School Library Research


School Library Research (ISSN: 2165-1019) is the scholarly refereed research journal of the American Association of School Librarians. It is the successor to School Library Media Research (ISSN: 1523-4320) and School Library Media Quarterly Online.

The purpose of School Library Research is to promote and publish high quality original research concerning the management, implementation, and evaluation of school library programs. The journal will also emphasize research on instructional theory, teaching methods, and critical issues relevant to school libraries and school librarians.

SLR seeks to distribute major research findings worldwide through both electronic publication and linkages to substantive documents on the Internet. The primary audience for SLR includes academic scholars, school librarians, instructional specialists and other educators who strive to provide a constructive learning environment for all students and teachers.

SLR is indexed by The Education Full Text Database by EBSCO/Wilson and by the The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC).

All material in SLR is subject to copyright by ALA and may be reproduced only for the noncommercial purpose of educational or scientific advancement.


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Factors Affecting Students’ Information Literacy as They Transition from High School to College


Despite the considerable attention paid to the need to increase the information literacy of high school students in preparation for the transition to college, poor research skills still seem to be the norm. To gain insight into the problem, library instruction environments of nineteen high schools were explored. The schools were selected based on whether their graduates did well or poorly on information-skills assignments integrated in a required first-year college course. The librarians in the nineteen schools were asked to characterize their working relationships with teachers, estimate their students’ information-literacy achievement, and provide data on their staffing and budgets. Findings suggest that school librarians are seldom in a position to adequately collaborate with teachers and that their opportunities to help students achieve information literacy are limited.

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College Ready—What Can We Learn from First-Year College Assignments? An Examination of Assignments in Iowa Colleges and Universities


College readiness has several dimensions, but of particular import is readiness to produce scholarly work that meets the expectations of college instructors. Differences from high school and college are well documented in the literature, and this study adds to that body of work by delineating the characteristics of first-year college assignments through a qualitative analysis of college faculty assignment instructions. Three themes emerge from the analysis: information literacy, especially initiating inquiry; academic writing, especially citing evidence in support of a thesis; learner dispositions, especially curiosity, open-mindedness, self-reliance, and perseverance. Findings have implications for high school library programs and high school teachers as well as librarians working with first-year college students.

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School Librarians’ Experiences with Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice


Evidence-based library and information practice (EBLIP) provides school librarians a systematic means of building, assessing, and revising a library program, thus demonstrating a school library program’s worth to the larger school community. Through survey research collecting both qualitative and quantitative data, 111 public school librarians in Texas shared the extent to which they applied components of EBLIP to practice, the extent to which they shared EBLIP data and with whom, and the extent to which formal LIS education has supported their applications of EBLIP.  


Findings indicate the large majority of respondents engaged in some form of EBLIP, typically referencing professional journals, standards, and guidelines; informally collecting evidence from stakeholders; and writing mission statements. Few respondents, however, engaged in the complete process. With the intent of gaining, increasing, or securing something, respondents were most likely to share goals and data with administrators and teachers than with other stakeholders. Despite so few respondents’ engaging in the complete process, approximately half expressed the belief that their LIS programs contributed to their understanding of EBLIP.

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The Motivational and Information Needs of Young Innovators: Stimulating Student Creativity and Inventive Thinking


Innovation is the essence of the American spirit. In the twenty-first century, it will be the innovative thinkers who will make the greatest contributions to our society, find cures for diseases, create technologies that enrich our lives, and find innovative solutions to the world’s problems. Schools must provide more opportunities for students to create, innovate, and explore their ideas; the school library is the one place in the school in which all children can think outside the box, seeking solutions to real-world problems that interest and challenge them. This article describes a study conducted by a research team at Syracuse University’s Center for Digital Literacy, in collaboration with the Connecticut Invention Convention, investigating the attitudes toward innovation activities, motivational supports, and information needs of young innovators in grade 4–8 as they progressed through the innovation process. Implications of this initial research are that school librarians have an opportunity to (1) provide “innovation spaces” that foster curiosity and exploration within their libraries and (2) become role models or “innovation mentors” to all students, supporting their motivational and information needs throughout the innovation process.

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What Do Stakeholders Know about School Library Programs? Results of a Focus Group Evaluation


Supporting the Infrastructure Needs of 21st Century School Library Programs, also known as the Pennsylvania School Library Project, was a one-year project conducted in Pennsylvania to better identify and understand what stakeholders—teachers, administrators, parents, school and community leaders, and education associations—expect from school library programs to educate tomorrow’s citizens. The project team gave presentations to four focus groups throughout the Commonwealth; during the focus group sessions stakeholders engaged with research and data about the impact of school library programs in Pennsylvania. The focus group members’ feedback was sought to build awareness and support, and, through consensus-building activities, clarify which components of the school library program infrastructure they valued most. A formal external evaluation of the focus groups found that reaching out to stakeholders in an organized, purposeful way, and not in a crisis mode, garnered substantial support for school  libraries and school librarians. Inviting stakeholders to learn about the research of the profession in a professional and inclusive environment allowed them to thoughtfully reflect on school libraries’ value and become school library champions.

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Educating Pre-Service School Librarians for the Instructional Partner Role: An Exploration into University Curricula


In Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs (2009), the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) identified the instructional partner role of school librarians as the most critical role for the future of the profession. To determine the extent to which school librarian preparation programs prepare pre-service school librarians for this role, this mixed-methods case study examined program ranking responses and questionnaires from nine universities and colleges that prepare these candidates for practice. Instructors who teach courses in school librarianship submitted a program of study document on which they rated the percentage of readings/viewings and assignments that focus on the instructional partner role in

courses offered exclusively for pre-service school librarian candidates. Participants were invited to complete follow-up questionnaires that asked for details regarding readings, textbooks, and assignments. The findings of this case study demonstrate a tendency for school librarian preparation programs to assign different priorities to the five roles identified by AASL; developing the instructional partner role was not ranked first for most of the programs under study. These programs also integrate into their courses various textbooks, book chapters, articles, and other resources focused on instructional partnerships. The results of this case study suggest that the academy does not teach with a unified voice when it comes to helping preservice school librarians prepare to practice the instructional partner role.

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U.S. Students, Poverty, and School Libraries: What Results of the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment Tell Us


This paper looks at results from the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment to examine the effects of school libraries on students’ test performance, with specific focus on the average of students’ family wealth in a school. The paper documents students’ school library use and students’ home possessions to indicate how school libraries support students and which students need that support the most. ANOVA results indicate that poor students (those whose family wealth was in the lowest third) make more use of the school library than their wealthier peers and that poor students’ families are less likely to have information and cultural resources than wealthier students’ families. Hierarchical regression indicates that school libraries and, more specifically, school library adequacy, as defined by the principal’s perception of adequate staffing and materials, account for a small but significant portion of students’ test performance variance. Finally, quantile regression indicates that the benefit of school libraries is not spread evenly, and some students gain more benefit than others. A direct implication of this research is that school libraries have the capacity to better serve poor students but will need the support of policy- and decision-makers before such a change happens.

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Union-Active School Librarians and School Library Advocacy: A Modified Case Study of the British Columbia Teacher-Librarians’ Association and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation


This modified case study examines how the members of the British Columbia Teacher Librarians’ Association (BCTLA), a Provincial Specialist Association (PSA) of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), work together to advocate for strong school library programs headed by a credentialed school librarian. Since 2002, despite nullification of a collective bargaining agreement that mandated a ratio of school librarians to students, the province has maintained 70 percent of its school librarian positions. The researcher found that

the BCTF provides the structure and megaphone for advocacy, while the members of BCTLA are responsible for the “boots on the ground” advocacy. Members of BCTLA are passionate about the role of school librarians despite significant challenges. Two-way communication between BCTF and BCTLA is vital. Additionally, a strong personal connection exists among BCTLA members. However, despite consistent advocacy efforts made by BCTLA and BCTF, the organizations face an uphill battle in terms of having their efforts impact policy. Librarian interest groups can use the structure of the union to promote school library issues. If a union is not available, school librarians can use influence-building techniques and professional associations to effectively advocate for strong school libraries. Union activity in support of school libraries offers a promising opportunity for library advocates.

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The Information-Seeking Behavior of Intrinsically Motivated Elementary School Children of a Collectivist Culture


This study, conducted in June 2014 in Kampala, Uganda, is a follow-up to a similar study conducted in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2008. The basic research question addressed is: “What are the experiences in the lives of upper elementary-aged Ugandan children that foster an intrinsic motivation to seek information?” A secondary question is also addressed: “How do the experiences of students from a collectivist culture (Kampala, Uganda) who are intrinsically motivated to seek information compare and contrast with the experiences of similarly aged students from an individualistic culture (Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.)?” The findings indicate that the dominant motivation pattern of the Ugandan students was the same as that of

the students in the Colorado Springs study (high to low: Identified [caused when one attaches personal importance to the behavior], Intrinsic [stems from the self and is stimulated by interest, enjoyment, curiosity, or pleasure], Introjected [action to avoid guilt or anxiety, or to enhance ego, pride, or self-worth], and Extrinsic [behaviors caused by an external demand or reward]). Ugandan students were more apt to ask other people in their information-seeking quests, but showed the same preference as Colorado Springs informants for non-assigned information seeking experiences.

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Preparing Pre-Service School Librarians for Science-Focused Collaboration with Pre-Service Elementary Teachers: The Design and Impact of a Cross-Class Assignment


Numerous authors in the library and information science (LIS) field have called for more authentic collaborative experiences for students in school librarian education programs, particularly experiences that partner school library students with pre-service teachers to collaboratively design instruction. The first-iteration, design-based study described below examines the impact of such a project, a collaborative science-focused lesson plan assignment given to pre-service elementary school teachers (PSTs) and pre-service school librarians (PSLs) at a public university in the southeastern United States. Specifically, this paper explores the impact of the project on school library students’ understanding of collaboration between

teachers and school librarians, particularly science-focused collaboration, and examines the features of the assignment that either facilitated or hindered their progress toward improved understanding. Based on the results of this project, we provide recommendations for school librarian educators interested in designing and implementing similar projects

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