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SPS Digital Learning Commons: About

Mission Statement

SPS Learning Commons Mission Statement

The mission of the Scarborough Public Schools K-12 Learning Commons program promotes effective and ethical use of ideas and information, and empowers students to be innovators, critical thinkers, skilled researchers, and lifelong readers.

Curriculum & Learning Goals


Learning goals for all students are aligned with the American Association of School Libraries (AASL) Standards for Learners and the Maine Guiding Principles.


Primary (K-2)

Students are introduced to the role, uses, routines and procedures of the school library. Through weekly library classes, including read-alouds and book borrowing, students are introduced to fundamental library and information skills including, the parts of the library, the roles of an author and illustrator, the parts of a book, fiction and nonfiction, and locating books in the library for check out. Through weekly library class activities, students also develop an appreciation for literature and their individual reader’s identity, and are able to identify literary awards and books that have received those awards, identify the parts of a story, and listen and participate appropriately during read-alouds and class discussion. 

Intermediate (3-5)

All students grades three through five have dedicated class Book Business, or time for browning and checking out books, every other week all year. Third and fourth grade have library class as part of the Pathways program for one trimester of the year, typically with third grade during the second trimester fourth grade during the third semester. Fifth grade does not have a regularly scheduled library class, but rather has a flexible schedule which allows the librarian, teachers, and students to work together on specific units of inquiry across the curriculum throughout the school year. By the end of fifth grade, students will have experience practicing foundational information and research skills such as developing questions, identifying sources of information, describing reliable or trustworthy sources, collecting information using a graphic organizer, sharing their learning, and creating a list of sources.

Middle (6-8)

Sixth grade students all participate in the one semester course Digital Literacy, which is taught by the middle school librarian. Digital Literacy is designed to equip students with the ability to find, evaluate, and compose clear information through writing and other media on various digital platforms. Apart from Digital Literacy, the middle school library maintains a flexible schedule model which allows the librarian, teachers, and students to work together on specific units of inquiry across the curriculum throughout the school year. Throughout their middle school experience, students will have the opportunity to practice information and research skills including developing a research question, locating information resources, evaluating sources of information, taking notes and organizing information, sharing learning in different formats, and creating a bibliography or works cited list.

High School (9-12)

The Scarborough High School library has a completely flexible schedule model which allows the librarian, teachers, and students to work together on specific units of inquiry across the curriculum throughout the school year. The high school library program is responsive to the evolving resource needs and units of study across the curriculum and program of studies and aims to integrate cross curricular information skills across subject areas. During their high school career, students will have the opportunity to practice information skills necessary for success in higher education, work, and life. 

Library Collections

Guiding Philosophy for Library Collections

The library collections and programs of Scarborough Public Schools support the mission of the district to create a safe and inclusive learning environment where each and every ​student is empowered to be a resilient, lifelong learner. In accordance with the SPS Core Values statement, all decisions regarding library instruction, programming, and collection development are made with students’ individual needs and interests as the primary consideration. 

Roles & Responsibilities

In accordance with SPS School Board Policy IJJ Instructional and Library Materials Selection, school and classroom library collections aim to ensure that there are a broad range of materials in every library collection to suit the needs, interests and abilities of every individual student. With this in mind, library collections will include materials that may not appeal to all students. Library and classroom instruction includes skills and strategies for this self-selection. 

The final decision for an individual student's library selection choices lies with the student and their families. However, school and classroom libraries and staff do not assume the role of managing selection based on individual family values or preferences in reading choices. 

Learning & Instruction

Library collections and programs are committed to creating a supportive learning environment where students can develop self-awareness, self-management, and responsible decision-making skills. In order to achieve this mission, SPS school and classroom libraries, will:

  • Engage students in developing skills to manage self-selection.
  • Honor students’ individual needs and interests as the primary consideration in developing library collections and programming.
  • Offer a wide and deep collection of resources in multiple formats.
  • Ensure that all students have easy access to print and digital library resources.
  • Create a learning environment that supports choice, exploration, and inquiry.
  • Select materials for purchase in accordance with district policies.


School and classroom libraries both support student learning and the development of reading skills (reading to learn and learning to read). Although school and classroom libraries serve similar and overlapping purposes, each has a distinct role in the school community.

  • School Library: “A library in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves the information needs of its students and the curriculum needs of its teachers and staff, usually managed by a school librarian or media specialist. A school library collection usually contains books, periodicals, and educational media suitable for the grade levels served.” (ODLIS)
  • Classroom Library: “A small collection of library materials located permanently in a school classroom for the use of instructors and students in support of the general curriculum. Such a collection may include reference materials such as a dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, general encyclopedia, etc.” (ODLIS)