The 2011 SLPY Award Winners' Words on Supportive Administrators

Article excerpt

Dr. Donna Shannon's article (in this issue) about how administrators support school library programs and teacher librarians is reflected in the administrative support found at each of the three winner sites of the AASL School Library Program of the Year 2011.

From the winner of the individual school award to the two district award winners, there was consensus of support for the school library programs.

Partnership with the school library program was explored at all three places-clearly there is a strong connection between the school libraries and administrators. For instance, one site mentioned how they saw the school library program as a partner and model of how to integrate 21st-century learning into the school curriculum. Another one stated that the school library program was so well integrated into the school district that the library wasn't a separate entity but rather a fundamental part of the whole school. In that same district there was comment about how the school library program helped disseminate and develop curricular issues and decide what to work on in the school district. The integral nature of the school library program was also mentioned in another SLPY winning school district, emphasizing that the school library program was a component of student success.

Support systems used by administrators with the school library program varied, but all administrators considered the library a vital resource to be supported and also as a strong supporter of other components of the school. For instance, the school library program was seen as adding quality and cutting-edge dimensions to the schools, be it through literacy, technology, or exposure to authors and cultural interests. There were some differences in understanding about how to best support the school library program in the responses; they ranged from integral support to book club[reading support.

All of the responding administrators saw significant changes in the school library programs they were familiar with during the last five years. For instance, best practices and learning standards were often seen as manifested in the school library program. Additionally, the administrators noted different uses of the library facility now as compared to five years ago and how student learning was driving these changes. Technology was mentioned, not as an end in and of itself but rather as a means by which curriculum and learning was occurring in conjunction with the library. Differentiated instruction also occurred more frequently when the library was involved.

As noted above, technology was mentioned as a significant change to the school library program. The computer lab programs were considered more integral to the school library program, and virtual resource access was widely referenced.

There was significant dispersal of technology throughout the schools that was often being managed by the school library program. …