The School of Information will offer a new certificate program this month to help students become more skilled and qualified librarians.
Program coordinator Barbara Jansen said school librarians must meet certain requirements to be in Texas public schools, including the completion of an educator certification program such as the one which will be offered at the University. Jansen said applications for its inaugural summer semester are currently available.
Students looking to earn the certificate must complete 15 hours, which they will spend studying how to instruct students and improve libraries. The certificate requirements involve 12 hours of courses, and the last three credit hours involve 160 hours of work in school libraries, said Jansen, adjunct assistant professor in the School of Information.
Eric Meyer, dean of the School of Information, said he helped create the program, which he said will give students the tools to turn libraries into innovation hubs.
“I talked with a lot of school librarians around the state and found there was a huge demand for people in these roles,” Meyer said. “There are not nearly as many produced as there are jobs available. The best school libraries are meeting spaces, and the best school librarians are people who are the innovators in their schools.”
Jansen said two of the four required courses already exist and will be revised. The course School Library Management will now be taught in two semesters instead of one, and Materials for Children and Young Adults will focus on choosing the best print and digital materials to fulfill students’ personal and academic needs, Jansen said.
“I want (students) to be able to provide professional development to teachers on information skills that their students need,” Jansen said. “I want them to be able to teach digital citizenship skills and digital literacy skills as well as information skills — all the array of information skills that will be needed.”
Chloe Liddiard, an applied learning and development junior, said she had Jansen as an instructor. She said Jansen is a dedicated educator and will do well with the program.
“She was always very passionate about readings and books and always emphasized that and the importance of it for children,” Liddiard said. “I have seen from a lot of people that librarians can make a huge impact on children and their education … offering (the certificate) to add to your degree — that would be a positive.”