Read how these passionate and savvy educators support schools and students every day.

female librarian reading to a group of students

Without question, one of the most important members of the school community is the school librarian. Also known as library media specialists, librarians play a unique role in our schools. Often asked to take on a wide range of duties, these passionate and savvy educators deserve more than only a week of praise. And in case you need a reminder of all that librarians do for our students and our schools, we've put together a list -- but it's only a start.

1. Librarians know tech.

In many schools, the library media specialist is the go-to expert on all things tech. Don't know how to use that new projector? Looking for a great app for annotating texts? Can't figure out your new phone? Ask the librarian!

2. Librarians keep us honest.

In the age of fake news and viral video remixes, the library media specialist leads the charge on citation, copyright and fair use, research, and news literacy.

3. Librarians create "maker" hubs.

If you think the library is a quiet place meant only for research and studying, you clearly haven't been in a school library with a makerspace. These high-tech learning centers give kids a place to develop critical media-literacy and media-creation skills.

4. Librarians take risks.

With more freedom for experimentation and creativity than most classroom teachers, library media specialists incubate the classrooms of the future. School districts may move at a glacial pace, but just step into a school library to see what's on the horizon.

5. Librarians keep us grounded.

In a library, kids can stay connected to the past. Whether they're exploring books in the stacks or scrolling through pages of microfiche, kids learn about themselves and their communities by exploring history.

6. Librarians make it OK to be unique.

Sure, it may be a stereotype, but c'mon -- you know it's kind of true: After the art teachers, the librarians are the ones with the most unique styles, personalities, and interests. And because of this, all kinds of kids feel comfortable with the school librarian.

7. Librarians create safe spaces.

No matter a student's skills or interests, the library welcomes everyone. It's a safe space to hang out with friends after school or a quiet place to be alone and research sensitive topics.

8. Librarians teach kids 21st-century skills.

In a standards-driven world, librarians capture all those interest-based skills that kids need to be successful today and in the future. Kids go to the library to learn to code, write blogs, edit videos, and much more.

9. Librarians build citizenship and respect for institutions.

Do you remember how it felt when you discovered you could borrow any book on any topic from the library for free? Libraries give kids tangible evidence of the benefits of living in a democracy.

10. Librarians are champions of equity.

School libraries aren't just for the students anymore. Kids and their families can go to the library for access to resources they don't have at home, like the internet or translation services.

Erin Wilkey Oh

Erin’s work focused on supporting students, teachers, and families for over a decade. As content director for family and community engagement at Common Sense, she provided parents and caregivers with practical tips and strategies for managing media and tech at home, and supports teachers in strengthening partnerships with families. Prior to her work with Common Sense, Erin taught public high school students and adult English learners in Kansas City. Her time as a National Writing Project teacher consultant nurtured her passion for student digital creation and media literacy. She has bachelor's degrees in English and secondary education and a master's degree in instructional design and technology. Erin loves to knit, read, hike, and bake. But who has time for hobbies with two young kids? In her free time these days, you'll find her hanging out at playgrounds, the zoo, and the beach with her family.