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School Library Services FAQ

Is my elementary school required to have a certified school librarian (library media specialist)?

No, §91.2 of the Commissioner’s Regulations only requires a certified school librarian in secondary schools (grades 7-12). The research, however, conclusively demonstrates that the presence of a certified school librarian has a strong, positive impact on the student learning and achievement. So a school librarian would be recommended at all levels, even if it is not legally required.

My high school is very small. Can we share a librarian with our middle school?

It would depend on the number of students in grades 7-12. §91.2 lists the number of periods a day that is required for school library service for schools of different sizes. Part-time daily service is permissible in schools under 700 students. Please see the regulation for the exact number of periods a day required for your school.

Is my school required to have a library used by students and teachers?

Yes, §91.1 of the Commissioner’s Regulations requires: “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.”

Are charter schools required to have a certified school librarian?

No, they are not required.

Where do I find out more about Library Materials Aid?

Please go to the Library Materials Aid FAQ for more information.

Which grades are required to have library skills instruction?

Part 100.4 (c) of the Commissioner’s Regulations requires that students in grades seven and eight be provided with the instruction, the equivalent of one period per week, in “library and information skills.”  Research shows that these lessons are most effective when integrated with classroom objectives and achieved through cooperative planning by the school librarian and the classroom teacher.

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

No, the school may not withhold student grade reports.  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.

How do I get information about Library Media Specialist certification?

Certification is the responsibility of the Office of Teaching Initiatives (OTI) within NYSED's Office of Higher Education (OHE). Most answers to certification questions can be found on the OHE web site.  Questions regarding an individual’s credentials must go through the application process.

For more information, please contact