Educational Design and Technology

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education on School Library Media Centers and School Library Media Specialists?

The Regulations of the Commissioner of Education on these topics can be found at:

These pages can also be viewed at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/EducationLawandRegulations.html

Are all New York State public schools required to have a library media program?

Yes. “A school library shall be established and maintained in each school. The library in each elementary and secondary school shall meet the needs of the pupils, and shall provide an adequate complement to the instructional program in the various areas of the curriculum.”

Which grades are required to have library skills instruction?

Grades seven and eight are required to have the equivalent of one period a week of instruction in “library and information skills.” Part 100.4 (c). Research shows that these lessons are most effective when integrated with classroom objectives and achieved through cooperative planning by the Library Media Specialist and the academic classroom teacher.

When is a school library media program required in summer school?

The Handbook for Summer School Administrators and Principals states that “all summer schools offering any course other than driver and traffic safety education are required to provide library services in accordance with Part 91 of the Commissioner’s regulations. Part 91 requires a library in each school that meets the needs of the students and provides an adequate complement to the instructional program. A certified School Library Media Specialist must be employed in secondary schools (grade 7-12).” Because a summer school program run by a school district is considered the summer session of a public school (Education Law §3602(1)(g); 8 NYCRR §§110 .1 and 110.2) and Part 91 of the Commissioner’s regulations contains no exception for summer schools, the requirement to employ a school library media specialist applies to summer programs in public secondary schools.

Can a school withhold student grade reports for overdue school library books or school library fines?

It has long been the position of the New York State Education Department that a public school may not withhold grades, a transcript, or books from a student for any reason. A student is entitled to those items as part of a free public education guaranteed pursuant to Education Law 3202. If a student or parent owes the district money, the district may resort to civil proceedings to recover the money, but may not withhold records or books to compel payment.

Since there is a contractual relationship between a family and a nonpublic school, nonpublic schools may refuse to provide cards or transcripts to a student whose family has not fulfilled their obligation to pay all tuition and fees.

Where do I get answers about Library Media Specialist certification?

Certification is the function of the Office of Teaching Initiatives (OTI), part of the Office of Higher Education (OHE), NYSED. Most answers to certification issues can be answered from their extensive Website at http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/ . Questions regarding an individual’s credentials must go through the application process. The EMSC Curriculum, Instruction, and Instructional Technology (CI&IT) Associates can answer general questions and direct candidates to information in specific certification areas. For School Library Media Specialist programs, contact: John Brock at John.Brock@nysed.gov or Joanne Shawhan at Joanne.Shawhan@nysed.gov.

Who do I contact at the NYSED for more information about School Library Services?

Joanne Parnes Shawhan, Associate in School Library Services Joanne.Shawhan@nysed.gov 

John P. Brock, Associate in School Library Services John.Brock@nysed.gov 

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Last Updated: October 29, 2014