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WLMA: The library should be the heart of the school

The wonderful teacher librarians of the Washington Library Media Association (WLMA) recently released the five-minute video, Teacher Librarians at the Heart of Student Learning.

The video, partially funded by Mackin, is designed to present school libraries and teacher librarians as a vital resource for student learning and to highlight the essential role teacher librarians play in information and technology literacy instruction, reading advocacy, and information management.

Past President Craig Seasholes shared in an email that WLMA hopes the video

will be of use in library advocacy far and wide.

Have a look and feel free to share share share as you see fit.

Our hope is to give a quick answer to “what do librarians do these days?” That will update legislators, school boards and administrators on the dynamic library and information technology programs in (and battling back into) our schools.

Among my favorite quotes in WLMA’s new advocacy video are:

  • The teacher librarian plays an integral part in what we do in education, or should. (Trevor Greene, 2013 National Principal of the Year)
  • When I first went to my principal, I said to him, I want the library open as long as the gym is open.  Kids know if they’re wanted in a place and they know that they’re wanted here. (Lynne Greene, TL)
  • It’s a place where everybody has a voice. It’s a place where everybody is participating. It’s an active place. It’s not a passive place to sit down and listen. (David Loertscher, San Jose State University)
  • Getting the stuff is not the problem; it’s about what the student is going to do with it and what kind of new knowledge are they going to produce out of it.  And that’s where the thinking comes in.    (Sarah Appplegate, TL)
  • Kids might be able to navigate the interface, but they don’t know how to analyze, evaluate, and efficiently utilize the information they encounter and that’s a skill that needs to be taught.  (Steve Coker, TL)
  • We teach the teachers and we teach the students. We teach them vital skills that they need. And then there’s a light bulb that goes off in the teachers.  . . I couldn’t do it. I’m so glad you’re here to do it.  (Carina Pierce, TL)
  • If we can’t get books in the hands of kids, they’re not going to read them.  A TL wants the books off the shelves and in the hands of kids. (Lynne Greene, TL)
  • It’s very powerful to be able to tell the kids there are 12,000 books here, but what are you interested in?  There are very few places, especially in elementary, with the curriculum so packed, that kids get to explore what they want.  (Ron Wagner, TL)
  • We have a vision.  We’ve been in the classroom. We know curriculum. We understand what the teachers need. We understand what the kids need.
  • If they want to learn something, if they want something that’s going to help them in any way with their education, we want to be able to say “yes.” (Susan Parker, Library Assistant)
  • So what you want to do is engage the learners.  And you want to provide exciting learning experiences with adult coaches around. (David Loertscher)
  • This notion that the library is a place you go to and you check in doesn’t apply anymore. . . The library is everywhere. (Steve Coker, TL)
  • We need to be about student learning. We need to be about student outcomes.  That is job 1.  (Mark Ray, Manager of Instructional Learning)
  • We’re talking about very high level thinking, critical thinking, creative thinking. . . I think it is the most exciting time in education, ever.  (David Loertscher)
Thank you, WLMA, for your sharing your powerful story.



Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Hi Joyce,
    My husband and I produced the video for WLMA. As a lifetime bookworm and writer, I was so moved by the interviews we did with teacher-librarians. Thank you all for being such a powerful force for learning and literacy!

  2. Very affirming, inspiring and powerful.
    Thank you for putting it out there at a time when we look for personal stories reaffirming why we do what we do.

  3. Great video! it was totally inspiring and motivational.

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