NFIL Policy Statement – School Librarians
National Forum on Information Literacy (NFIL)
POLICY STATEMENT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF CERTIFIED SCHOOL LIBRARIANS
CAREER AND COLLEGE READINESS implies that high school seniors have an advanced ability to find, use, and communicate information in various contexts. However, employers and colleges report a lack of 21st century skills related to information literacy in new employees and first-year students. They address this deficit at great cost through orientation programs and remediation, while the pre-K-to-secondary educational system should be the locus for the progressive development of these abilities. School librarians are those best qualified to partner with classroom teachers in cultivating these abilities in students; classroom teachers do not learn how to teach these competencies during teacher preparation programs.
In 21st century schools, a school library is the physical and virtual learning commons where reading, inquiry, discovery, thinking, imagination, and creativity are central to students’ information-to-knowledge journey, and to their personal, social and cultural growth. Some 60 years of international research now documents the school library as an essential part of contemporary education.
Only 2/3 of public school library media centers and 1/3 of public charter schools had full-time, paid, state-certified library media center specialists in the 2011-12 school year. Furthermore, 79,000 of the 85,500 traditional public schools and 2,200 of the 4,500 public charter schools had a library media center. Students cannot learn to find and use information effectively and engage in lifelong learning if they do not have the professional guidance and resources to learn this during the formal educational process. Especially noteworthy is that information literacy is an equalizer for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Therefore, the National Forum on Information Literacy states that all students should have progressive and subject-integrated information literacy competency training that can best be provided through the leadership of school librarians and the current, well-organized resources of a school library. All teachers should work with a full-time certified or licensed school librarian located in their schools to partner on teaching students to learn by effectively using information—the key to lifelong learning. NFIL strongly supports legislation for adequate funding and appropriate staffing of school libraries and policy that will instill information literacy competencies in all members of society.