Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Neverending Search
Inside Neverending Search

Does Your School Have a Teacher Librarian? A new CSLA Film and a playlist

The wonderful librarians the California School Library Association just released the film, Does Your School Have a Teacher Librarian?

Featuring the voices of administrators, classroom teachers, academics, and, most powerfully, learners, the 10-minute film describes libraries as active, collaborative, creative safe spaces and librarians’ connections to the individual interests and passions of kids and their value as teachers, technology leaders, collaborators, innovators and professional developers in a state where it is (sadly) not common to find a librarian in your school.

Jane Lofton, teacher librarian at Mira Costa (CA) High School and past CSLA President, shares the back story and offers some guidance for other organizations interested in similar projects:

It was hearing Craig Seasholes and the WLMA team share about their film (Teacher Librarians at the Heart of the Student Learning) at the AASL Affiliate Assembly in Seattle in January, 2013 while I as CSLA President that inspired me to suggest that California School Library Association create this new film. The film was a labor of love by our talented member and producer, Karen Morgenstern.

While I know the film’s statistics are specific to California, please do watch it and share it far and wide where ever you can. And, note that we issued it with a Creative Commons License, so you are free to use any parts of it that work in your own state.

Our California School Library Foundation, had some money Follett had donated for an advocacy effort a while back. We were going to do a campaign of bus ads starting in San Francisco. That campaign plan never worked out, so that money was available. When I heard the WMLA people talking about their film (which had recently been released), I thought, “let’s make a California version.” I learned that Karen had background in the film industry, and, after getting board support, I asked if she would take it on. Karen and I met with Craig Seasholes during the AASL conference last year to get ideas. He recommended having a company do it for us, as WLMA had. Karen found a talented high school media arts teacher, James Gleason, who, with one of his students, TerryKhai Ngo, filmed and edited the project. She also found two musicians, Lilly Aycud and Marc Stuart, who wrote original music

To keep the cost down, we followed Craig’s advice and did almost all the interviews (except the teachers and students) during one conference – our annual conference in San Diego last February. The school shots were done at four schools.

Our next step is figuring out how best to market the film and get our stakeholders – administrators, teachers, parents, politicians, etc. – to see it. Obviously, sharing it far and wide in the school library world nationally will be valuable to let our colleagues know about what it is like in California, but then we want their help with strategies for getting our own stakeholders to listen and understand what our students need and are being deprived of in most of our California public schools.

Teacher Librarians at the Heart of the Student Learning, launched by Craig Seasholes of WLMA, is the film that inspired Jane.

Principals Know: School Librarians are the Heart of the School was crowd-sourced by Dr. Judi Moreillon and Dr. Teresa Starrett using funds provided by the Texas Library Association, Demco, and the Dean’s Research Funds (College of Professional Education, Texas Woman’s University).

I am gathering these recent advocacy films and several other together in a  School Library Advocacy Playlist, please feel free to add suggestions or write to join me as a collaborator.

Create your own Playlist on LessonPaths!
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. Thanks so much for sharing our CSLA film! And CSLA also has some other good films on our CSLA YouTube channel (, including a recent film made by Lisa Bishop, one of our members, who interviewed authors and had them share about the sad ratio of TLs to students in California (, and a recording of a presentation on Common Core by several CSLA people at the California School Boards Association conference last December. (

  2. Don’t forget the awesome series from the Colorado State Library Team!

  3. Chelsea Sims, our advocacy chair, put this together for the Iowa Association of School Librarians.

  4. Kathy Lester says

    This video by MAME and the Library of Michigan was done several years ago; but the message still applies:

  5. I’ve shared this with my administrators and I’m hoping to share this with the rest of the community. Inspirational! I love this!

  6. The librarians in the LSR7 district of Lee’s Summit, MO produced this video
    Most/all of the work was done by amazing high school librarian Michael Russell.

  7. I’ll be circulating this among parents first. Our district has a classified “library technician” at each site, but nobody with either teaching or library credentials. Local administrators are definitely resistant to hearing about enhancements to library services. Our director of Instruction told me point blank that she “never really thought” about the role that the libraries would need to play in the next five years, despite our team providing many examples and resources. So action is going to have to come from parents demanding up-to-date staffing to support their childrens’ needs. Thank you to all the advocates who provide materials I can put in front of folks locally to demonstrate what is possible for our children.

Speak Your Mind