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School Library Studies

Teacher librarian news

Michelle Kruse in her school libraryA flurry of new books
When Roosevelt middle school students in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, returned to school this fall, they found their desires for new library books were heard. Thanks to an award from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Inspire Grant, teacher librarian Michelle Kruse (M.A. 2015) is purchasing more books and eliminating some hold lists. Last year, graphic novels and non-fiction books about countries were in high demand, especially with English Language Learners (ELL). “When students wanted books on their home countries, I sent them to the Internet,” Kruse said.  “But students often don’t have good internet access at home.  They really want books.”


Boy with headphonesA listening pleasure
Students are passionate about audiobooks at St. Francis of Assisi School in West Des Moines, and they love to share this joy with others.  According to their teacher librarian Kerry LeWarne (M.A. 2016), they often come to her and say, “Mrs. LeWarne, listen to this!”  She has found that audiobooks benefit all students at her K-8 school.  Eager readers use audiobooks to immerse themselves in favorite story tellers or to attempt more challenging texts. Reluctant readers are saying, “I finally get it!” after listening to a recording and following along with a printed copy.

More news about teacher librarians

Program details

Middle school girl posing near library shelves with caption: Become a teacher librarian

The School Library Studies M.A. Program

Next cohort tentatively scheduled for Fall 2018.

The online School Library Studies Master of Arts program develops K-12 teacher librarians who enact the vision for school library programs in Iowa:

Iowa’s best schools have library programs that engage the entire school community to elevate the learning experience for all.  Teacher librarians are strategically positioned to:

  • teach students to think independently to construct new understanding and insights from varied information sources

  • lead and embrace the integration of technology to enhance learning

  • connect communities of learners in virtual and physical spaces

  • collaborate with stakeholders to design and enact rigorous learning experiences

  • maximize access to quality print and digital resources

  • champion and support the reading lives of students

  • nurture curiosity to develop in students a passion for learning for life

Program outcomesLibrarian helping student with laptop

Graduates most frequently work in schools as teacher librarians. Teacher librarians teach technology and literacy and lead schoolwide learning through co-planning, co-teaching and providing print and digital resources to students and teachers.  School librarianship has continued to be a specialty among the "teacher shortage areas" in Iowa (Iowa Department of Education).

Many graduates take on roles as teacher leaders, technology integrationists, instructional coaches or curriculum directors. Some choose to apply their new skills as classroom teachers, helping both their students and colleagues enhance their literacy and technology skills.


Excellence in education

Students take online classes in library resources, library and instructional technologies, library curriculum and administration, and complete a practicum experience and a master's research paper. Courses are aligned with the ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians and the requirements for a K-12 endorsement as teacher librarian from the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.

Among class activities are these learning experiences:

  • Evaluate fiction, non-fiction, and electronic resources for enhancing literacy and learning
  • Examine the principles and beliefs that underpin the library profession
  • Develop policy that guides decision-making in the school library
  • Design curriculum and teaching units for 21st century critical literacy
  • Evaluate information and instructional technologies to be integrated into the context of learning
  • Apply learning in directed practicum experiences in both elementary and secondary schools

Online instruction

The School Library Studies program is delivered online.  Many courses meet once per week in the evening via interactive video conferencing. Students become members of a cohort, joining an ongoing network of supportive colleagues throughout Iowa and beyond.  One in-person, hands-on Saturday class session is held on the UNI campus during the first fall semester. Learn more about our distance offering and express your interest to receive program updates by visiting Continuing Education.  Additional details about the program, application process, and scholarships are available on the School Library Studies Admissions page.

Excellence in class and faculty resources

The UNI's Rod Library offers the services of a distance learners staff to provide consultation and resources online. Students have access to a wide variety of print sources and online databases.

School Library Studies faculty members are participating members of national and state professional organizations and make substantial contributions to the scholarship of the profession.

Meet our students and alumni

Denise ShekletonShannon MillerJoanna FrekingBob GilbertsonStefanie Kaylor