Cooperating LMS

Here are the basics of the UW-Whitewater library media practicum experience for cooperating librarians:

Goals and Benefits of the Practicum

The purpose of the library media practicum is to help student apply their university coursework to real-world practice to see how it all functions in the schools with teacher and students. To do this, we want to develop relationships between exemplary practicing professionals and the library media program in preparing these new librarians for their first job.

Student benefits

School Libraries

The practicum experiences are the culminating activity for 1902  library media licensure that allows student to practice their skills in a real world setting and reflect on the experience. Students are required to have completed their student teaching as well as having completed, or being in the final stage of completing, their library media coursework. Students complete two practicum experiences at different levels. The elementary level can be in an elementary or middle school, and the secondary one in either middle or high school.  The choice is up to the student, but only one may be at the middle school level.   For undergraduate minors, each practicum experiences is 100 hours long.  This is 13-14 days, assuming a full day to be eight hours.  It may be done in a variety of configurations upon approval of the practicum coordinator.   For practicing teachers and librarians on emergency license, there is an alternative practicum that requires only five consecutive days in each of two sites. 

Overall objectives are articulated in the practicum checklist distributed to the cooperating librarian and his/her student at the start of the practicum. These objectives are based on the roles of a library media specialist defined in Empowering Learners (AASL, 2009): information specialist, instructional partner, teacher, and program administrator and the five competency areas defined by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.  The UWW library media program requires a set of competencies based on the content competencies defined by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in PI 34  and those approved by AASL and NCATE in the fall of 2010, the AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians.   All assessment points in the program are based on these competencies including the pre-practicum (course) portfolio review and the final portfolio review at the end of the practicum experiences.   These competencies, grouped by the five categories set up by DPI, will be reflected in the practicum portfolio created by each student.

Public Libraries

The public library practicum is 150-hours and is the culmination of the Grade II Certification for a public library administrator in Wisconsin.The goals of this practicum are to:

  • Understand public library structure, working with the library board, applicable state and federal laws and policies;
  • Review development of a public library budget, financial procedures, record keeping, and funding sources;
  • Conduct a collection and needs assessment and develop a set of suggested resources and webpage / site for a particular need;
  • Examine needs of various populations potentially served by the library (e.g., youth, elderly, diverse population) and develop a library program to meet the needs of one group;
  • Use the new skills and knowledge you have acquired in the coursework
  • Further develop knowledge and skills in those areas of weaknesses;
  • Examine a real-world library program and reflect on the experience;
  • Develop a relationship with a practitioner; and
  • Further develop one's philosophy of librarianship.

Each practicum student must develop, in coordination with the practicum coordinator and cooperating librarian, a series of professional projects to further develop specific competencies acquired during coursework.  Focus should be on areas of further professional development, or on areas of deficiency identified in discussion with the practicum coordinato.  These projects should be in the areas of:

  • Library administration, policies, structure and laws
  • Budgeting, financial management, and resource sharing
  • Collection development and management
  • Community needs assessment, programming, and marketing
  • Other (as determined from portfolio)

Cooperating Librarian Benefits

The cooperating LMS will work with the student and university supervisor to provide experiences for the student that actively promote:

  • The development of a philosophy of librarianship that is sound, workable, evolving, articulated, democratic, and reflected in practice;
  • The development and application of management and instructional techniques, methods, and strategies that reflect the findings of research and the wisdom of practice;
  • The development of professional reflection, interests, attitudes, ideals, and accomplishments; and
  • School:An understanding of the school as a learning community, the library media center as an integral part of this learning community, and the community as a part of the larger community, the state, the nation, and the world.
  • Public:  An understanding of the many roles the public library can serve in the community.

At the same time, the school or library site will benefit by having an additional trained pre-service professional contributing to the library's program and bringing ideas from coursework and personal experiences. Many cooperating librarians say they enjoy the opportunity to discuss professional issues with a pre-service student and see their program through another's eyes. Others describe their personal satisfaction in helping to train the generations of librarians.

University Benefits

The university strives to keep abreast of the most recent developments in school and public libraries and tie its program to the real world. The practicum experiences provide both information on what is really happening in the schools as well as provide feedback on how well the program's coursework is meeting the needs of the school and public libraries. The cooperating librarians provide a value service by evaluating the students' preparedness which feeds back to program improvement. The students provide feedback through their logs and performance on their practicum projects.



Instructions for students setting up the practicum are found on the practicum requirements webpage. Detailed instructions on developing the practicum agreement are also provided for students. Most of this work should be done before the student begins the practicum.


While the majority of the practicum experience should take place within the designated library setting, the cooperating librarian should feel free to have the student visit other schools in the district for an overview of the entire program. He/she should also feel free to expect the student to attend meetings or other professional activities as part of the experience.  One day of a professional conference could be considered part of the 100-hour practicum experience. For current teachers or emergency-licensed librarians, conference attendance should be outside the 5-day experience.

Many structures have been used to accommodate student and librarian schedules and needs, but the most satisfactory has generally been three consecutive weeks during the school year. One hundred hours can be covered in 13-15 days, depending on the length of day. If the student is a practicing teacher or LMS on emergency license, the five-consecutive-day experience should be set in advance. Any other structure must have the prior approval of both the cooperating librarian and the university supervisor.  No more than one to one and a half hours of the day should be after-school time.  A student may not do a practicum entirely after school.

Each segment of the school year has something to offer the students, but we strongly prefer that the experience not include either the first or last week of school. Students unable to schedule a practicum during the school year have the possibility of doing one over the summer, but these placements are hard to come by and generally less satisfactory as there is often less use of the library by students and teachers.


The cooperating LMS and the students should determine the hours the student is expected to be in the building and who to notify if he / she will be absent. He or she should also notify the university supervisor if planning to be absent. Any time absent must be made up, including snow days. The student is required to keep a log of the hours worked and what was done during each day of the practicum.


Communication and Expectations

Students should be provided with increasing levels of responsibility to the point of being in charge of an activity or activities. It is at the discretion of the cooperating LMS as to the speed of this transition based on professional judgment of the student's knowledge and skills. If the cooperating LMS anticipates an extended absence on his/her part, the university supervisor should be notified. The practicum student should not be asked or required to function as a substitute teacher or librarian in the absence of the cooperating LMS or any other teacher in the school. The practicum student may continue with regularly assigned duties in the absence of the cooperating LMS when a fully qualified substitute teacher is present.


  • Set up practicum placement: contacting a faculty member for site suggestions, making the initial contact at the school and obtaining the necessary signatures, getting the dates approved, submitting the completed paperwork for for formal application to the school to the Office of Field Experiences, registering for the appropriate course, and completing the Graduate School application form if necessary

  • Work with the practicum coordinator and the cooperating librarian to develop practicum projects before the practicum begins. Share draft with the practicum coordinator and cooperating library media specialist for feedback. This must be approved before starting in the school.

  • Get access to the following documents are recommended as resource texts for the practicum. Most can be found at the practicum site.
    • Empowering Learners. AASL, 2009.
    • Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Information and Technology Literacy. Wisconsin DPI, 1998.
    • Standards for the 21st Century Learner.  AASL
    • National Educational Technology Standards for Students.  ISTE.
    • Information & Technology Literacy: A Collaborative Planning Guide for Library Media and Technology. Wisconsin DPI, 2002.
  • Work with cooperating library media specialist to plan activities. Take initiative to seek out a variety of activities and/or discussions based on the checklist (see school or public library checklist for activities) and the needs of the school.
  • Keep track of activities on the checklist ( school or public library ) for inclusion in the portfolio.
  • Notify the university supervisor of optimal times to visit. Especially note times the student will be working with students or teaching. This should be done as early in the placement as possible. At least one visit should be during a time the practicum student is working with students either in a class, small group, or individual setting. There should be some time that both the librarian and student are available for discussion.
  • Submit a log of activities approximately every 25 hours to the university supervisor. This should be done via email.
  • Conference with the university supervisor and/or cooperating LMS during observations.
  • Request a conference with the cooperating librarian to discuss questions or issues as needed. Seek feedback from cooperating LMS on projects and other activities.
  • Reflect on activities and observations.
  • Attend meetings as appropriate.
  • Treat staff and students equitability regardless of race, color, gender, creed, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, political affiliation, or parental status.
  • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of students and staff.
  • Implement practicum projects. Some work on these projects may have to be done outside of scheduled time in the schools. Document results and include with reflections in the final electronic portfolio.

Cooperating librarian

  • Orient the student to the library and the school.
  • Delineate professional expectations for the experience (e.g., planning documents required, schedule, school policies)
  • Assist and advise the practicum student in planning, serving first as a model, then as a guide, and finally allowing independent planning by the student.
  • Act as a sounding board for the student.
  • Arrange a variety of professional experiences for the student (see school or public library checklist for recommended activities). We do not expect each experience will include all the activities on the checklist, but we would like the cooperating librarian to at least discuss briefly with the practicum student how each of them is handled.
  • Encourage independent planning and action in the student.
  • Act as a resource person for the student.
  • Discuss library policies and procedures with the student.
  • Observe the work of the practicum student and provide opportunities for the student to observe the librarian in action.
  • Provide oral and or written suggestions to the practicum student.
  • Provide opportunities for self-evaluation as well as observation .
  • Meet periodically with the university supervisor and/or the student to provide feedback.
  • Give input to university supervisor on final grade for the experience.
  • Complete the practicum evaluation form and write a letter of reference to be sent to the Office of Field Experiences with a copy to the university supervisor.
  • Report problems to the university supervisor in a timely fashion.

University supervisor

  • Provide a communication link between university and the cooperating librarian, clarifying the goals and procedures for the practicum and transmitting suggestions from the cooperating librarians to appropriate university personnel.
  • Orient new cooperating librarians to their roles.
  • Make a minimum of two visits of at least one hour in length to observe the practicum student and discuss progress. The practicum student will be responsible for setting up these meetings with the university supervisor at least a week in advance. The supervisor will discuss the student's progress with the cooperating librarian and the student at each of these meetings.
  • Confer with practicum student and / or cooperating librarian (three-way or two-way conferences).
  • Act as a sounding board for the student.
  • Mediate between the students and cooperating librarian if conflict arises.
  • Assist in problem solving as necessary.
  • Assist the student to place into perspective the circumstances and events observed.
  • Discuss with practicum student the logs, projects, and other experiences.
  • Complete observation report, signed by student, for each visit.
  • Track the progress of the student, providing feedback.
  • Complete written statement of reference to be submitted to Office of Field Experiences and sent to student (Student must complete FERPA Release of Educational Records form to use this for a job reference).
  • Determine final grade for practicum (Satisfactory or Fail) in consultation with cooperating librarian.
  • Turn over practicum portfolio or link to practicum coordinator.
  • Inform practicum coordinator and Director of Field Experiences regarding special situations that may arise and areas of concern.

Practicum coordinator

  • Coordinates the setting up of practicum placements the semester before the experience based on knowledge of school library programs and prospective cooperating librarians
  • Organizes the workshop course on supervision for prospective cooperating librarians
  • Approves practicum agreements
  • Works cooperatively with the university supervisor in any problem situation which may develop
  • Coordinates assigning the final grade for the practicum
  • Provides communication between the Office of Field Experiences and the university supervisors

Communication channels

Most university supervisors prefer email communication, but feel free to phone if there is an urgent problem. Phone numbers and email addresses are found on the introduction page of this course.

Professional liability coverage

Professional liability coverage is provided by the State of Wisconsin under provisions of S.S. 165.22(6) and 895.46(1). This coverage protects student teachers  / practicum students against claims from third parties for personal injury or property damage caused by negligent acts while performing within the scope of duties in a student teaching assignment.


Occasionally a student has problems either in performance or in personal issues in a placement. Bring any difficulties to the attention to the university supervisor as soon as possible. You should first try to resolve the issues locally, but the university supervisor may feel it is necessary to intervene.

If the student, cooperating library media specialist, and university supervisor have explored and implemented all appropriate courses of action without success, it may be necessary to institute a withdrawal from the placement. This is a serous action and should be undertaken only if other remedies don't work. The withdrawal may be without prejudice, probationary or terminal as determined by the university supervisor and practicum coordinator. The policies and procedures are explained in the Office of Field Experience Handbook.



In addition to the projects in the practicum agreement, the student should be participating in all the daily activities of a library and learning as much as possible about its policies and procedures. The following should become part of the student's practicum portfolio.


You can download either the school or public library checklist, based on the experience you are in or use the copy sent with the evaluation materials from the university. The student will not be able to do every one of these in every experience, but you should try to at least discuss most of them in both experiences. We will have him / her do as many as possible across the two experiences. The student is responsible for tracking what was have done on this checklist and include this in his / her portfolio.


The student should keep track of the hours keep during the practicum as well as what was done. This should both describe the activities and reflect and insights or questions about the observations and activities. It should be submitted via email to the university supervisor approximately every 25 hours. The logs should become part of the practicum portfolio.

Practicum Agreement Projects

A description of the practicum projects, artifacts from the projects, data on how well they succeeded and a reflection on each should be completed by the end of the experience by the student. This may include lesson plans, web pages, documents, photos, etc. Evidence of success may include teacher or library media specialist surveys, written observations or comments (paraphrasing is fine here), test scores with summarization, sample student products with rubrics showing achievement of skills taught, etc. To convert some artifacts to electronic format, the student may need to scan them and save as .gif, .jpg, or .pdf files.

Reflection on the Experience

At the end of each practicum experience, the student should do a BRIEF reflection on how this experience allowed him / her to increase his/her knowledge and/or skills as well as where he / she feels there are strengths and weaknesses are in the five categories which cover all eight of the program's courses:

  • Access (Reference)
  • Collection Management and Use (Building Library Media Collections, Cataloging and Classification)
  • Instructional Leadership (Developing Library Media Skills, Children's Literature, Young Adult Literature)
  • Technology (Instructional Technology)
  • Administration (Library Media Center Administration)

At the end of both experiences, the school library student should answer these questions and include them in the portfolio:

  • How do you see yourself as a library information specialist benefiting students and teachers?
  • How have you demonstrated forward thinking in your work with children and colleagues?
  • How you have helped facilitate curiosity and learning beyond the curriculum?
  • Out of what you have learned in this program, what new things have you done for individual children in your classroom, outside your classroom or in your library?



Observing Teaching

During the practicum experience, the cooperating librarian should have at least one experience observing the student teaching a group or working with students or public library users. It is generally best to have the student create some type of lesson plan before the lesson, so you can provide initial feedback. Consider the following areas in evaluating a lesson:

Planning and preparation

  • Objectives clearly stated, match needs defined by teacher, and are aligned with state standards
  • Lesson fits with teacher's stated needs
  • Lesson content and activities take into account student differences in prior knowledge of content and information seeking, motivation, and learning preferences
  • Content covered is accurate, covers the main points of the skill, and adequate for student needs
  • Activities clearly tied to objectives, motivating, and well implemented
  • Technology is integrated as appropriate
  • Organization of content clear and aligned to needs of the project
  • Materials handed out or used during lesson are well organized, appropriate to the skill being taught and level of student knowledge, and appealing
  • Grouping strategies fit with activities

Implementation and interaction

  • Implementation of lesson with students clearly covers lesson plan, but is adapted as necessary based on observed student needs and interests
  • Strategies for getting and maintaining student attention are included
  • Student questions are clearly answered
  • Students given adequate time to practice skills with feedback
  • Students are on task throughout the lesson, strategies effectively used to motivate those who appear inattentive
  • Classroom environment is conducive to learning: expectations set, behavior monitored, appropriate behaviors reinforced and inappropriate ones remedied

Student evaluation

  • Feedback provided to students
  • Techniques for determining student proficiency are realistic
  • Performance of all students is assessed (formally or informally)
  • Assessment of student learning tied to objectives


  • Student can self-assess what worked and what did not with potential improvements
  • Student can tie actions to learning theory

Cooperating Library Media Specialist Evaluation

The cooperating LMS evaluation form is aligned with our program competencies and activities on the checklist. Instructions for completing the evaluation form and written statement of reference are included at the end of the form. The cooperating LMS can simply type this statement onto school letterhead, sign it, and return it with the evaluation form in the enclosed envelope.

Circle the number that most closely corresponds to your opinion on each of the following indicators.   These are overarching categories of competencies.   You may not observe every aspect of a competency in every practicum experience, so you may be giving an overall assessment of the dispositions, skills and knowledge rather than achievement on one specific aspect of a category.   If there are any specific points under each indicator where you feel the student needs work, please note those by commenting in the appropriate area.    If a particular indicator was not observed at all, select "undocumented". All students are expected to reach at least proficient level on all areas to pass the practicum. Please inform the university supervisor immediately if you feel a student will not reach this level on any area.




Minimal (Unacceptable)


Basic (Unacceptable)


Proficient (Acceptable)




No evidence or undocumented demonstration of competence; not applicable or not observed

Inability to meet expectation level or limited or inconsistent demonstration of competence; substantive competencies not demonstrated

Somewhat limited or inconsistent performance of one or more competencies; emerging toward level expected

Complete demonstration at level expected for person entering the field

Complete and outstanding fulfillment of all competencies; exceeds target expectations for those entering the field

Relevant points on the evaluation form should be used to to discuss personal and professional qualities with the practicum student and, at the last visit, with the university supervisor. The supervisor will discuss this form at the first visit. We would appreciate if you could complete them and return them to the Office of Field Experiences with a copy to the university supervisor by three weeks after the practicum is over, but no later than the last week of the semester before finals if possible. If this will not work for you, please inform the university supervisor immediately. The cooperating library media specialist should mail this form along with the Written Statement of Reference to the Office of Field Experiences, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI, 53190, along with sending a copy to the university supervisor.

Written Statement of Reference

The cooperating library media specialist's written statement of reference is perhaps the most important document related to the practicum student's experience, especially for many school and district personnel.   To provide the prospective employer with a useful document, the statement should include specific examples for general comments whenever possible.   Feel free to consult with the university supervisor as you prepare your statement. Your participation in library media specialist preparation is indispensable.   Your acceptance of the responsibilities involved in this and your expenditure of time and energy in working with a practicum student testify to your commitment to the profession.  

In composing your statement, you are encouraged to review the final evaluation form, noting especially areas of strength, weakness, and improvement.   In organizing your statement, it is recommended that you include sections:


Describe the nature of this placement, including description of the school, classes served, and students.  

Professionalism, dispositions, personal abilities

Describe the student's personal qualities you observed that will impact their suitability to be a school library media specialist.  

Knowledge and skills

Include information reflecting the categories of competencies included on the evaluation form, providing specific examples whenever possible to support generalized statements.

Potential as a library media specialist

Indicate whether or not you can recommend the practicum student as a viable candidate for a position.   The statement should indicate the intensity of your recommendations (e.g., recommend, strongly recommend, very strongly recommend; adequate, fine, good, excellent, outstanding candidate).   If appropriate you may want to include the level of position for which you are recommending this person (e.g., elementary, middle school, high school).   You may want to indicate if you believe the success or effectiveness of the student as a beginning library media specialist will be enhanced by beginning teacher induction or mentoring.

Students have access to their letters of reference at the Office of Field Experiences. It is recommended that you provide the student with a print copy of this letter on school letterhead. The university supervisor will do a similar statement of reference based on observations, the student's log, and the practicum portfolio.


Each practicum will be assigned a pass / fail grade by the university supervisor in consultation with the cooperating library media specialist. Several factors go into determining this grade:

  • Cooperating library media specialist evaluation and letter of reference
  • University supervisor observations and letter of reference
  • Portfolio review by the university supervisor

The portfolio for each experience should include:

  • A copy of the approved practicum agreement: In addition , the university supervisor should mail or email this form with ratings and comments to the practicum coordinator 
  • The Written Statement of Reference from the cooperating librarian
  • The log documenting achievement of minimum clock hour requirements with reflections and activities
  • The completed checklist
  • All projects from the practicum agreement along with a reflection on the competencies achieved
  • A final self-assessment reflection on competencies and checklist activities
  • Answers to the practicum questions

The portfolio submitted for licensure at the end of the two experiences should include these pieces for both experiences.


The Office of Career Services follows a "self-credentialing" policy. This means the office does not collect, store or disseminate statements of reference for education majors. It is the obligation of students to retain copies of the final statements of reference written by university supervisors and cooperating teachers that may be required as part of application for school positions. If the students wants to use these letters and/or have the cooperating library media specialist or university supervisor as a reference, they must complete an Authorization to Release Educational Records form under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This should be given to the LMS or supervisor who should keep a copy of the signed form. It is up to the discretion of the LMS or supervisor on whether or not to act as a reference.


People You Should Know

Practicum Coordinator

Eileen E. Schroeder
Educational Foundations 
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 
Whitewater, WI 53190


262-472-2841 (FAX)

University Supervisor

Eileen Schroeder 262-472-2837
Barbara Erdman
Office of Field Experiences
Fred Trotter, Director 262-472-1123
Jodi Roehl, Program Assistant 
Office of Field Experiences 
Winther Hall 
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 
Whitewater, WI 53190
262-472-5716 (FAX)