This is what I believe. And my research (and the research of many others!) supports this belief.
I use this blog to share new research and literature highlighting the many ways school libraries support teaching and learning in schools. It has provided a (somewhat brief) commentary on new resources and ideas, emerging theories and technologies, and best practice in teacher librarianship since its inception.
From 2011 I broadened the content of this blog to include musings on my learning and teaching experiences as a distance educator in the higher education sector, as one who thrives on testing and trialling new technologies to support her students’ learning.
School librarians must be assertive leaders and technology experts, Joel Castro, associate superintendent for the Lubbock, Texas, School District, told attendees at SLJ's annual Leadership Summit in Austin in September.
Great quote from this superindendent: "It is critical that the school administrator is completely involved in the role of the school librarian, and that the librarian find ways to become completely involved in the role of the administrator." Castro provides a list of ways that a teacher librarian can make the school library program more visible to administrators.
Today, Teacher Librarian magazine published an article by Deb Kachel and me. The article presents the find
The latest research project conducted by Keith Curry Lance and associates in Pennsylvania which examines school administrators' perceptions of school libraries and student test scores. One of the reports recommendations highlights the need for more TL practitioners to work at building local evidence to strengthen the research base, as the authors conclude: "We also need more local action research studies—otherwise known as self-assessments—by school librarians themselves. Many school librarians do not feel they have time to conduct self-assessments in the form of local, evidence-based studies of their practice. Yet this needs to be an integral part of the research. If we wish to see the kind of change in the public education policy that will establish firmly the future of school libraries and librarians, local decision-makers—administrators, school board members, and even parents—must be made aware not only of what we know from large-scale studies but also of evidence of ways in which their own experience of school libraries and librarians matters. Only then will they internalize a deep understanding of the contributions that school library programs make and begin to make decisions consistent with a
personal commitment to them." I could not agree more with this recommendation. Since 2010, Dr Ross Todd and I have been working together to help build the capacity of Australia's TL profession as evidence-based practitioners. This is a slow movement, but we are starting to see some excellent practice-based research being published in journals such as Scan and Access, and being presented at conferences. We are slowly building this evidence, but we need this movement to extend beyond those leading lights in the profession. Only then will we be in a position to demonstrate to education systems, governments and the wider community of school libraries impact on student achievement. Please join our EBP Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/EBPforSL/ for more information.
As more of her students use ebooks and iPads to read, principal Tricia Kelleher reflects on the role of her school's library
Excellent article featuring the thoughts of a school principal as she works with her school community to build new libraries in the junior and senior schools. I love her vision, "We felt very strongly that the library is more than a facilitating process – it has cultural significance which matters. The library can inspire" and "Our approach is unashamedly about inspiring a love of learning". I think the Cabinet of Curiosities concept is a brilliant program in stimulating students' interest and encouraging inquiry.
Great interview on 'What role does a good school library play in educating New Jersey students?' SLJ's Karyn Peterson interviews Drs Ross Todd and Carol Gordon, co-directors of the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) on the findings of their recent two-phase study of New Jersey school libraries in public elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the state.
The AASL School Libraries Count! 2012 survey results show Internet filtering continues to be an important issue for most schools in the US. I believe the breakdown of these results highlight similar access issues experienced by school libraries and school students across Australia. School libraries can help alleviate some of the frustrations faced by student as independent searchers of the web, by providing customised curated collections of digital resources using tools such as ScoopIt!, Pinterest and LibGuides, greater access to information via ebook and fulltext journal, and providing direct instruction on successful searching using a range of specialised search engines.
In addition, research shows that web proxies are a 'censored' student's friend when trying to access information on the web via a school network. In my opinion, the most fortunate students are those who attend a BYOD school with their own personal 3G or 4G access. It's a shame, however, that the majority of students do not have the luxury of such seamless access. Gone are the days when schooling was seen as the answer to providing equitable access to all.
This School Librarian Evaluation Rubric by the New York State Department of Education (SED) through submissions from Section of School Librarians (SSL) of NYLA and the NYS School Library Systems Association (SLSA) is an excellent tool for TLs to evaluate their school library programs and their professional practice.
LRS Fast facts Newsletter, ED3/110.10/No.314, December 4, 2012
Overall, according to these survey results, endorsed school librarians in Colorado are engaging in a variety of teaching activities that help students to acquire 21st-century skills. They are most frequently engaging in activities such as teaching students about using digital resources and critical thinking, but are collaborating with teachers less often. Students in large schools and at the secondary level have the greatest advantages in library instruction. In contrast, elementary school students and students in combined and/or small schools are less likely to encounter 21st-century instruction strategies in their school libraries.
A survey of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers finds that teens’ research habits are changing in the digital age...
Presents results of a recent Pew Internet study that surveyed school teachers about students’ research habits and the impact of technology on their studies.
"Some 77% of advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers surveyed say that the internet and digital search tools have had a “mostly positive” impact on their students’ research work. But 87% say these technologies are creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans” and 64% say today’s digital technologies “do more to distract students than to help them academically.”
The study concludes: "the internet has opened up a vast world of information for today’s students, yet students’ digital literacy skills have yet to catch up".
I think teacher librarians could leverage the results of this study to argue the important contribution the school library program and TL can make to a whole school digital literacy initiative.
This booklet is one of a series presenting research findings from the revcent Pennsylvania study on the imapct of school libraries on student learning.
Using data collected in the Spring of 2011 for the Pennsylvania State Board of Education Study of the state’s public school libraries and examining standardized Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) Reading and Writing test scores for the same year, a team of researchers studied five components of school library infrastructure: Staffing, Collections, Digital Resources and Technology Infrastructure, Library Access, and Funding.
According to the research findings, students who have access to a quality school library program developed with these building blocks have an academic advantage over students who did not have such access. These differences are not explained away by the socio-economic, racial/ethnic, or disability status of the students. Here are a few highlights:
* Investments in library staff benefit all students. Full-time, certified librarians are associated with better PSSA Reading and Writing scores. * For several student groups that tend to experience achievement gaps—economically disadvantaged, Hispanic, Black, and those with IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) —Reading and Writing results are markedly better when those students attend a school with a librarian with library support staff. In fact, they benefit more proportionally than the general school population. * The impact of quality school library programs with these components is even stronger on Writing scores than Reading scores. * All students—both high-achievers and low-achievers—benefit and schools that leverage school library programs can narrow achievement gaps among their students. * Generally, the combined impact of these components—staffing, resources, technology, access to the library, and funding—has a steady and consistent effect on student learning and achievement regardless of demographic and economic differences among students.
This booklet is one of a series of publications presenting results from the recent Pennsylvania study on school library impact.
Written by Mary Biagini, it: * Explains why school library programs are essential to student
* Presents an overview of recent research that demonstrates how students and teachers benefit from school libraries * Outlines the state of public school libraries in Pennsylvania based on a 2011 study conducted by the State Board of Education, and * Recommends steps school library advocates can take to assure that all elementary and secondary students in Pennsylvania have access to a library in their schools.
This is Softlink's fourth annual Australian School Library Survey. I am so pleased to see that Softlink continue to conduct these surveys and publish these reports - the Australian teacher librarian profession needs this kind of local evidence to demonstrate the integral role of school libraries in supporting student learning.
Over 800 school libraries are represented in the 2013 survey, which is great. BUT, given that Softlink claims that over 50% of Australian school libraries use their products and services and Australia has more than 10,000 schools, why wouldn't more teacher librarians be willing to take the time to complete this annual survey. When is the culture of our profession going to change. Hello!!! we need your school library data to help build a more accurate picture of the status of school libraries and the TL profession.
So now I've got that off my chest...
Principal findings from the 2013 Softlink Australian School Library Survey include:
* There was a significant positive correlation between the annual school library budgets and NAPLAN Reading Literacy results * There was a significant positive correlation between the number of sshool librarians employed in school librar ies and NAPLAN Reading Literacy results * 81% of all school library budgets either remained unchanged or declined in 2013 * A higher percentage of Government school libraries experienced budget decreases than Catholic or Independent school libraries * 28% of schools reported a decrease in library staffing in 2013 with 63% of all schools surveyed stating that there had been no change * More than a quarter of respondent schools have purchased eBooks in the past year (28%) and 55% of respondents indicated they will “definitely” or “most probably” purchase eBooks within the next 12 months * 44% of teacher librarians said half or more of their student population owned a personal mobile device (iPod, iPad, smart phone or other tablet) a growth of 7% from 2012 (37%) * 14% of schools surveyed allowed student access to social media inside and outside the classroom
I was also interested in the summary on page 26 of User Driven Technology Trends Impacting School Libraries during 2013/2014. Survey participants were asked to provide the main technology trends that impact their school library. The most common impacts were reported as:
* BYOD/BYOT * eBooks and eReaders * Tablets, iPads and Smartphones * Apps and App management * Digital devices loaned through library * Student WiFi access * Social media access and management * Cloud computing
These findings clearly show that school libraries are embracing the digital!!
This report is a must read for all Australian teacher librarians. And please, when the call comes out for TLs to complete the 2014 Softlink survey, invest the time to add your school library data to Softlink's data pool.
Highly recommended reading for all teacher librarians and principals. Thanks to Hilary Hughes at QUT and SLAQ for collaborating on this research project that provides solid local (Gold Coast) evidence of school library impact.
Findings in this Pew report “Younger Americans’ Library Habits and Expectations” provide teacher librarians with evidence of student preferences and habits in information and technology use that can be used in one's argument to retain certain information services as well as introduce new services or programs, or help shape the vision for the design of your new school library, or refurbishment of an existing school library facility.
While the results of SLJ's job satisfaction survey of school and public librarians does highlight the majority of these information professionals finding satisfaction in their work in supporting the information, technology and learning needs of young people, the overall trend of satisfaction levels decreasing since 2007 is a worry. That said, there are great examples of passionate, dynamic, dedicated teacher librarians doing great stuff in their schools and communities. Lots of takeaways for those teachers considering a career change to become a TL.
School library and information technology programs are a vital resource for student learning. This video to highlight the essential role teacher librarians play in information and technology literacy instruction, reading advocacy, and information management. More information available at http://WLMA.org
Meet the latest tech superheroes: school librarians. According to School Library Journal’s 2012 School Technology Survey, media specialists are leading the charge to bring new media, mobile devices, social apps, and web-based technologies into our nation’s classrooms.
So far, the results have been pretty impressive: 87 percent of school librarians report that they’re in charge of their library’s technology, with 60 percent adding that they’ve also introduced it into the classroom. Furthermore, 44 percent now serve on their school’s tech team, and in these budget-troubled times, when many library positions are on the line, that role may mean increased job security. In fact, 55 percent of the elementary, middle, and high school librarians that responded to our survey say that their tech skills have increased their value in administrators’ eyes.
The results of this Pew Internet study clearly show the need for digital citizenship programs to be conducted in schools.
The report states: "Search engines remain popular—and users are more satisfied than ever with the quality of search results—but many are anxious about the collection of personal information by search engines and other websites...
Most internet users say they do not know how to limit the information that is collected about them by a website...
These findings can be used by teacher librarians to raise their school community's awareness of the importance of explicit instruction in the use of online databases, search engines, and websites and social media sites that require users to create an account.
An article by Debra E. Kachel which summarises some findings from the recent Pennsylvania study on school library impact, including responses to an online survey of almost 300 Pennsylvania public school administrators.
In April 2012, Softlink conducted the third annual Australian School Library Survey. The 2012 Softlink School Library Survey reports key findings into Australian school library budgets, staffing and literacy levels. Softlink has conducted the annual survey since 2010. Findings from these reports have been recognised and used by the Australian Government, the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA).
Principal findings from the 2012 Softlink Australian School Library Survey include:
* There is a positive relationship between well-resourced libraries and higher student literacy outcomes
* School library resourcing is inconsistent across school type (primary, secondary, P-12) and education provider (Government, Catholic, Independent)
* The majority of school libraries had no change in budgets in the past 12 monthsVery few school libraries received additional resources for implementing the National Curriculum
* Staffing levels remained unchanged for the majority of school libraries during the past 12 months
* There is a strong intention to purchase eBooks in the coming year
* Mobile technology (iPod, iPad, smart phone and tablet) use by students is widespread across all school types and education providers and is having a greater impact on the role of the school library.
Challenges continue to be: gaining funding, finding a balance between the physical and digital collection, collaboration with teaching staff and the recognition of Teacher Librarian’s skills and their evolving role.
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, OISE, is an international leader in teacher education, education research and graduate studies in education.
This press release of results of recent research conducted in public libraries' impact on literacy development of preschoolers highlights:
* Participating children demonstrated many early literacy behaviours and understandings considered by leading early researchers and experts to be foundational to later literacy success.
* Early literacy library programs were particularly strong in meeting parents’/caregivers’ goals of fostering children’s school readiness and their motivation to read.
* Library staff served as excellent literacy models for parents/caregivers, enabling them to make reading with their children more engaging and more productive.
While this is research related to early childhood and public libraries it is (a) encouraging to see such positive impacts as a result of public library programs, and (b) important for primary school teacher librarians to be aware of the types of literacy instruction programs that Kindergarten/Prep students may have been exposed to before entering compulsory schooling.
My question to our profession is: How do primary school library programs acknowledge, accommodate and build on the literacy programs of public libraries within their local community?