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Library Media Center Summary

Susan Connell
Fall 2003

Neuman, D. (2003). The library media center: Touchstone for instructional design and technology in the schools. Handbook of research for educational communications and technology. (chap. 18.6). Retrieved November 12, 2003, from http://www.aect.org/edtech/18.pdf

This article summarizes historical development and effectiveness of the library media center and staff in their role of integrating instructional system design and various technologies into the educational process. While discussing history dating back to the early 1960s, the author cites Information Power: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs (AASL & AECT, 1988) as a defining document in the development of Media Centers. Neuman highlights its definition of the mission of library media programs as ensuring "that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information" (AASL & AECT, 1988, p. 1). The section discussing current national standards and the library media specialist's role today covers the newer edition of Information Power and other recent research about the ever-changing role of media centers in education.

The author identifies "collaboration, leadership and technology" as key components of modern media center programs and points out that all three relate to the media specialist's role in instructional design. Collaboration and partnership have become more important concepts recently, whereas teachers had previously viewed media specialist as more of an outside advisor which was sometimes an obstacle to successful programs.

The article also discusses the importance of Information Literacy Skills for Student Learning (ILSSL) as proposed in Information Power 2. These standards address basic "information literacy" and independent learning with information as well as the socially responsible use of information and information technology. The ILSSL proposes goals, objectives and proficiency levels that could be used to gauge student mastery.

The author suggests that perhaps the new definitions and goals proposed in Information Power 2 could serve as a catalyst for enabling better partnership between teachers and media specialists. Of course just changing the definition doesn't necessarily change the perception immediately. The fact that more than 50,000 copies of the new Information Power have been sold is a good sign that schools are becoming more receptive to the guidelines it presents.

Referenced work from the main reference:
American Association of School Librarians and Association for Educational Communications and Technology (1988). Information power: Guidelines for school library media programs. Chicago and Washington, DC: Authors.

American Association of School Librarians and Association for Educational Communications and Technology (1998). Information power: Building partnerships for learning. Chicago and Washington, DC: Authors.


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© 2003, Susan Connell, Educational Technology Student at San Diego State University