School librarians and leaders of AASL and ALA are featured in recent Education Week article, “Common Core Thrusts Librarians into Leadership Role.” I feel a slight urge to clarify that librarians have been stepping into leadership roles long before the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) became a focus in American education, but I’ll overlook that and instead, spend some time sharing this article with you and continuing to think about the evolving responsibilities described in the piece. And although we strive to make “school librarians” synonymous with “leaders,” we can’t deny what Barbara Stripling says in the article, “The common standards are the best opportunity we’ve had to take an instructional-leadership role in the schools and really to support every classroom teacher substantively.”
Consider using this article to start an outline of how your library program fits into your school’s adoption of the Common Core, and what the strengths and needs of your expertise, schedule, and collection might be at present. And share it with your library and teacher colleagues, your school community, and especially administrators, to showcase how the library program can help students and teachers take on more rigorous reading tasks, find materials that reflect the shifting balance to more informational texts, and build opportunities to pursue deep, relevant inquiry instead of “Google-able” topical research.
As some comments to the article suggest, a growing concern with reading as represented in the CCSS is the potential to obsess over reading levels, at the expense of allowing students the chance to enjoy reading. This is (and even before the Common Core, has been) a topic of ongoing thinking for teachers and librarians, and a worthwhile subject for an upcoming post of its own. Stay tuned for that, and let me know with whom you shared this Education Week piece, and what they thought!