Are you interested in pursuing a career as a school media librarian? Or maybe you’re a teacher looking for a change of pace? It’s a good time to consider becoming a School Media specialist.

The iSchool is lucky to be a part of a thriving library community. We are consistently sent job openings from school media specialists, school administrators, and BOCES districts from around the state of New York. From January to September of this year, the iSchool’s LIS School Media program received almost 70 job postings for library media specialists in New York state alone. 

We decided to explore the nature of this demand in order to find patterns and help others find job opportunities.

What we wanted to learn about School Media jobs

We were curious:

  • Where are the school media specialist jobs opening in the state?
  • How are they distributed between BOCES districts and New York State Teacher Centers?

The questions we posed are important for multiple reasons:

  • Help us track industry trends and patterns.
  • Provide crucial information for recent alums and current students in the middle of the job search process.
  • Provide an impetus for those potentially interested in obtaining their MSLIS in School Media to get the ball rolling toward their degree.

Mapping School Media jobs with ArcGIS

To answer our questions, I created a map and a corresponding index of the 67 job postings we received. This map traces where job availability has grown in New York state this past year.

Maps allow us to visualize and highlight geographic relationships. In order to create a map that expressed these relationships, I utilized the services of ArcGIS, a geographic information system. ArcGIS has the capability to illustrate multiple layers of complex geographic data. But the software is notoriously tricky to use. You can’t type in a command and ask the program to place a dot on Fabius-Pompey Middle School in Pompey, New York. The system will not respond accordingly.

Instead, I needed to import data from external sources, like the New York State’s GIS Clearinghouse. The GIS Clearinghouse has a composite list of geographic datasets created by various state and local agencies. I found datasets containing the information and location of New York State schools, school districts, and state lines, and then imported them onto a base map on ArcGIS.

However, there were no datasets available for BOCES districts and New York Teacher Centers. So I had to create them myself. To do this, I gathered data from a variety of sources, such as the New York State Education Department, to find out which school districts fit in each category. Then, I edited and consolidated the NYS school district dataset (from the NYS GIS Clearinghouse) to represent my findings and create new geographic layers. It was a time consuming project, but well worth it.

After I compiled my data, I imported it into ArcGIS and edited the composition and design of the map. Please see the link below for a pdf copy of the map.

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The Results

Where are the school media specialist jobs opening in the state?

As you can see on the map and the corresponding table, many of the job openings were concentrated in the greater New York City area. There were a significant number of job openings in rural areas of Eastern Upstate.

How are they distributed?

Using the map, we can see the distribution of jobs between BOCES regions and New York State Teacher centers. Both BOCES and NYS Teacher Centers are key contacts for school librarian job opportunities.

BOCES regions were created by the New York State Legislature in 1948, and established shared educational programs and services to school districts. BOCES also supplies school media specialists with professional development, print and digital resources, among other services.

The BOCES regions with the highest number of job openings were:

  1. New York City:  24 openings
  2. Monroe 2:  5 openings
  3. Onondaga-Cortland-Madison:  5 openings (tie)
  4. Westchester:  5 openings (tie)
  5. Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida:  4 openings
  6. Monroe 1:  4 openings (tie)

New York State Teacher Centers provide a similar service to BOCES regions, but over a greater geographical region.

Here is the distribution of job openings throughout NYS Teacher Centers:

  1. New York City:  24 openings
  2. Eastern Upstate:  18 openings
  3. Lower Hudson:  12 openings
  4. Greater Rochester:  11 openings
  5. Southern Tier:  3 openings
  6. Long Island:  0 openings
  7. Far West:  0 openings

As you can see, the job postings we received were not evenly distributed around the state. There were no openings on Long Island and no openings in the Far West, which includes the city of Buffalo. There were also very small number of openings in the Southern Tier. The majority of job openings were concentrated in the areas surrounding New York City, Syracuse, Rochester, and the North Country.

See an opportunity for you?

If you are looking for a job as a school media specialist: You are welcome to use the map and corresponding index as a resource in your job search. Also, we recommend checking out our listserv and the following websites for job opportunities:

For library-related job openings in NYS:

For NYC public schools:

If you are a prospective student interested in an MSLIS with School Media specialization: You may already live in one of the high-opportunity areas shown on the map. If you don’t live in one of the clusters, would you adventure to the outdoors of the North Country? Or city-living in New York?

You’re in luck: the iSchool’s degree program is offered both on-campus and online. With the iSchool, you can work toward your LIS: School Media degree no matter where you’re located statewide or nationwide!