Library Scheduling

Fixed versus Flexible Scheduling: Positives and Negatives

Fixed Scheduling


  • Every student is guaranteed a time in the library for information skills lessons and book check out.
  • Teachers are released to use this time for prepping lessons.


  • The library is utilized as a "special" to cover teacher planning time rather than as an educational partner with teachers so no unit collaboration is happening.
  • The ability to fulfill all the roles of librarian are virtually impossible so only a few are chosen.
  • The librarian is utilized to cover a duty different from managing the library during the day which then does not allow for access to library resources by parents, students, and staff.
  • No communication regarding instruction between the librarian or the classroom teacher so that library skills instruction is disconnected from what is going on in the classroom and taught in isolation.
  • The library is used only during the scheduled time period and there is no additional time for projects as they are too time consuming so students miss out on educational programming.
  • Classes are scheduled into the library by the principal/assistant principal and not the teacher and librarian.

Flexible Scheduling


  • The library has a clearly articulated and mandated curriculum and standards which layers with classroom instruction to be taught by a certified teacher librarian.
  • Students can utilize the library multiple times throughout the day including before and after school for circulation and instruction because the teacher librarian is IN the library.
  • Opportunity to attend planning sessions with teams of teachers making communication easier regarding the various instructional resources available for use and establishing a professional relationship with teachers outside of the library environs.
  • Time is provided to collaboratively plan so the teacher and teacher librarian can integrate skills that will support teacher classroom instruction and student skill learning.
  • Co-teaching, team-teaching, and collaboration with teachers is increased due to the teacher librarian's familiarity with curriculum and available library resources as well as being recognized as a teaching professional.
  • Learning is more engaging due to teacher collaborations.
  • A vibrant learning community which encourages inquiry based learning and reinforces information seeking skills is permitted to thrive.
  • The library schedule is created by both the teacher librarian and the teachers
  • There is a direct correlation between the instructional role of the teacher librarian, school library funding, and student achievement.


  • This model is often more demanding on a teacher librarian's time.
  • Some teachers may opt not to come to the library for library skills instruction or book check out since it is not scheduled.
  • Guidelines for student independent study in the library needs to be established and communicated to all staff.


Clearly, AASL supports flexible scheduling which is the direction that I would like to go in with our school community. Your support in this endeavor wouid be greatly appreciated. I have shared additional resources below that you may peruse at your leisure in continued support of flexible scheduling.

Additional Resources:

Association of School Librarians Position Statement on Flexible Scheduling at

MacGregor, J. (2006). Flexible Scheduling : Implementing an Innovation. School Library Media Research. Retrieved from