The Washington Post, April 7, 1999, p. M09

In a push to fill vacant positions in its schools’ library media centers, Howard County, Md., public schools started a program that will pay for 10 teachers to become certified to head media centers by attending a master’s degree program in library sciences at the University of Maryland.

The county had to develop the program in response to a vacancy crisis spawned by retiring staff, the growing technical demands a media center requires, and low salaries.

The role of the media specialist has also been changing, and requires a hybrid individual. The media specialist position—part librarian, part teacher, part technology guru—requires a lot of flexibility from people who had always planned either to be teachers or to be librarians. This has added to the difficulty in filling the positions.