Pre-kindergarten Students are coming, but can School Librarians serve them?

Examinations of Certifications and Standards in the United States


  • Maria Cahill
  • Denice Adkins



Early childhood, Certifications and Standards, Document analysis


Pre-Kindergarten students are present in public schools throughout the U.S., but it is unclear whether school librarians currently have the leeway and/or neccessary guidance to provide services to them. This paper uses a document analysis student (Bowen, 2009) to identify 1) whether school librarians across the US are certified to provide services to pre-K students and 2) whether standards provide guidance for how school librarians should be serving them. As our findings demonstrate, the issue of SL service to pre-K students in the US is murky and unbalanced. Only half the states certify school librarians to provide services and instruction for the grade level, and in only three states do they have both standards that explicitly address SL learning expectations for pre-K students and academic and/or early childhood standards that enable integration with other domains and facilitate collaboration with classroom teachers. Of particular concern is the lack of guidance provided to school librarians via standards in four states where they do have authority to serve pre-K students.