Frequently asked questions
Why is this program being offered?
The loss of libraries and qualified librarians in the nations' poorest schools has reached a critical mass. In Michigan, the decline of certified school librarians has been particularly sharp. The Michigan Department of Education lists Library Media Specialists as a critical shortage discipline. Therefore, this grant-funded project seeks to help reduce barriers of access to culturally responsive education and access to books and cerified school libarians that students in urban schools disproportionately experience due to widespread closures of school libraries across the country.
Evidence suggests that the neediest learners may benefit the most from trained librarians and quality library programs.Unfortunately, the very kids who have the most need often attend urban public schools where they do not have access to adequate books or credentialed librarians in their school or local branch libraries. A study ranked school library programs based on certified staffing, library accessibility, resources, and technology and found that "the one key factor distinguishing high-performing high-poverty schools from low-performing high-poverty schools is a quality library program."
However, the districts which have not lost a librarian since 2005 are 75 percent white, while the 20 districts that have lost the most librarians had on average 78 percent minority student populations.
Therefore, the overarching goal of Project RUSL is to provide culturally responsive education and professional development for educators seeking to become certified school librarians, particularly in urban environments, using Hip Hop Based Education principles and practices to restore school library programming at their respective districts.
 Lance, K.C. & Kachel, D.E. (2018). Why school librarians matter: What years of research tell us. Phi Delta Kappan, 99 (7), 15-20.
.Coker, E. (2015, April). The Washington state school library study: Certified teacher-librarians, library quality and student achievement in Washington state public schools. Seattle, WA: Washington Library Media Association
What do School Library Media Specialists Do?
As outlined by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
Today's school librarian works with both students and teachers to facilitate access to information in a wide variety of formats, instruct students and teachers how to acquire, evaluate and use information and the technology needed in this process, and introduces children and young adults to literature and other resources to broaden their horizons. As a collaborator, change agent, and leader, the school librarian develops, promotes and implements a program that will help prepare students to be effective users of ideas and information, a lifelong skill.
Librarycareers.org is a service of the American Library Association designed to promote interest, awareness, and information about careers in libraries. It serves as a starting point for anyone considering a library career.
So you want to become a librarian is a project of the Alliance Library System in Illinois. Their wiki includes information on becoming a librarian.
These resources provide a more detailed description of the school librarian's job:
- School Librarians: Sample Job Description. American Association of Librarians.
Toor, Ruth and Weisburg, Hilda K. (2015). New on the Job: A school librarian's guide to success. Chicago: American Library Association.
Coatney, Sharon. (2010). The Many Faces of School Library Leadership. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited.
Staino, Rocco and Berkowicz, Jill. (2011). Looking for a School Librarian: What are the Qualifications? School Library Monthly, 27 (5), 50-51.
Valenza, Joyce. Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians
The 21st Century School Librarian: Literacy in a New Era. April, 2011 blog post by new librarian Laura Lee Calverley.
School librarians are generally on a similar salary schedule as teachers. Salaries go up with years of experience and amount of education in most cases. When transferring from district to district, a school librarian may be given credit for some, but possibly not all years of prior experience based on the teacher contract in the district. Occasionally school librarians will have a slightly extended contract to finish administrative tasks outside of the school year, but this is not common.
Teacher salaries vary from district to district, but averages can be found at:
- National Center for Education Statistics - Digest of Education Statistics, Average base salary of full time teachers in public elementary and secondary schools through 2011-2012
National Education Association - Rankings & Estimates: Rankings of the States and Estimates of School Statistics lists average salary of public school teachers by state.
- Librarians. Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Mentoring or Job Shadowing Programs
Another way to learn about the job is to shadow a school librarian for a day. Contact your local schools or state professional organization to set up a visit. Once you are in a job, connecting with a mentor will help the new school librarian navigate through the challenges of a new career.
- Reforma, the National Association to Provide Libraries and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, provides a mentorship program to assist those providing services to Latinos.
What credential will I receive?
The School of Information Sciences created the Experimental School Library Media Specialist Program to allow students to complete course work that will lead to eligibility to apply for the Library Media (ND) Endorsement. Students who complete this program can receive the Graduate Certificate in Library and Information Science or continue taking courses to earn the Master of Library and Information Science degree.
What will I be able to do with this credential?
As outlined by the American Association of School Librarians
These pages have been developed to provide information to those interested in becoming school librarians. It provides information on the job itself, the job outlook, education and licensing across the U.S.,and job hunting.
What a school librarian does, salaries, job outlook, mentoring and job shadowing programs, as well as testimonials from working school librarians.
Information about certification, licensure and endorsement, and finding a library education program.
Where to find job postings and job hunting tips.
There are a number of transferrable skills and career opportunities students will have upon completing this credential.
- Leadership and Management
- Technoloy Integration
- Instructional Coaching
- Instructional Design
- Curiiculum Leadership
- Readng Promotion
- Collaborative Teaching
- Data curation
Self-advocacy remains one of the best tools for identifying and securing a school library position. This curriculum will equip students with tools to advocate for students' right to certified school librarians backed by ample evidence of the role school librarians have on student achievement. See MAME's advocacy toolkit: http://bit.ly/MAMEtoolkit.
Who is eligible to enroll for this certificate program?
This program is designed for educators who work in one of two participating school districts: Harper Woods and River Rouge, who have an interest in becoming school librarians. Candidates must have a valid Michigan teacher's certificate to be recommended for School Library Media endorsement by the School of Information Sciences.
Educators wo do not posses a valid teacher's certicate at the time of admission to this program must enroll in an alternative teacher education program within 90 days of being admitted.
Wayne State College of Education offers The Warrior Teacher Program, a 1-year alternative teacher certification program for educators who desire to teach full-time in select partner school districts in metro-Detroit.
See the promotional powerpoint presentation for more information
April 14, 2021 –final day to take and pass the MTTC
May 14, 2021 –WSU admission application deadline
June 30, 2021 –first day of classes at Wayne State
If I already have a master/s degree outside of library and information science (LIS), do I still qualify for this certificate?
Yes, candidates may have another master's degree outside of LIS so long as they also have a valid teacher's certificate in Michigan or enroll in an alternative teacher certification program within 90 days of admission to Project RUSL.
What are the admission requirements?
Students must meet the School of Information Sciences admission requirements and follow its admission process. In addition, they must possess a valid Michigan teacher's certificate or indicate within their personal statment that the intend to complete an alternative teacher certification program while completing the Experimental School Library Media Specialist Program via Project RUSL grant funds. Students should apply for the Master of Library and Information Science degree.
When can students enroll in this program?
Project RUSL is a three year grant program that begins admitting students as early as Februrary 2021. Below are important dates:
Admissions deadline- April 1, 2021
Kickoff workshop- June 23, 2021
Classes begin- June 30, 2021
The two required courses in the Experimental School Library Media Specialist program will be offered again in summer 2021 (INF 7310 & 7320) while the remaining three courses will be offered during the subsequent academic year.
What classes are required to complete the requirements?
The certificate program requires 15 total credit hours (plan of work). Students will complete the following required classes:
- INF 7310: School Library Media Programs (3 credits)
- INF 7320: The Media Specialist as Teacher and Instructional Consultant (3 credits)
- INF 7980: Practicum: SLM (3 credits)
Students will select ONE Literature course:
- INF 6520: Survey and Analysis of Literature for Youth (3 credits)
- INF 6530: Young Adult Literature (3 credits)
Students will select ONE Technology course
(Advanced technology courses require INF 6080 as a pre-requisite class. SIS strongly recommends that students pursue a course waiver for INF 6080 if they are eligible):
- TED 6020 Computer Apps in Education ( 3 credits)
- INF 7420: Website Development (3 credits)
- Other technical INF electives with permission of advisor (3 credits)
What are the course prerequisites?
INF 6080, Information Technology, is a required pre-requisite course for all SIS technology electives. The course is not included in the 15 credit hours required to earn the Experimental School Library Media Specialist Certificate. Students have the option of completing the course or they may request a waiver for INF 6080 in order to enroll in the required technology class. Students with strong technical skills are strongly encouraged to submit a waiver request.
Is there a certain time frame in which students must to complete their coursework?
Yes, all courses must be completed within 3 years from when a student finishes his/her first class.
Are current students able to pursue this experimental SLM program?
Yes, current students are eligible to enroll for this program. Current students will need to complete the Experimental School Library Media Endorsement Plan of Work.
Can I complete this program and finish the full Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree at a later time?
Yes, students can complete the required courses for endorsement and finish the MLIS later. After endorsement, students may continue taking courses to earn the MLIS degree or graduate with a Graduate Certificate in Library and Information Science. The MLIS degree must be completed within six years from the semester the student first completes a course.