A look at librarian role statements – international, national and state-based statements.

ASLA’s ‘Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians’ clearly lays out the rationale and reason behind the standards document, defines terms and describes how the document is to be used. ASLA’s standards are divided into three main sections – professional knowledge, professional practice and professional commitment. There are further sub-headings in bullet points. This standards document focus is on the expectations of the teacher librarian. The AASL’s ‘Standards for the learner’s document on the other hand, as the title would suggest, places the emphasis on the learner.¬† It describes the skills, dispositions and attitudes that should be demonstrated by a 21st century learner.

The IASL policy statement describes the function and purpose of the school library and the responsibility of the librarian within the setting. While the statement does not go into as much detail as the ASLA standards, it covers many of the same points related to the role and the professional practice of the TL. Similarly the IFLA/UNESCO’s ‘School Library Manifesto’ is a succinct document giving a broad overview of the goals and management of a school library.

All documents agree on the important role a school library can play in a child’s education. IASL policy statement describes the library as ‘a vital instrument in the education process’ the ASLA standards, when defining a TL state that they ‘support and implement the vision of their school’ and the AASL explain in their standards that school libraries ‘are essential to the development of learning skills’. They all also highlight the importance of the librarian not working in isolation but rather collaborating with staff and students to improve student learning and outcomes.



American Association of School Librarians (AASL) (2007). Standards for the 21st Century Learner. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf

Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). (2004). Library standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx

IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto (1999; 2006). Retrieved from http://www.ifla.org/VII/s11/pubs/manifest.htm

International Association of School Librarianship (IASL). (2003).  IASL Policy Statement on School Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.iasl-online.org/about/handbook/policysl.html

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