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What are you going to school for?

January 19, 2010

This is the obvious question that usually follows people discovering that I am back in school. The only problem is that it’s really hard to answer.

Granted, it is easy enough to tell people I’m getting my degree in library science. Anything after that gets tricky though, as I’m in the school media program and plan to work in a K-12 school setting. I never know what term to use to describe that job. School librarian seems the obvious choice, as most people are familiar with that. School media specialist seems to be the prevalent official job title in my area, but most people respond to that with quizzical looks. Teacher-librarian is a term that I have learned since starting classes at Syracuse, but even my school administrator husband wasn’t familiar with that one.

I’m not alone in this identity crisis. A recent AASL blog post and the ensuing comments show that this issue is a serious matter that goes beyond semantics. According to a recent resolution, the AASL has officially adopted the term “school librarian”. Although I don’t have much experience using any of these job titles, my brief anectdotal evidence has shown that most people are familiar with this term.

I don’t know what the right answer is here, but I personally prefer having “librarian” in the mix, since I feel it shows a sense of pride in the libary profession.

I’m sure this is not the last we’ll hear of this issue, and it’s one that I’ll follow with interest.

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