This week in Computer Applications we took another look at the issue of copyright in schools, the laws, regulations, and consequences of infringement. As an information specialist, the school library media specialist is in a unique position in the school which allows him/her to monitor a great deal of these issues on a daily basis. Much of the equipment that generates copied material (copiers, printers, computers etc.) are housed in the library, giving the SLMS a good opportunity to monitor, as well as giving the SLMS a great responsibility due to the possible legal ramifications of infringement (to the SLMS personally even). However, much has been said about the school librarian being viewed as a "copyright police," ready to jump all over faculty and students for any slight infraction. This does not generate good working relationships, which is absolultely vital for a collaborative, collegial working environment (which has been shown to increase student learning).
A key in this whole issue is administrative policy and support. If the SLMS is supported by school policy and the administration, copyright problems will become more of an administrative issue, instead of a personal, "look what he is doing" attack by the SLMS. Posting flyers, sending out emails etc. notifying faculty of the school policy is a good start to spread awareness about this important issue without alienating people in the process.