Austin – The Texas State Library and Archives Commission voted Tuesday to approve revised guidelines for school libraries. School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas provides communities, educators, and the public a tool for assessing and building quality school library programs and ensuring students benefit from robust instruction and resources.
State Librarian Mark Smith notes, “the state has long authorized the creation of standards for school libraries in recognition of the crucial role libraries play in student achievement.” He also states, “school libraries are the universal ‘classroom’ for all students where information literacy, reading, research, digital skills, and critical thinking are among the primary areas of instruction and support.”
The newly revised standards are aligned with the T-TESS, the Texas teacher evaluation tool, and are organized into six primary areas that school libraries should address. The strands are information literacy, inquiry, reading, digital learning, safe and nurturing learning environment, and leadership in promoting learning and accountability.
A statewide committee of teachers, school administrators, and librarians worked over 18 months to evaluate and update the school standards based on state and national standards and evaluation tools. Donna Kearley, coordinator of library services for Denton ISD, and Sonja Schulz, a high school librarian at Nacogdoches ISD, co-chaired the committee.
The development of the standards is authorized under the Texas Education Code, which directs the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, in consultation with the State Board of Education, to adopt standards for school library services statewide.
Schulz comments, “the standards are a central tool for school librarians and administrators across Texas, because they are a workable framework to develop and deliver essential programs that help students with all aspects of their educational experience.”
“The bottom line is that school libraries across Texas deliver instruction to millions of students every day,” adds Kearley. “These standards build from the high expectations we all have of our schools, allow for flexibility within individual campuses, support accountability, and underscore the ways in which quality school libraries and certified school librarians ensure a dynamic and ready workforce for Texas.”
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides Texans access to the information they need to be informed, productive citizens by preserving the archival record of Texas; enhancing the service capacity of public, academic, and school libraries; assisting public agencies in the maintenance of their records; and meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities. For more information visit tsl.texas.gov.