by Jessica Jervis-Viville

Last year, the University of West Georgia’s Dr. Phyllis Snipes led a committee who dedicated their efforts to creating the School Librarian Effectiveness Instrument (SLEI), a powerful tool for school library media evaluation and advocacy for media specialists. In recognition of her leadership and outstanding service to the library media profession, the Georgia Library Media Association (GLMA) recently awarded her the William E. Patterson Award.

Dr. Phyllis Snipes For 30 years, Dr. Phyllis Snipes has dedicated her career to improving the profession.

“I would have never expected this kind of recognition,” said Snipes, professor of school library media in the UWG College of Education. “I’m humbled. I feel like I’m not the only one who deserved this award.”

The purpose of the SLEI is to help Georgia public schools achieve their goals and objectives. The tool will increase the quality of student learning and ensure there is a standard in the media specialist field. It also will provide a way for media specialists to work with school administrators to evaluate the school library system. Snipes, among other members of GLMA, felt like this tool could innovate the way media specialists operate, and they worked hard to bring it into fruition.

“There is ever-changing technology in the public school system, and it puts media specialists in a tough position,” explained Snipes. “We wanted to find a way to integrate that technology into the school media system and provide media specialists with an evaluation tool.”

The instrument also encourages a partnership between instructors and media specialists. Snipes said she believes this partnership is crucial in order for students to successful.

“It’s imperative,” exclaimed Snipes. “A media specialist brings a new dimension to instruction.”

The media specialist field is constantly changing, and Snipes took a moment to reflect on her own career. She offered some advice for future media specialists.

“Make the library a positive environment,” advised Snipes. “Make it a place where people want to come. Most people don’t fully understand the impact a good media specialist can have. I think I spend more time counseling students than teaching them. That’s the kind of relationship you want to have with students.”

Posted on October 30, 2017