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NYC School Librarian Guidebook: Librarian Responsibilities

Resources to examine our inherent bias, promote personal awareness, and help us build collections for our students that reflect themselves and the world around them.

What Does a School Librarian Do?




Climate Conducive to Learning

  • Creates welcoming and respectful climate in library.
  • Provides for diverse student needs in resources and instruction.
  • Provides opportunities for students to use the library for class-related research, individual investigation, independent reading, and personal inquiry.
  • Sponsors special programs in the library, such as health fairs, career days, and reading motivation programs (e.g., book fairs, book clubs, author visits, book reviewing).
  • Continually rotates, replaces, and updates displays of books and student work to reflect current curricular themes.

Collaborative Planning

  • Collaborates with teachers to plan and implement instructional units that integrate use of the library with classroom curriculum.
  • Documents collaboration with teachers.
  • Participates in school, department, and grade-level curriculum development.
  • Provides teachers with print and non-print resources related to specific units upon request and proactively reaches out to teachers to support their instruction.
  • Facilitates collaboration among classroom teachers.
  • Collaborates with other educators (coaches, technology specialists) as appropriate.

Integrated, Collaborative Teaching

  •    Shares responsibility with teachers for integrating inquiry, information literacy and technology skills into school curriculum.
  • Helps structure student assignments for deeper thinking and research.
  • Teaches collaboratively with classroom teachers whenever possible.
  • Develops and implements reading initiatives to motivate and engage each student in independent reading.

Information Fluency Curriculum

  • Leads the school in developing a plan for integration of information fluency skills throughout the grades and subject areas.
  • Documents the teaching of information fluency skills to ensure that all students have equitable opportunities to develop and practice information fluency.
  • Provides professional development to teachers to investigate how technology and information skills can support curriculum and instruction.


Collection Aligned to Curriculum and Student Needs

  • Establishes, maintains and updates an automated catalog.
  • Assesses student and teacher needs and interests.
  • Maintains running list or suggestion box for teachers and students to request materials.
  • Assesses connections between classroom collections and the library.
  • Conducts ongoing collection analysis and development, regularly discarding and adding materials in light of the assessed needs.
  • Continuously reviews professional publications to keep up-to-date on current print and non-print resources.
  • Subscribes to online databases and other electronic resources.
  • Develops and maintains relationships with book jobbers and vendors.



  • Ensures that the library has sufficient working computers connected to the Internet and appropriate software.
  • Stays up-to-date on the latest technologies and their use for teaching and learning.
  • Trains teachers and shares best practices in integrating technology into instruction.
  • Integrates the library into the school’s technology plan.
  • Communicates to students and faculty the ethical and safe use of technology.

Physical Environment / Facilities

  • Organizes the library in logical Dewey Decimal System order for ease of access to resources.
  • Arranges the library for variety of uses by large groups, small groups, and individuals.
  • Enhances usage of the library through clear signage and designation of areas for specific activities (storytelling, research, technology use, etc.).
  • Maintains an orderly environment.
  • Facilitates redesign of the library space when the opportunity arises.

Flexible, Open, Extended, and Equitable Access

  • Develops a scheduling policy that facilitates open and flexible access as well as strong instructional use.
  • Schedules library use and posts current library schedule weekly.
  • Provides open access time every day for students to check out resources.
  • Ensures that all students have public library cards so they can access resources of public library.
  • Advocates for extended library hours (before and after school, Saturday, summer).

Use of Resources and Technology

  • Maintains fair and consistent circulation and use policies.
  • Promotes use of library to teachers, students, and parents to ensure that the library is a vital and active center of learning for the whole school.
  • Documents use of library and library computers by classes and individuals.
  • Pursues support from technology personnel to maintain working and up-to-date computers and Internet access.



  • Recruits, trains, and manages library staff and volunteers.
  • Sets own job-performance goals and documents accomplishments.
  • Collaborates with co-librarians by establishing clear job-sharing responsibilities.

Funding and Budget Management

  • Establishes budget priorities based on assessment of needs, status of library collection, library plan for improvement, and industry trends.
  • Ensures that library budget is allocated and spent each year according to DOE procedures and policies.
  • Maintains budget and expenditure records.
  • Pursues grant opportunities for the library, including integration of the library into content-specific and school-wide grants, as appropriate.

Library Management

  • Develops library vision, mission, and goals with input from administrators, teachers, students, parents and all other stakeholders.
  • Uses the Library Learning Walk to assess library assets and needs and develop strategic plan for improvement.
  • Develops overall library policies and procedures.
  • Documents and maintains records on all aspects of the library program.
  • Serves on the school leadership team and integrates the library program throughout the school’s Comprehensive Education Plan.

Professional Development

  • Attends Office of Library Services programs, meetings and conferences.
  • Attends regional library meetings and workshops.
  • Attends local, state or national professional development workshops.
  • Participates in electronic discussion lists, such as NYCSLIST and LM_Net.
  • Actively networks with other school and public librarians.
  • Coordinates professional development opportunities for teachers on technology, information fluency and inquiry in order to build a professional learning community.

Library Advocacy and Support

  • Effectively communicates the vision for the school library to the faculty, staff, parents and community.
  • Communicates regularly with staff, students, and parents about library resources and programs in various forms (e.g., staff meetings, newsletters, student newspaper, displays, Web page).
  • Develops an ongoing advocacy program for library. 
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