Resource Collection Lists. These core collection lists are divided by grade level (i.e., elementary, middle, and high) and by levels according to Achieving Exemplary School Libraries (i.e., emerging, proficient, and exemplary). These lists are not title-specific but address the curricular areas. Standards are also included for technology that should be available in and through the school library media center. These core collection standards are available on the web site listed above. They should be consulted as school libraries plan purchases using the funds available from the $1 million appropriated for school libraries by the SC General Assembly.