Opportunities in library and information science careers by Kathleen de la Peña McCook

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By Kathleen de la Peña McCook

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Most who enter this specialization have come from the ranks of teachers. School system library services may be more complex than those of public libraries, with technical services, networking and instructional technology, film loans, professional libraries for teachers, and other related services offered by system headquarters. Supervisors of such programs may evaluate the work of media specialists in individual schools as well as be responsible for providing services from the system. It would be misleading to leave the impression that all school library media centers are in public schools and that all are parts of systems.

Private, parochial, and other nonpublic schools share many characteristics of the school library media centers described, but each school tends to be more independent in setting its own program and priorities than is a public school within a system. These schools are less likely to have such specific requirements for personnel certification. Certification is usually required of all teaching and administrative personnel in school systems. Librarians and media specialists may be required to hold certification in those specialties and to have Information Professionals on the Job 27 certification as teachers.

Since certification is administered by state education agencies, requirements vary from one state to another; however, some common patterns emerge. Academic work in education, with courses in teaching methods, psychology, the organization of schools, and related subjects, is usually a requirement. The individual is typically expected to provide some evidence of competence, either as a student teacher, media intern, or perhaps as a regularly employed teacher or librarian. This shows the individual has worked well in a situation similar to the one for which he or she will receive a certificate.

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