Teacher librarian news
A new space for books and music
On Nov. 26, district librarian Jennifer Cole (M.A. 2013) welcomed high school students to their remodeled library at Fort Dodge High School with coffee and donuts and a Skype chat with Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give. Cole said, “There were a few who said her book was the first they read cover to cover.” The new library includes expanded shelving and more books (as the students requested) as well as collaborative technology tools and a makerspace. Vinyl records can also be found in the library and are used in part to promote books. (See the display at left linking a Pearl Jam song to books about domestic violence.) Learn about more about Fort Dodge school libraries on Facebook.
Talking tech and literacy
Three graduates of the School Library Studies M.A. program shared their expertise with first-year graduate students on Nov. 3 as part of a teacher librarian panel. Lisa Newgard (left), teacher librarian at Orchard Hill Elementary School in Cedar Falls, recently directed a renovation of her school library. Tina Ristau (middle) is a teacher librarian in Waterloo, formerly at Irving Elementary School and now working with middle school students at George Washington Carver Academy. Julie Courter (right) is the K-12 teacher librarian for the Tipton Community School District.
The School Library Studies M.A. program
Next cohort planned for Fall 2019
The online School Library Studies program prepares teachers to be K-12 teacher librarians. Teacher librarians develop strong readers and discerning digital citizens throughout the school.
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 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 students enhance their literacy and technology skills.
The School Library Studies program is delivered online and is designed for the convenience of full-time teachers. Many courses meet for an hour once per week in the evening through online video conferencing. Only one in-person, on campus class session is required, and it is held on a Saturday during the first fall semester. UNI's Continuing Education provides technical support to students in this online program.
Although courses are taught at a distance, students work closely with faculty and members of their cohort group. They gain an ongoing network of supportive colleagues throughout Iowa and beyond.
A K-12 connection is infused throughout the curriculum. All courses teach literacy and technology skills which students can apply right away in their classrooms and libraries. As one student stated, "I have learned so much that has made me a better English teacher."
The program includes embedded practice in local school libraries. Professors connect each student with two mentor teacher librarians in their area who welcome them into brief school practicum visits.
Students are mentored and taught by faculty with K-12 teaching experience and advanced degrees in education and librarianship. The faculty conduct ongoing research on school library programs--sometimes in conjunction with graduate students--and have frequent participation and engagement in Iowa’s K-12 schools.
The School Library Studies graduate program works well for both: 1) teachers who are seeking teacher librarian endorsement only, and 2) teachers who want to earn an M.A. degree as well as a K-12 teacher librarian endorsement. The curriculum meets requirements for state of Iowa endorsement. Out-of-state students should inquire with their Department of Education regarding specific state requirements.
Details about the program, application process, endorsements, and scholarships are available on the School Library Studies Admissions page. Learn more about our distance offering and express your interest in receiving program updates by visiting Continuing Education.